Information about the Schapendoes

The Schapendoes or Dutch Sheepdog, is a breed of dog originating in the Netherlands. The Schapendoes was originally a herding dog and general farm dog, but today also participates in dog sports such as agility and flyball.

The Schapendoes descends from a general type of farm and herding dog popular in the Drenthe province of the Netherlands, and the Veluwe, an area of forests and swampland. The dogs there had many names, and were not a specific breed as we use the term today. They were the local working dog, adapted to the people, environment, and types of work needed. They were exhibited in early dog shows (in the 1870s) as Domestic herding dog.

The dogs became nearly extinct during World War II, and the modern day breed descends from the few survivors. The Dutch Raad van Beheer (national kennel club) first recognised the breed in 1952, and the first standard was written in 1954. Related breeds are the Bearded Collie, the Puli, the Owczarek Nizinny, the Old English Sheepdog, the Briard, the Bergamasco Shepherd Dog (Cane da pastore Bergamasco) and the Old German Sheepdog (Schafspudel), all of which are small versions of the “mountain type” herding and livestock guardian dogs.

The breed was recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1971, as breed number 313 in Group 1, Section 1: Sheepdogs. Exported to the North America, the breed is recognised by the Canadian Kennel Club (as Dutch Sheepdog) and the United Kennel Club (USA) in their respective Herding Groups. The American Kennel Club has listed the Schapendoes as part of its Foundation Stock Service, the first step in breed recognition. In addition it is recognised by numerous minor kennel clubs and internet-based dog registry businesses.

The Schapendoes is a medium sized dog with long, thick fur on the body, legs, tail, and face. Small ears hang down, covered with long fur. The face has a moustache and beard. The coat is of any colour.
A close-up of the facial features of a black and white Schapendoes.

Height is up to 50 cm (19.7 in) at the withers and 12-20 kg (26-44 lb), up to 25 kg (55 lb) for males, in weight.

The breed standard describes the Schapendoes as friendly, high spirited, and affectionate. He is not a guard dog or aggressively protective, and if properly socialised while young, would most likely make a good family dog, as well as a good dog for active sports. Lively and intelligent dogs must receive regular training and outings. Temperament of individual dogs may vary.