Dutch Shepherd Vs. German Shepherd (Everything You Need To Know)

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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Thinking about getting a Shepherd? That’s great. Dogs are the perfect companions for you as well as your family, but which one should you get? Choosing the breed that best suits your family and your lifestyle is crucial.

When it comes to Dutch Shepherd vs. German Shepherd, the decision is tough. German Shepherds are more popular than Dutch Shepherds and are fantastic dogs to have around. Similarly, Dutch Shepherds are just as unique and are worth considering.

To help you with the decision, We’ll cover all the differences along with the similarities between Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds.


Both German Shepherds and Dutch Shepherds are European breeds that were bred mainly for herding and guarding livestock. Here’s the history of the two breeds:

History of Dutch Shepherds

Naturally, Dutch Shepherds come from the Netherlands. They came to be in the late 1800s and were every farmer’s favorite assistant. Dutch Shepherds helped farmers, from herding and pulling heavy carts to looking after the kids.

Dutch Shepherd

Basically, Dutch Shepherds were the have-it-all kind of dog. They worked as guarding dogs, crop protection dogs, and farm dogs.

At some point around the era of industrialization and with the decline of the sheep farming industry, Dutch Shepherds nearly became extinct. However, as the years went by, they started gaining back their popularity among European families and the European police.

History of German Shepherds

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds worldwide. It originated in Germany around the second half of the 19th century. Just like the Dutch Shepherd, the German Shepherd was originally a herding dog.

Captain Max von Stephanitz, a German officer, went around different districts in Germany to collect the finest specimens to create the ultimate breed. Soon after, the breed gained popularity in all European countries.

The German Shepherd first came to the United States of America in the early 1900s. However, due to the influence of World War, everything German was hated. Consequently, people didn’t welcome the German Shepherd breed with open arms.

Not long after starring in some Hollywood movies, the German Shepherd recovered and gained huge popularity among the American community.


According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the German Shepherd is one of the top five most popular dog breeds in the U.S. As a result, there’s a good deal of scientific information available about them; they sell at relatively lower prices, and can you can find them easily in local shelters.

Contrarily, Dutch Shepherds are rarely bred in the U.S. Consequently, they cost much more than German Shepherds, and you’re less likely to find them in shelters.

Furthermore, Dutch Shepherds tend to live longer and be healthier than their German cousins.

Physical Features

Overall, The German Shepherd and the Dutch Shepherd are quite similar looking. After all, they’re cousins. However, there are a few differences between the two breeds:


The German Shepherd is a bit larger than the Dutch Shepherd. Additionally, German Shepherds have a stockier build than Dutch Shepherds, while the latter, as often described, has a more “wedge-shaped head.”

A German Shepherd can grow up to 26 inches tall, while the Dutch Shepherd’s maximum height doesn’t exceed 24.5 inches. When it comes to weight, German Shepherds are almost 15 pounds heavier than their Dutch cousins.

Both breeds are big and have a muscular body with a downward arched back. Their bite force is incredible and one of the strongest in all breeds.


Generally, the coat of the two breeds is their most distinctive feature. You can instantly use their coats to differentiate between a German Shepherd and a Dutch Shepherd.

German Shepherd Coat

Three German Shepherds

Commonly, a German Shepherd has a double coat that is black and tan in color. However, there are other colors a German Shepherd can have. For instance:

  • All black
  • Red and black
  • Sable
  • All white
  • Blue
  • Silver and black
  • Cream and black

Dutch Shepherd Coat

Dutch Shepherds usually come in three coat types: long coat, short coat, and wire coat.

Overall, their fur is rough to the touch. A Dutch Shepherd’s long fur is usually straight. However, the short and wire coats can be wavy.

Dutch Shepherds have a brindle coat color that can come with a silver or gold undertone.


The Grooming schedule depends on the coat type each dog breed has. For example, Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds require brushing once weekly if they have short coats. However, if they have long fur, they need brushing much more often to prevent matting.

During the shedding season, it gets crazy. They would need daily brushing, and you might want to invest in a de-shedding tool.

The only exception to the previously mentioned grooming tips is wire-coated Dutch Shepherds. Their wavy, rough fur requires a comb or pin brush to brush twice a week. The good thing is that they don’t shed as much as other types of coats.


Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds have similar temperaments. Due to their background as work dogs, both breeds are always ready to go and eager to please.

Of Course, each dog has a unique character. However, there are a few common traits.

Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherds are loving, loyal, and energetic. They’re happier when they’re busy, and that’s important to consider. That’s because having nothing to do can lead to undesirable, destructive behavior.

Their natural protective instinct can lead to them being suspicious around strangers. However, they quickly let their guards down once they realize this stranger doesn’t pose a threat.

Dutch Shepherds are fantastic around kids. Additionally, they get along with other family pets rather quickly.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are just as loving as Dutch Shepherds. However, a German Shepherd dog is more protective than his Dutch cousin. That’s why German Shepherds make a great guarding dog.

German Shepherds have a reputation for being a bit more aggressive; they take more time to lower their guard around strangers and even more time to get used to them.

German Shepherds usually form a stronger bond with their masters than Dutch Shepherds. That’s why they’re often more protective, and they would only share cuddles with their primary caregiver, unlike their Dutch cousins that love cuddling with all family members.


