Dutch Shepherd vs. German Shepherd: What’s The Difference?

The Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd are two different breeds with distinguishable features and characteristics. Dutch Shepherds originated in the Netherlands, primarily used as herding dogs, they are known for their versatility and adaptability.

German Shepherds, originating from Germany, are popular for their intelligence and trainability, widely used in roles such as search and rescue, and police or military service. Both breeds exhibit loyalty and are protective, making them excellent family dogs.

In terms of physical appearances, Dutch Shepherds are generally brindle in color with a slightly smaller build, while German Shepherds are larger and can come in a variety of coat colors, most commonly tan with a black saddle. Overall, the choice between the two should depend on your specific needs and lifestyle.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Are you thinking of welcoming a Shepherd to your home? When choosing the right dog for their family, many future Shepherd owners will compare the Dutch Shepherd to the German Shepherd. Although they share many similarities, the Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd have some distinct characteristics.

They are both Shepherds. Both come from Europe. Just by looking at them you can see that they are related. The most loved breed of all is the German Shepherd. (Unless you are in the Netherlands). However, not many people know the differences between them.

Before you commit to any breed, make sure to understand the differences and similarities. There are differences in temperaments, costs and other factors that could impact the choice of breed for you. Let’s get down to business and gather all the details.

Dutch Shepherd vs. German Shepherd


Understanding the history of a breed of dog is crucial to understanding their current status. Dogs are often bred for a specific purpose. This purpose will influence their personality, physical traits and needs greatly.

The Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd are two different breeds. There are also differences in the way they were bred. Let’s find out more about each breed.

Dutch Shepherd

The Dutch Shepherd hails from the Netherlands and came to be in the 19th century. The search for a versatile dog was a priority for farmers. From pulling heavy-laden dairy carts to markets, to herding cows. Assisting with the care of the children at night and keeping the chickens away from the veg field. He is a master of many trades and did it all.

The Dutch Shepherd was almost extinct with the advent of industrialization. But luckily, there were a few breed enthusiasts who saved the day. He is still very uncommon in America, but he is very popular in Europe as an aid to farmers. He is versatile and can be found as an assistance dog, search and rescue, military and other organizations. He is so rare that he is still part of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Group (AKC).

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd breed was created at the turn of the 19th century. German officers wanted to create the ultimate herding breed, so they collected the best specimens from different parts of Germany. His owners quickly realized how great he was and now he is considered one of the most hardworking, all-around dogs. He is also a master of many trades.

According to the AKC, the German Shepherd is, in 2020, ranked as the second most popular dog breed in America. This is an almost identical story around the world. He first came to America at the turn of the 20th century. Although he suffered some from the hatred of the War Worlds, and all things German-related, he soon recovered and starred in a few Hollywood roles.

Because of their popularity, German Shepherds have been embraced across the world as loyal family pets, and have become the parents of many popular crossbreeds.


The appearance of the Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd is similar to the untrained eye. Once you understand the differences, however, you will be able to see the difference. The German Shepherd is the larger of the two breeds. He is more stocky and square than his Dutch counterpart.

Many refer to the Dutch Shepherd’s a wedge shaped head . Dutch Shepherds are often mistaken for both the German Shepherd or the Belgian Malinois, because of their similar good looks.

Their most distinctive difference is their coat. There are three options for the Dutch Shepherd: a wire coat, a long coat and a short coat. The wire coat is rough and curly to the touch.

The Dutch Shepherd can choose from one color of coat, which is either brindle with a silver or gold undertone. Breeders changed the breed standard to only allow a brindle coat. He was so different than other Shepherds in Europe.

The German Shepherd can choose between a short or long coat. The German Shepherd is a mix of black and tan colors. With the choice of solid color coats such as the White German Shepherd, Black German Shepherd, or even the Blue German Shepherd.


The Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd have a more similar temperament than their appearance. Both are original working dogs that were used on farms as guardians, herders and other duties. They are both hard workers. because of their working history. They are happier when they have a job or get lots of exercise.

The German Shepherd is more protective than the other, which is why his remarkable guarding reputation was earned so long ago. The German Shepherd is the most protective dog you can get.

German Shepherds have picked up an unfairly aggressive reputation, but this is largely due to the sheer quantity of the number of German Shepherds owned as family pets.

The German Shepherd tends to be more protective because he has a stronger bond with one master than the Dutch Shepherd. They are affectionate and love their families. The Dutch will give their cuddles to the entire family while the German will keep his cuddles to his primary caregiver.

They are both great with children, and as long they are socialized well they can get along with other family pets. Both breeds prefer larger homes, so a secure yard and access to it are essential. If they’re kept in an apartment for too long, both will go crazy.


