|History of the Dutch Shepherd
|Is the Dutch shepherd a recognized breed?
The Dutch shepherd is a recognized pure breed in Europe just the same as the German shepherd, the
Belgian Shepherd, the Golden Retriever etc.
As with any breed, there are also dogs not registered in the Kennel Club's Stud Book, as well as mixes of
Dutch shepherds with other dogs.
A lot of the (shepherd) dogs bred by Police Dog enthusiasts are mixes or dogs of such unregistered stock,
or let us say "unofficially registered", because there is usually some record of their parentage kept by the
breeder. It is mostly dogs of those lines that are imported into America.
This is why some Americans wonder if there is any such thing as a purebred Dutch shepherd. The answer
is: yes, there is.
A lot of American breeders however will breed and sell puppies as purebred dogs, knowing very well that
those dogs are not from Dutch recognised lineage. Very often, the "pedigree" they offer is nothing more
than a "record of parentage"
Even though a lot of these dogs can be of high quality when it comes to health and/or use, they are not to
be confounded with the purebred Dutch Shepherd.
Usually, the crossbred dogs have different conformation and disposition than the Purebred.
They're usually taller, have higher drive and are more suitable for bite work than the average Purebred.
The average Purebred is more suitable to be a family dog to be used for show or sports such as
obedience, agility etc.
If you prefer the high drive police dog for bite work, then this is not the kennel for you.
If you don't like the super high drive, go for the purebred.
To avoid mix ups, it must be understood that all the dogs on this website are from purebred Dutch
As to the discussion what the breed originally was like and who changed the breed to suit their desire,
let the facts speak for themselves:
The NHC (Dutch Shepherd Club in the Netherlands) was founded in 1898.
The KNPV (Royal Dutch Police Dog Association.)was founded in 1907.
The purebred Dutch Shepherd was in Holland for a long time before the KNPV started working with the
Dutch Shepherd and started crossing them with Malinois and other breeds to suit their desire.
|History of the Breed
The breed is an old country-breed, of Dutch origins. In times gone by, shepherds and farmers needed a
versatile dog. A jack-of-all-trades, with few demands and adapted to the harsh and sparse existence of the
From those dogs the Dutch Shepherd Dog as we know it today, evolved. This also explains the character
traits that have been preserved virtually unchanged to the present day.
The dogs were very loyal to the pack, intelligent and they were bred for suitability to the work on the farm
and for the shepherd rather than physical type. Over time, suitability bred conformity. By the late 1800s
Dutch Shepherd Dogs shared the same skills and, for the most part, the same physical appearance.
Because of the industrialization, sheep, shepherds, and their dogs were no longer needed.
Afraid the dogs would die out with the last of the shepherds, a group of enthusiasts met to set up a Breed
club for the Dutch breed. The NHC (Nederlandse Herdershonden Club) was founded on June 12, 1898
and set the first Standard for Dutch Shepherds.
After the NHC was set up in 1898; the breed became "official". The oldest known Dutch Shepherd Dog that
was entered into the Studbook was born in 1896. The NHC set itself the task of structuring breeding
Before the existence of the NHC, the dogs were bred solely for their herding capacities. And although the
breed had evolved into a type on its own, there were no strict rules regarding type. However, as
photographs from the end of the last century and today show, the type was already well established and
has changed so little that it is often only the quality of the photograph that gives away the fact that it is
over 100 years old. The dogs themselves have remained true to form, and many of them would do well in
the show ring today.
Until 1914 there were a lot of changes in the breed standard. The coat varieties were narrowed down to
short, long, and rough hair. All colors were permitted provided that they weren't too colorful. White
however, was restricted to chest and toes.
The desire to create a breed that would clearly distinguish itself from the German and Belgian Shepherd
dogs led to a color restriction in 1914. The minimum sizes for the short and rough haired varieties were
raised by about two inches, with a little less for the longhaired variety. From that moment on all white was
Those drastic restrictions in permitted color and/or size led to an enormous deterioration of the available
genetic material. More than anything, the exclusion of all white excluded an enormous amount of dogs from
the breed pool since white is such a dominant gene.
In 1928 some white was permitted again, and in 1934, some old colors were re-introduced as permitted
colors. It was too late however. The breed base was small and a lot of good dogs had already been
excluded due to the several color and structure changes. The clock could not be turned back again. In
1960 the colors were restricted back to the way things were in 1914. Only this time the auburn longhair
There are records of some GSD crosses into the shorthaired version that occurred between 1910 and
It took quite some time to get rid of the subsequent undesirable traits.
After the second world war there was definitely a need for some fresh blood, and dogs of unknown
background, along with some Belgian Malinois, were suggested for the shorthaired version, and Belgian
Tervuerens for the longhair. One thing was for sure however, nobody had any desire to breed to German
Shepherds again since that little episode before the First World War had taken several years to straighten
A well known dog fancier wrote about the Dutch Shepherd Dog in 1910:”….bearing a great resemblance to
the wolf.” Of course this is not entirely true, but it is another aspect that shows that the Dutch Shepherd
still has many of the characteristics of its wild forebears.
|Explanation concerning registration of part of the Longhaired Dutch
Shepherd population in the “Appendix or Bijlage” of the NHSB (Dutch
Kennel Club for pedigree registry)
Sometimes, with the registration of a certain litter or mating of the Longhaired Dutch Shepherd, you’ll find a
reference F3, F4 or Bijl G-0, Bijl G1, or Bijl G2 written behind the name of one or both parents. Bijl stands
for Bijlage, meaning Appendix.
Considering that the Longhaired Dutch Shepherd was only found in the Netherlands and in very limited
numbers, it was decided a number of times to expand the genetic foundation of the variety by using the
The first generation of a cross between a Shorthaired and a Longhaired Dutch Shepherd is being
registered by the NHSB as a Bijl G-0. This first generation is shorthaired because the shorthaired gene is
dominant over the longhaired gene.
The next generations are being referred to as Bijl G-1 and Bijl G-2. The Bijl G1 generation is on average
50% longhaired; meaning approximately half of the pups are longhaired.
In the Bijl G2 generation, all the pups will be longhaired provided a longhaired parent from the Bijl G1
generation is used.
Descendents with a Bijl G-1 pedigree and particularly those with a Bijl G-2 still normally occur.
These Longhaired Dutch Shepherds are in no way distinct or different from the longhaired Dutch
Shepherds with a pedigree from the “regular”, main registry.
If one of the parents has a Bijl G-2 pedigree, and the other parent has a “regular” main pedigree, the pups
will be registered in the “regular” main pedigree registry.
If one of the parents has a Bijl G-1 pedigree, the pups will be registered in the appendix as Bijl G-2.
In 1984, for the same above mentioned reasons, a Longhaired Belgian Shepherd (Tervueren shepherd)
has been crossbred with the Longhaired Dutch Shepherd.
Considering that the Belgian Shepherd is a different breed, the offspring coming from such a cross were
referred to as F1, F2, F3 and F4 and were not immediately brought into the NHSB appendix.
The F1, F2, F3 and F4 generations were given a “Provisional NHSB Registration number”.
The 4th generation (F-4) was and still is eligible to be registered in the NHSB Appendix as G-0 generation
upon completion of an examination to be undertaken at the dog’s age of a year and a half.
As long as the G-0 dog has not been accepted into the NHSB Appendix, the dog can not compete in shows
and can not become eligible for championship awards.
The above described “expansion of genetic foundation” has led to the fact that we now have a healthy
number of Longhaired Dutch Shepherds, whereby near inbreeding can be avoided.