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The Dutch Shepherd, originally used by shepherds in the Netherlands for agricultural work, is an intelligent dog and very easy to train. Today, it is used as a police dog, service animal and family companion. This is because these cousin breeds share a close ancestry and only diverged just over a hundred years ago. Although Dutch Shepherds are rarer than many other shepherd breeds, they are known to be some of the healthiest and easiest to train. If you want a dog that will perform well in competition, act as a watchdog, keep you active, love your family and provide loyal, loving and obedient companionship, you will get all of the above and more in a Dutch Shepherd.
The Dutch Shepherd comes in three coats: short-haired, long-haired and wire-haired. Short-haired Dutch Shepherds are most commonly used for police work, and wire-haired Dutch Shepherds are quite rare in general.Originally, the main thing that separated Dutch Shepherds from German Shepherds or Belgian Shepherds was the colour of the coat. Since then, all three breeds have acquired more distinctive features and breed standards.Dutch Shepherds were almost pushed to the brink of extinction after World War II when breeding in the Netherlands was stopped and many dogs were taken for service in the German army.Unlike other sheepdogs, Dutch Shepherds have relatively few health problems.The Dutch Shepherd is an excellent watchdog and very loyal to their families. They are not known to be excessively noisy, but will bark if a stranger enters their territory.The coat of the Dutch Shepherd is brindle with colours ranging from sandy gold to reddish brown. Too much black or white in the coat is considered a fault.
The Dutch Shepherd, as you can imagine, started out as a working dog of shepherds. Dutch shepherds were used for all kinds of tasks on farms in the Dutch countryside. Not only were they able to herd sheep and other livestock, but they also kept chickens out of gardens, pulled carts and acted as guard dogs. Originally, there was little to distinguish Dutch Shepherds from German Shepherds or Belgian Shepherds, apart from coat colour, although the breeds have diverged a little more in the last 100 years and have their own breed standards. The Dutch Shepherd has become rarer in modern times. The development of modern farming techniques made these dogs unnecessary for herding and other agricultural work, and during the Second World War breeding ceased in the Netherlands. Many dogs died of starvation and some were collected by the German army because they were very suitable for work in the armed forces. After the war, breeders continued the effort to breed Dutch Shepherds and mixed dogs of unknown origin. Although the breed is still rare today, Dutch Shepherds are used for police work, search and rescue, and as guide dogs because of their great trainability. They also compete in dog sports and have retained their herding skills from their days on the farms.
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