Their working energy requires that their family can either work or exercise them. They will be extremely disorganized and agitated without it. This is not good news for you or your furniture. If you don’t have an active family, these are not the guys for you. They both need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.

The Dutch Shepherd is more bred as a work dog than a companion for the family. The German Shepherd is bred as a family companion, but the Dutch Shepherd is a more work-oriented dog. They are more comfortable in a calmer environment, and can relax the afternoon away.

Dutch Shepherd owners often believe that the Dutch Shepherd is more energetic. For the Dutch Shepherd to succeed, it must be worked harder. This is more than just their appearance. It is important to consider when choosing between these two breeds.


Both the Dutch Shepherd as well as the German Shepherd are loyal and intelligent and are relatively easy to train. The German Shepherd is a better choice for people who have never owned a dog. Because the German Shepherd is so eager and willing to please his master, he’ll always learn your commands. It makes training much easier, even though he can be intense.

Both pups are toy motivated and can do well with doggy toys made for active or Shepherd breeds.

On one hand, the Dutch Shepherd can be more independent that the German Shepherd. Because his master used to expect him to herd the flocks and escort them into their barns in the morning. He does it all on his own. He’s independent and stubborn. There will be days when he finds something better.

Socialization is essential to both of these dogs. It is not only an important skill for dogs, but it is also because dogs are naturally protective. It is important that they don’t become too protective. Both do well when their master uses the positive reinforcement training method.


The Dutch Shepherd has a longer life expectancy than the German Shepherd. The Dutch Shepherd lives on average four years longer than his German counterpart.

The Dutch and German Shepherds are susceptible to hip, elbow dysplasia. You should verify the hip scores of your parents if you’re considering welcoming one of these breeds. The long-haired Dutch is prone to thyroid conditions, and the wire-haired Dutch is prone to goniodysplasia. Other than these, there aren’t any other common conditions.

Many German Shepherds have an inclining back which can cause problems for their hips. This is more common among American German Shepherds than on European lines. Talk to your breeder about this. You are also at greater risk for degenerativemyelopathy, which is a progressive condition of the spine.

While this is not a concern for your dog’s health, it is important to know that the Dutch Shepherd can be very sensitive to anesthesia. It is important to remind your vet that he is a rare breed.


The Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd are identical in terms of their nutrition. They both need a high-quality shepherd formula kibble that will keep them sustained throughout the day. One that is made for large breed dogs and caters to their specific needs. This is especially important in puppyhood.

They will consume three-to-four cups of kibble per day depending on their size and energy level. If they are working dogs, this will be higher. Both are at risk for gastric torsion also known as bloat. Do not feed them right after or before exercise.


The coat type. determines the differences in grooming. The German Shepherd can have a longer coat or a shorter coat. The Dutch Shepherds are identical. They both need to brush their hair once per week if they have short hair. They both require brushing once a week if they have long hair. We recommend investing in a deshedding tool for both types of coats. They are both heavy shedders during the shedding season.

The wire-coated Dutch Shepherd is our oddity. Although his coat is medium to short in length, it is very rough to the touch. Sometimes he looks like a Poodle in dire need of a groomer. His coat will require a pin brush twice per week. The wire-coated Dutch Shepherds sheds less than other coats ,, but he will still need to be clipped a few times per year.

In all other areas, like nail clipping and dental brushing, they are the same as any other dog. The wire-coated Dutch is the only thing that makes this dog different. He will need to have his eyes cleaned once or twice per week. because he has goniodysplasia. To ensure they stay clean and prevent bacteria buildup,


Price is another important factor. In America, a Dutch Shepherd puppy costs more to buy than a German Shepherd puppy. Because he is rarer and more difficult to find, this is a fair price. There are many breeders who are reputable and the German Shepherd is America’s second most popular dog. The Dutch Shepherd puppy will require you to travel, and may be placed on a waiting list.

They are both at risk of being targeted by puppy mills and backstreet breeders. You should only work with reputable breeders. Ask for their health clearances and meet the parents. Reputable breeders will not pressurize you into paying money until you are satisfied. Backstreet breeders will.

Final Thoughts

The Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd are similar but there are more differences than meets your eye. Although the German Shepherd is more person-oriented than the Dutch Shepherd, he can be more difficult to train. The Dutch Shepherd is independent and more work-oriented. This makes him a better choice for experienced dog owners.

The Dutch Shepherd breed is rarer than the German Shepherd, and therefore more expensive to buy. However, he is healthier than the German Shepherd. Depending on the type of coat, their grooming times are almost equal. While the German Shepherd is more protective of their pups both are excellent watchdogs.

Whoever you choose, ensure that they tick all the boxes. Otherwise, it can be problematic for both of you. If you can, you’re in for many years full of love, joy, and loyalty.

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