Both Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds are highly intelligent and, therefore, super easy to train. In addition, they pick up new things pretty quickly.

German Shepherds

The German Shepherd is the perfect choice for those who’ve never had a pet dog before. Due to their willingness and eagerness to please, German Shepherds can be easily trained. They do best with game training and positive reinforcement.

Turning the training sessions into games is a good idea when training German Shepherds. They love scent-based games as well as getting treat rewards. Consequently, they can happily play for hours and learn to do the most challenging tasks.

It’s essential to enroll German Shepherd puppies in puppy school. That way, they get to learn how to socialize with humans and other dogs, which eliminates the possibility of them being dangerous around other creatures.

Capabilities of German Shepherds

German Shepherds are ranked the third smartest breed after the Poodle and the Border Collie. They have unlimited capabilities which enable them to ace in many areas, such as:

  • Service Dogs
  • Personal Protection Dogs
  • Therapy Dogs
  • Rescue dogs
  • Military dogs
  • Search dogs
  • Detection of explosives or narcotics
  • Detection of human remains

Dutch Shepherds

Training a Dutch Shepherd is a breeze because they’re really smart. There’s little to no trouble facing those who need to train their Dutch Shepherd.

Dutch Shepherds, just like German Shepherds, respond better to positive reinforcement and praise. That’s why rewarding dutch Shepherds when they get things right and avoiding scolding them when they don’t is the best go-to technique when training them.

Capabilities of Dutch Shepherds

Dutch Shepherds are incredibly bright dogs. They also have unlimited capabilities that exceed all expectations. Therefore, it’s essential to assert dominance when training Dutch Shepherds because sometimes they think they can outsmart their trainer.

Dutch Shepherds are capable of being:

  • Training Dogs
  • Police Dogs
  • Rescue dogs
  • Guide dogs
  • Companions


Both Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds have tons of energy to use. So, they would fit better within families that have an active lifestyle. That’s because, on a daily basis, both breeds need at least one hour of exercise.

Due to being bred as working dogs, Dutch Shepherds are a bit more energetic than their German cousins. Either way, both breeds can get problematic if they don’t get their daily dose of exercise.


Dutch Shepherds have slightly longer lifespans than German Shepherds. That’s because they’re better bred than their German cousins.

Dutch Shepherd’s life expectancy can reach anywhere between 11 and 14 years. German Shepherds, however, have a life span of 10–13 years.


Almost all purebred species have health issues. Therefore, you should never purchase a pup from a breeder who doesn’t perform health screening on their dogs.

There are a few hereditary conditions that any person should consider before adopting a pet dog.

German Shepherd’s Health

German Shepherds are often bred with a low arched back. That makes them prone to joint problems, back problems, and even degenerative myelopathy, which is a condition that affects the spine. They’re also susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia.

German Shepherds are also more likely to develop Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. It’s a serious condition that, if left untreated, could be fatal.

Dutch Shepherd’s Health

Little Dutch shepherd

Dutch Shepherds are healthier than their German cousins. However, long-haired Dutch Shepherds are prone to thyroid conditions.

Additionally, wire-haired Dutch Shepherds are at risk of goniodysplasia, a condition in the eye that might lead to blindness. As a result, they should get their eyes cleaned at least once a week.

Note that Dutch Shepherds are known to be extremely sensitive to anesthesia. So it’s important to keep that in mind when visiting the vet.


Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds both require the same daily nutritional intake. Their diet should contain more than 25% animal-based protein.

According to The National Research Council of the National Academies for dog nutritional feeding, an inactive Shepherd should consume around 1300–1500 calories. Similarly, an active Shepherd will perform best on a diet of 1700–2100 calories.

The amount of food that a Shepherd should have every day varies depending on its weight. It ranges between two 3/4 and five 1/4 cups a day. It’s best to consult your vet for the meal plan that best suits your doggo’s lifestyle, age, and condition.


Price is a major factor that contributes to the decision to welcome a new dog to your house. Overall, a Dutch Shepherd pup costs more than a German Shepherd pup because it’s a rarer breed and, therefore, harder to find.

A German Shepherd dog can cost anywhere between $450 and $1900. The price depends on many factors, like the dog’s age, training, lineage, health screening, and the breeder’s reputation.

On the other hand, a Dutch Shepherd puppy costs about $1000–$1200. To purchase a Dutch Shepherd puppy, you might need to travel or stay on a waiting list for quite some time.

It’s always a great idea to consider adopting a rescue dog. Depending on the medical services they have received, rescue dogs cost between $50 to $500.


All in all, when you think about choosing between Dutch Shepherd vs. German Shepherd, the decision depends on what you’re looking for in a dog. Though they might seem similar at first sight, there are some differences you should consider.

German Shepherds are more person-oriented than Dutch Shepherds. Also, they could be a bit harder to train and less tolerant of other dogs. On the other hand, the Dutch Shepherd is more work-oriented, and due to their smaller size, Dutch Shepherds can be less intimidating.

Dutch Shepherds are pricier than German Shepherds. Nevertheless, they’re healthier and have fewer medical problems. After knowing all that information, whoever you decide to choose, your pet will always give you an unlimited amount of affection.

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.