Brindle Dutch Shepherd: Important Things You Need to Know!

If you look closely at the Brindle Dutch Shepherd, you might think they resemble German or Belgian Shepherds.

Although they can look similar, these cousin breeds have distinct physical and personality differences. 

Dutch Shepherds can be distinguished from their counterparts by their brindle coats, which are very common among this breed.

What Is a Brindle Dutch Shepherd?

Brindle Dutch Shepherd
Did you know that the Brindle Dutch Shepherds were originally used for farming?

Due to their similar appearance, Dutch Shepherds are often mistaken for German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois.

Both have huge, pointed ears and long, bushy tails that hang straight down or are slightly curled.

However, the coloring distinguishes this breed from the German Shepherd. 

The brindle coloration is unique to the breed.

Originating in the Netherlands, the Brindle Dutch Shepherd is a one-of-a-kind breed that has a host of wonderful qualities that include:

  • Intelligence
  • Loyalty
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Athletic
  • Affectionate

Dutch Shepherds, sometimes also referred to as Dutch Herders, were initially developed as farm dogs. 

They were highly effective at protecting and herding vast flocks of sheep, but they were also quite good at other tasks.

It’s common for police and military to use these dogs as K9s or service dogs for individuals with disabilities because of their strong work ethic and kind nature.

Lifespan12-15 years
Weight42-75 lbs
Height21 ½ to 24 ½ inches
Suitable forAll ages
Grooming requirementsBrushing once a week, bathing if needed, hand-stripping during shedding season
Health ConcernsHip dysplasia, Gonio dysplasia, thyroid disease
TemperamentsClever, loyal, active, hard-working


These dogs are a popular choice for police and service work due to their common personality characteristics which include:

  • Versatility
  • Strong work ethic
  • Trainability
  • Naturally protective instincts

They form strong bonds with their human families and enjoy companionship in the home.

Unfortunately, their protective nature can sometimes lead to undesirable traits such as becoming bossy or dominant.

When it comes to training and socialization, this breed needs a lot of both, as it must learn to fit in.

Read More: Can Rescue Dogs Be Service Dogs? If you’re thinking of adopting a shelter dog to use as a service animal, check out this guide first!


Dutch Shepherds can be distinguished from German Shepherds by their brindle coats which are specific to the breed.

Since brindle coats are exclusive to them, this is the only way you can tell if they’re purebred. 

The most common colors are:

  • Gray Brindle
  • Black Brindle
  • Silver Brindle
  • Rust Brindle

In previous years, the breed’s official standard included any coloring.

However, organizations later concluded that the brindle coat set the breed apart from other dogs, and the coat color standard shifted toward the dark end of the spectrum.

For more information on brindle dogs, check out our informative guide on the best brindle dog breeds

Types of Brindle Dutch Shepherd

Brindle Dutch Shepherds have multiple hair types, including short hair, long hair, and wire hair.

Each of these 3 hair types has its features. Depending on a person’s preferences, any of these 3 hair types might be ideal.

Short Haired

This coat is like the Malinois, and it’s the most prevalent and currently preferred of the 3 variants.

The short-hair coat combined with an undercoat tightly covers the dog’s entire body.

As a result, they don’t require extensive or regular grooming, making them ideal for military and defense services.

Long Haired

This coat has long hair that’s straight and close-lying all over the body.

There are also no waves or curls.

The long-haired Dutchie is more common among herding dog owners. Dutchies with long hair also resemble German Shepherds. 

Unfortunately, there are few long-haired breeders.

Since it’s a recessive gene, a long-haired puppy will occasionally appear in a short-haired litter.


Wire-haired Dutchies are extremely rare, and this coat is medium length and dense.

The coat is also coarse and has a woolly undercoat. Because of the tousled coat, the brindle color may be less prominent.

Despite its unkempt appearance, this specific’s coat’s popularity is gradually increasing. 

Grooming and Care

The type of coat the dog has will determine the kind of care it will need.

Their coats do shed, but keeping it under control is easy with brushing and occasional bathing.

