Dutch Dog Breeds

Welcome to the World of Dutch Dog Breeds

Netherlands, the land of tulips, windmills, and… dogs? Yes, you heard it right! Dutch dog breeds are a fascinating topic for dog enthusiasts worldwide. This article delves into everything you need to know about Dutch dog breeds, from their origins and characteristics to popular breeds and care needs.


Origins and Evolution of Dutch Dog Breeds

The Netherlands has a rich history of dog breeding that dates back several centuries. The Dutch have always had a strong connection with water and land, and this relationship is reflected in the types of dogs they have bred. Historically, Dutch dog breeds were developed for various purposes, including hunting, herding, and guarding.

One of the oldest and most well-known Dutch dog breeds is the Dutch Shepherd. This breed originated in the 18th century and was primarily used for herding sheep. It is a versatile and intelligent breed, known for its ability to adapt to different environments and tasks. Over the years, the Dutch Shepherd has evolved into a well-rounded working dog, also known for its abilities in obedience, agility, and other dog sports.

Another historically significant Dutch breed is the Kooikerhondje, which was bred for duck hunting in the 16th century. This breed was very popular among the Dutch nobility and was even featured in paintings by famous artists like Jan Steen and Rembrandt. However, the Kooikerhondje nearly became extinct during World War II, but dedicated breeding efforts in the 20th century managed to save the breed.

Over the years, the Dutch have developed several other breeds, such as the Keeshond, the Smoushond, and the Saarloos Wolfdog, each with its own unique history and characteristics. Today, Dutch dog breeds are appreciated worldwide for their versatility, intelligence, and friendly nature.


Physical and Temperamental Traits of Dutch Dog Breeds

Dutch dog breeds exhibit a wide range of physical and temperamental traits. Here are some common characteristics of a few popular Dutch dog breeds:

Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherd:

  • Physical Traits: Medium-sized dog with a well-proportioned and athletic body. It has a thick double coat that can be short, long, or rough, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Temperamental Traits: Intelligent, loyal, and obedient. They are known for being easy to train and eager to please. They are also friendly and sociable, making them great family pets.


  • Physical Traits: Small to medium-sized dog with a distinctive orange-red and white coat, and feathered ears with black tips, known as ‘earrings’.
  • Temperamental Traits: Alert, active, and friendly. They are also known to be a bit reserved, but they are very loyal and affectionate towards their family.


  • Physical Traits: Medium-sized dog with a fox-like expression, pointed ears, and a luxurious mane of hair. Its coat is thick and plush, with distinctive ‘spectacles’ – a line and markings, and shading that give the appearance of glasses.
  • Temperamental Traits: Affectionate, friendly, and alert. They are known to be very good with children and are often described as ‘velcro dogs’ because they like to stick close to their owners.
Saarloos Wolfdog

Saarloos Wolfdog:

  • Physical Traits: Large dog with a wolf-like appearance. It has a thick double coat, straight back, and bushy tail.
  • Temperamental Traits: Independent, reserved, and loyal. They are known to be a bit aloof, but they are very loyal and protective towards their family.
Dutch Smoushond

Dutch Smoushond:

  • Physical Traits: Small, compact dog with a rough, tousled coat and a distinctive ‘moustache’.
  • Temperamental Traits: Friendly, alert, and affectionate. They are known to be very sociable and get along well with other animals.
BreedPhysical TraitsTemperamental Traits
Dutch ShepherdMedium-sized, well-proportioned, athletic body, thick double coat.Intelligent, loyal, obedient, friendly, sociable.
KooikerhondjeSmall to medium-sized, orange-red and white coat, ‘earrings’.Alert, active, friendly, reserved, loyal, affectionate.
KeeshondMedium-sized, fox-like expression, pointed ears, luxurious mane, ‘spectacles’.Affectionate, friendly, alert, good with children, ‘velcro dogs’.
Saarloos WolfdogLarge, wolf-like appearance, thick double coat, straight back, bushy tail.Independent, reserved, loyal, aloof, protective.
Dutch SmoushondSmall, compact, rough, tousled coat, ‘moustache’.Friendly, alert, affectionate, sociable, good with other animals.

Popular Breeds

Well-known Dutch Dog Breeds

The Netherlands has produced some remarkable dog breeds that are well-loved and respected worldwide. Here are some of the most popular and well-known Dutch dog breeds:

  1. Dutch Shepherd (Hollandse Herdershond): This is a versatile and intelligent breed, known for its ability to perform various tasks, including herding, agility, obedience, and more. It is a medium-sized dog with a well-proportioned body and a thick, weather-resistant coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
  2. Kooikerhondje: Also known as the Dutch Decoy Dog, the Kooikerhondje is a small, elegant breed originally developed for duck hunting. It is characterized by its distinctive orange-red and white coat, feathered ears with ‘earrings,’ and a friendly, alert demeanor.
  3. Saarloos Wolfdog: This breed was developed by crossing a German Shepherd with a Eurasian Wolf and is characterized by its wolf-like appearance. It is a large, powerful breed, known for its independence, reserved nature, and loyalty to its family.
  4. Dutch Smoushond (Hollandse Smoushond): This small, compact breed is characterized by its rough, tousled coat, distinctive ‘moustache,’ and friendly, affectionate nature. It is often referred to as the ‘Dutch Ratter’ or ‘Hollandse Smoushond.’
  5. Schapendoes (Dutch Sheepdog): This is a medium-sized breed with a thick, long coat, and a lively, energetic nature. It was originally developed for herding sheep and is known for its agility, intelligence, and friendly demeanor.
  6. Wetterhoun (Frisian Water Dog): This is a robust, water-loving breed developed for hunting and retrieving waterfowl. It has a thick, water-resistant coat, a distinctive curly or ‘marcel wave’ pattern, and is known for its reserved, independent nature.

Care Guide

Tips for Taking Care of Dutch Dog Breeds

Taking care of a Dutch dog breed requires some specific considerations to ensure they live a healthy, happy life:

  1. Diet: A balanced diet is crucial for maintaining the health of your dog. Make sure you feed them high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.
  2. Exercise: Dutch dog breeds, like the Dutch Shepherd and Schapendoes, are energetic and require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Activities such as walking, playing fetch, or agility training are great ways to keep them active.
  3. Grooming: Some Dutch dog breeds, like the Kooikerhondje and Wetterhoun, have a dense coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and remove loose hairs. Brushing your dog’s coat once a week and occasional baths will keep them looking their best.
  4. Training: Dutch breeds are known for their intelligence and willingness to work. Positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and clicker training work well for these breeds. Socialization from a young age is also crucial for well-rounded behavior.
  5. Health Check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for maintaining the health of your dog. Keep up with vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and dental care.
  6. Mental Stimulation: Dutch dog breeds are intelligent and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Puzzle toys, obedience training, and interactive playtime are great ways to keep their minds sharp.


The World of Dutch Dog Breeds: A Wrap-Up Dutch dog breeds are a testament to the rich culture and history of the Netherlands. Understanding their origins, characteristics, and care needs can help you decide if a Dutch dog breed is the right companion for you.

Common Queries about Dutch Dog Breeds