History & Fun Facts
Origins of the Dutch Shepherd
Much like other shepherds, the Dutch Shepherd was created to work. This breed originated in the 18th century in rural Dutch areas, now known as the Netherlands, to help shepherds and farmers with multiple jobs. Their primary job on the farm was to independently herd the livestock for the farmers.
To no surprise, the versatility of the Dutch Shepherd attracted the attention of dog fanciers and even militaries. The Dutch Shepherd being a jack-of-all-trades dog easily adapted to these new environments and conditions. Dutch Shepherds were able to be shown at dog shows in the late 1800s and consequently led up to the first breed standard being developed in June 12, 1898. Prior to WWII, the Dutch Shepherd was also welcomed and used as dogs in service for the Dutch Army.
Despite the increase in popularity in both late 1800s and early 1900s, the Dutch Shepherd is still considered a rare breed today because of near extinction caused by World War II. Many Dutch Shepherds either died of starvation, died in combat, and some bloodlines came to a halt because of lack of breeding. Thankfully, the Dutch Shepherd breed club in the Netherlands actively worked hard to bring the bring back to life. In 2012, the American Kennel Club allowed the Dutch Shepherd to begin being recorded in its Foundation Stock Service. The Dutch Shepherd has been approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class since January 1, 2017. Despite all of the hardship, the Dutch Shepherd was able to retain its versatility and natural herding abilities. Although many do not recognize the breed as easily like other breeds, Dutch Shepherds can be seen today filling many billets to include: obedience, dog sports, herding, tracking, search and rescue, police dog, and on rare occasions service work.