These dogs will require extra brushings and baths when their undercoat sheds in the spring and fall. 

The coat of a Dutch Shepherd produces oils that make it naturally water-resistant, so you only need to bathe them if they get particularly dirty.

You should avoid bathing your Brindle Dutch Shepherd unless absolutely necessary to leave those oils intact.

Weekly or biweekly brushing is sufficient for short-haired Dutch Shepherds.

Dutchies with long hair, on the other hand, should be brushed once a week. 

Wire-haired Dutchies need to have their coat hand-stripped once or twice a year.

Dead hairs from the topcoat are removed by hand rather than trimming to allow the undercoat to grow and prevent skin problems to keep the coat clean and healthy. 

However, hand brushing may not be enough for short and long-haired coats during shedding season.

Hand-stripping may be required to preserve their undercoat.


The Dutch Shepherd is a medium-sized to heavyweight middle dog in size.

Males, on average, are between 22.5 and 24.5  inches tall, while females are usually about one to two inches shorter.

The average weight gain for this breed is between 42 and 75 pounds.

Although these are the average sizes for the breed, some Dutchies may grow to be larger or smaller.

Health and Lifespan

In general, these dogs are a healthy breed.

There are some recommended health screenings, however, they are minimal compared to other breeds due to the strict Dutch breeding restrictions.

These health screens allow owners to keep track of certain issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia – A growth-related hip deformity that causes weakness and discomfort.
  • Gonio Dysplasia – A disorder in which the eye struggles to allow fluid to flow, leading to blindness. The link between genetics and gonio dysplasia is currently unknown.
  • Thyroid – No genetic test exists to detect dogs at risk of developing thyroid disease before breeding. Hypothyroidism is a disease managed for the rest of one’s life by taking medications.

The average lifespan is between 12-15 years. 

Level of Maintenance

Dutch Shepherds are fairly low-maintenance dogs, and they require very little grooming unless it’s during shedding season.

Training is required and recommended but it is very easy and straightforward.

A modest and consistent amount of activity will be needed.

Like all dogs, they require regular veterinary examinations. Their nails grow quickly and must be clipped frequently to avoid injury.

To prevent infection, their ears must be cleaned frequently to remove any debris or wax accumulation.

Living Requirements

Dutch Shepherds can adapt to any living situation.

You can keep a Dutch Shepherd in smaller homes such as condos or apartments as long as they get their daily exercise.

That said, a farm or larger house with a fenced-in yard is ideal for the dog.

Additionally, mental stimulation and proper training can help them release any pent-up energy.

This will prevent them from being destructive at home especially if they are left alone during the day.

Finally, this breed can typically be comfortable in any climate.

However, if they live in a dry area, their skin and coat will require some care.

Diet and Feeding

It’s common practice for this breed’s puppies to be fed puppy chow until they’re about 6 months old.

Afterward, they go on to adult food, which should be chosen depending on their:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Level of exercise

Hard-working dogs must receive the best nourishment they can get.

Therefore, owners must verify the food bag’s nutritional information lists protein as a primary ingredient.


Dutch Shepherds are exceptionally clever and extremely trainable.

They are eager to please and adept at picking up new commands after only a few repetitions.

Because they learn so quickly, it’s ideal to do the training in shorter sessions with fewer repetitions. 

Thriving on mental stimulation, once they learn basic obedience skills, you’ll notice them become more enthusiastic about training as your instructions become more challenging.

Due to their intellect and agility, they make for excellent candidates for competitions. 

However, if you don’t have a lot of time to spare to train your dog, you should consider another breed. 

Dutchies are inherently independent dogs, and if not adequately trained to take orders and are not motivated regularly, they are prone to striking out on their own and developing difficult-to-break independent streaks.

What We Like about Brindle Dutch Shepherds

A Brindle Dutch Shepherd is an excellent choice as a family pet due to its loyalty, energy, and intelligence.

They’re also incredibly obedient. 

Due to their intelligence, training is reasonably enjoyable and straightforward for these dogs.

They are low-maintenance pets that require little grooming.

