The famous German Shepherd and the lesser-known Dutch Shepherd may appear similar at first glance, leading some to confuse the two. However, these two breeds have distinct characteristics that set them apart.
When it comes to appearance, two prominent distinctions stand out: size and color. You can see the size comparison on the screen right now. The Dutch Shepherd is slightly shorter and leaner dog breed of the two. While this difference is noticeable, it isn't substantial.
Both dogs can have either short or long coat, but the Dutch Shepherd can also be rough-haired, even though this variety is fairly rare. Another distinctive trait is coat color. German Shepherds typically sport a black and tan coat, although sable or solid black colors are also possible. In contrast, the Dutch Shepherd's coat color has an interesting history. In 1914, the decision was made to limit the breed to the brindle color pattern, distinguishing it from the similar German Shepherd and Belgian Shepherds. Consequently, today's Dutch Shepherds are exclusively brindle. You will never see purebred brindle German Shepherd. Which is why the coat color is the easiest way how to differentiate these two breeds apart.
Both dogs became popular as versatile workers in 1800s in Western Europe. As you can probably tell, the German Shepherd was used in Germany and Dutch Shepherd in Netherlands. During this time, both dogs were mainly used by farmers for herding their livestock, but they were highly valued for their versatility, as they could also protect the livestock from dangerous predators and they were trained to protect the farm as well.
And since both have similar past and utilization, their temperaments are very similar as well. Both the German and Dutch Shepherds exhibit independence, alertness, confidence, loyalty, and intelligence. They can serve as energetic and dedicated family companions, adaptable to living with other dogs, pets, or children. However, as with any dog breed, supervision is crucial when they interact with young children. Subtle differences exist in their temperaments. Generally, the Dutch Shepherd is slightly more active and independent. On the other hand, the German Shepherd tends to be a bit reserved with strangers, more protective, and somewhat easier to train. Despite these nuances, the temperaments of both breeds remain largely identical.
As you can probably expect from hard working dog breeds, both of them need plenty and plenty of physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Again, the Dutch Shepherd is little bit more hyperactive than the GSD, but both dogs require daily longer walks, some playtime and fun training sessions and they will always be ready for a longer outdoor hike as well. These dogs are always ready for any kind of adventure.
Both dogs will love to live in homes with large yards where they can roam independently. But with enough exercise, they can live in apartment as well. Again, Dutch Shepherd is extremely active dog, but the activity level of German Shepherd is above average as well, so you need to count on that when considering either of these two breeds.
Grooming routines vary depending on coat type, but both short and long-coated varieties shed significantly, demanding regular brushing to minimize shedding and maintain coat health. Shedding peaks during shedding seasons. Apart from brushing, routine checks of their eyes, ears, nails, and teeth are essential for their overall well-being.
Last but not least lets compare the health. Comparatively, the Dutch Shepherd boasts better overall health than the German Shepherd. This might be attributed to its smaller population and less intense breeding practices. With smaller population, it is easier to uphold responsible breeding.
Both dogs can suffer from joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, they might have digestive problems, some eye problems, allergies or infections, but all these problems occur more commonly in German Shepherds.
The average lifespan of German Shepherd is somewhere around 11 years, while the average lifespan of Dutch Shepherd is around 12 or 13 years.
In conclusion, there is not much differences between these two breeds and if you are looking to add an active shepherd dog into your life, you will not make mistake with neither of these two dogs. But make sure that you are ready for active and strong dog that needs some kind of a job in their life.