The Schapendoes is also called the Dutch Shepherd Dog.
Looking a little bit like a cross between the Old English Sheepdog and the Bearded Collie, this breed from the Netherlands (Holland), and has been around since late 1800’s, when they were quite common in that country. It is a medium-sized dog with a long, shaggy coat, amiable and good-natured.
Schapendoes – Temperament
This breed is friendly and active, and affectionate with their family. They make good family pets if they are properly socialized as puppies. This means exposing the young dog to new sights, sounds, experiences, and strange people and animals.
As working dogs, they used to herd by nudging and pushing the sheep, and they may try to do the same thing with children – rounding them up by pushing them. This should be discouraged as soon as you see it, otherwise the behavior will persist as they get older – and bigger.
They do well with older children who can throw a ball and teach the dog new tricks. This breed is smart, and will learn quickly, but they tend to work with their owner rather than obey their owner. They are generally quiet dogs, and rarely bark unless excited or alerting you to a situation.
The Schapendoes also gets on well with other dogs in the family, and is tolerant of other pets.
With a Sheepdog heritage, the Schapendoes has plenty of energy and enjoys a good run. If you live in a rural location with a few goats or sheep, this dog will be in Seventh Heaven! But as long as they get a decent amount of exercise each day they are also content in an urban setting or even an apartment.
Schapendoes – Breed History
The breed started out as a general farm dog and herding dog, without any particular name. They were prominent in the Veluwe region of Holland, an area of forest and swampland, where they were used for herding sheep. They were shown at dog shows in the Netherlands from the 1870s under the name “Domestic Herding Dog”.
Like many breeds, they almost died out during World War 2, and only a few dogs survived to re-start the new generation. The Dutch National Kennel Club first recognized the breed under the name ‘Schapendoes’ in 1952, and the first breed standard was drawn up in 1954.
This was a difficult time for the breed after the War, as working sheep farms preferred the imported Border Collie. The Border Collie had been imported for sheep herding because the numbers of Schapendoes dogs was so low. The Border Collie turned out to be a better sheep dog, and gradually the Schapendoes became more of a family dog and a show dog.
The Schapendoes is related to the Bearded Collie, the Puli, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, and the Old English Sheepdog. The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1971. The AKC has recognized the Shapendoes as a Foundation Stock Breed, the first step towards full recognition.
Height; 16 inches to 20 inches at the withers
Weight; 26lbs to 55lbs
Life Span; 12 to 15 years
Beige, Black, Black and White, Brown, Chocolate, Gray, Gray and White, Tri-color, White.
Ease of Training
You should start to train your Schapendoes the day it comes home. They are not resistant to training, but need early socialization and an introduction to the idea of training. The sooner the better!
This breed is intelligent and smart, and will learn quickly if you take the right approach. Formal puppy training classes are a good idea, and also teach the dog (and you) how to learn.
I recommend keeping training sessions short, about 5 minutes at first, and repeated 3 times a day. Make sure that the training is fun, and reward your dog for correct responses with lavish praise and treats. It is very important to be consistent with your commands and consistent with your rewards, otherwise the dog will become confused.
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The Schapendoes has a double coat that is dense, thick and slightly wavy. He has a mustache and a beard. The top coat is quite long, but does not usually need trimming. However some owners WILL trim the coat to reduce matting and dirt collection. It’s a personal choice!
They should be brushed several times a week with a soft slicker brush, to remove any loose hairs, but otherwise are not difficult to groom. They have a naturally ‘rough’ look, like an Irish Wolfhound or Belgian Laekenois. Maybe surprisingly, they do not shed much, and you won’t find many stray hairs around your home if you brush regularly.
The long hair around the face may trap dust and dirt, irritating the eyes, so it’s important to clean gently around the eyes and ears to prevent infection. Trimming the long hairs around the eyes and mouth will let the dog see better, and reduce the build-up of dirt and food in the ‘beard’ and ‘mustache’.
Their claws should be trimmed every month or two if needed, to prevent splitting and cracking. Ears should be checked every week for signs of redness, swelling or infection.
Teeth should be brushed every day with a small, soft toothbrush, using a dog-specific toothpaste. Do not use human toothpastes, as they contain Xylitol.
The Schapendoes is usually alert and watchful, and they make good watchdogs. They will alert you to anything unusual by barking, although they are generally a quiet breed.
As a guard dog they are not so good. They may continue barking if an intruder is trying to gain entry, but they are unlikely to take any action. If you are looking for extra protection from a dog, I recommend looking for a bigger breed.
This is a very healthy breed, and there are no reports of genetic problems to watch for. This has been attributed to the lack of ‘overbreeding’, as the dog never became popular with any royals, and so there was no pressure to produce lots of puppies for the general public.
Like all dogs, however, they should be checked by a vet for hip dysplasia and eye problems.
This breed needs a fair amount of exercise, and you can monitor how much time your dog is moving, and how much time lying around, with a FitBark device.
Famous Schapendoes Dogs
I couldn’t find any examples of famous Schapendoes – If you know of one please let me know, by using the Contact Me link. Thank you!