They are devoted to their owners and fiercely protective of them, but they are also extremely friendly once they’re assured of their safety and their owners.

Potential Drawbacks of Brindle Dutch Shepherds

Brindle Dutch Shepherds require a high level of activity, and they can become destructive if bored. 

If they aren’t trained immediately and correctly, they can become quite bossy and independent.

Finally, they shed heavily during the shedding season.

Additionally, these dogs require little grooming care until during their shedding season, when they require a great deal of attention.

Owners should keep this in mind, especially if they want to get a long-haired or wire-haired Dutchie.

Read More: Why Do So Many German Shepherds End Up in Shelters? Here are common reasons why and what to consider before adoption.

How Much Does a Brindle Dutch Shepherd Cost?

The average cost of a Dutch Shepherd puppy ranges between $1,000 and $3,500.

Top dogs bred for show or to maintain their pedigree lines generally cost up to $3,500. 

Even for a purebred dog, adopting an abandoned Dutch Shepherd from a shelter will save you a lot of money.

The average cost is $300.

Are They Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners?

These dogs are ideal for first-time dog owners since they are brilliant and, as a result, easy to train.

They are especially suitable for physically active people because this breed is very active and requires daily exercise.

On the other hand, training should immediately begin because they can direct their excess energy into destructive actions if they aren’t trained and don’t exercise regularly.

Dutchies are great pets because they are: 

  • Devoted to their master
  • Obedient
  • Willing to please in exchange for rewards

However, owners must assess if they will satisfy the breed’s physical needs because of its tremendous energy and stamina.

They make pleasant, affectionate friends if given an adequate outlet for their energy.

What Are Their Exercise Needs?

This breed requires a lot of attention and regular exercise.

Dutchies need the space for physical stimulation often and daily to release pent-up energy and avoid becoming destructive.

Some of the breed’s favorite activities include:

  • Fetch
  • Frisbee
  • Agility training
  • Running

Dutchies will be more than happy to go along and have strenuous hikes with you or play all day because of their high stamina.

However, you should keep in mind that if they aren’t active and mentally stimulated every day, they’ll develop their interests and become indifferent to commands.

Are They Good with Children?

They will work for practically any family group because they’re intensely loyal, similar to the Basenjis.

Moreover, they will get along well with family members as they are very affectionate and friendly. 

This breed is a reliable companion for children of all ages because they’re compassionate and playful.

They’re also full of energy and will tolerate unwelcome conduct like pulling and pinching.

Are They Good with Other Pets?

In terms of the other pets in the house, there’s no reason to be concerned.

Dutchies don’t prey on other animals and will not be aggressive unless threatened or provoked.

Dutch Shepherds get along nicely with other animals of all kinds. 

Intuitive and inquisitive, these dogs are excellent at picking up on the personalities of various animals they come across.

They can keep a safe distance from fearful or timid dogs on the one hand and play with more confident ones on the other. 

Are They Good with Strangers?

Dutch shepherds are instinctively suspicious of strangers.

Though they don’t usually show aggression, they will bark to alert you if they discover that someone intrudes on their territory.

Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs.

If a Dutch Shepherd is extremely friendly to others and refuses to listen to its owners, this could be a sign that they have not been properly trained.

A good dog trainer may be the best solution for overly aggressive and overly friendly dogs.

Registries and Organizations

The Dutch Shepherd is recognized by the following dog breed registries and organizations:

In 1995, the United Kennel Club formally recognized the Dutch Shepherd.

The American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service began recording the Dutch Shepherd in 2012, making the breed eligible for recognition.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the American Kennel Club recognized the Dutch Shepherd.

Police and Service Dogs

Dutch Shepherds are commonly used as police and service dogs due to their intelligence, stamina, loyalty, and calm demeanor.

However, they also have an innate need to protect their human companions and defend their territory. 

Although they are smaller than German shepherds, they are often preferred because they’re faster and more versatile.

As a result, police forces are always looking for Dutch Shepherds that have completed official training with the Royal Dutch Police Dog Association worldwide.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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