The Schapendoes or the Dutch Schapendoes is not just a pretty face; he is a reliable and extremely protective working dog that will guard his flock with his life. Also known as the Dutch Sheepdog, the Schapendoes is slowly gaining popularity in the United States thanks to their cheerful temperament and affectionate disposition. Let us study this Dutch dog breed in detail.
Facts about Schapendoes
- The Schapendoes breed originated in the Netherlands where they are known by various names like the Dutch Beardie, the Dutch Sheep Poodle, or the Dutch Sheepdog. The breed has existed for nearly a hundred years but it still isn’t too well-known around the world.
- Physically, they are rather similar to the Beardie, Nizinny, and the Puli. They might have descended from the same stock as the Briard and the Bergamasco.
- Schapendoes was developed for its herding ability and was prized by the Dutch farmers especially in the late 19th and early 20th century.
- After World War II, the breed almost came close to extinction. Thankfully, a fancier prevented that from happening.
- The word Schapen is the Dutch word for Sheep. Plural of ‘Schapendoes’ is Schapendoezen.
- Schapendoezen often work behind or by the side of sheep. They even nudge the sheep while herding and sometimes use their voice to move sheep.
Schapendoezen are a large breed known for their lithe, agile, and athletic bodies covered by shaggy hair. Their height is in the range of 40-50 cm or 16-20 inches and their weight is between 26-44 lb or up to 40 kilos. Their square head is covered with a long topknot of hair that covers the eyes. They have well- rounded, firm and compact feet. The face is characterized by a full ‘mustache’ and beard. They have an alert and intelligent expression with a lively temperament. The tail is well-feathered. They have large, round, brown eyes and their ears are naturally drop and set high.
Schapendoes have a clumpy, wavy, and thick double coat. The outer coat is water-resistant and slightly wavy. While they undergo massive shedding twice a year, the thick coat keeps them warm in colder months; a necessity since they spend long hours outdoors. Any color with a bit of white is acceptable for show dogs, though blue-gray or black is preferred.
Where to find a Schapendoes
Contact the AKC or the dog club for the Schapendoes website. They will direct you to breeders on their lists. Some breeders also advertise in magazines and newspapers but it is best to go for reputed breeders through the word-of-mouth. This will increase your chances of finding non-commercial breeders who are more interested in the breed’s welfare. Once you have shortlisted a breeder or two, visit their kennels so you can personally meet the parents of your potential puppy. Most reputed and in-demand breeders tend to have long wait times for puppies. So be prepared to wait for several months, even up to a year, to bring your Schapendoes puppy home. The average cost of a Schapendoes is between 1000 USD and 1500 USD.
Schapendoes are known for their affectionate, obedient, faithful, loving, loyal, protective natures. They are extremely alert to their surroundings. These reliable dogs are very energetic and hence need an active owner who is willing to spend time exercising them every day.
While they are mostly very friendly and affectionate, some Schapendoes tend to be clingy. They get along well with other house pets and kids but may try to herd them, owing to their natural herding instincts.
Schapendoes are athletic dogs that do well at sporting events. They like to run and jump and do well in agility sports. Naturally, you must always keep your pet leashed while outdoors otherwise he won’t hesitate to jump over the fence and run away.
These intelligent dogs can be a bit stubborn and that can impact trainability. That is why they need an experienced owner who is firm and knows how to handle herding dogs. While they love to work, work, and work, at the end of the day, they are only too happy to rest and relax with their family by their sides.
Training your Schapendoes
A herding breed like the Schapendoes responds well to firm, consistent, and positive training. Of course, training differs greatly if you want your pet to be a working dog instead of a companion or house pet. For example, if you want your Schapendoes to herd sheep, there are things you will have to do while he is still a young puppy. As he plays fetch with the kids, teach him certain command words that you will use later on the stock.
For simple house training, you can start with crate training. Teach your Schapendoes that the crate is his den where he is expected to settle down for the night. This must go hand-in-hand with potty training. A puppy will usually not soil his sleeping quarters but you must make sure that you take your pet out to pee several times before settling down for the night.
Get your schapendoes to meet several people, kids, and dogs, while he is still in his puppyhood. Also, expose him to the doorbell and other loud sounds like those from the vacuum, blender, the TV, and so on. This will prevent potential issues in your pet. Early socialization is a must to prevent your dog from barking or jumping on people.
Schapendoezen are energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise. Walk or run with your pet twice a day for 30 minutes each. Of course, your Schapendoes will be the happiest when he is given some work. If not, you need to engage him with activities and games. A bored dog is an unhappy dog and your Schapendoes won’t hesitate to indulge in destructive behavior or unnecessary barking if not stimulated physically and mentally.
Schapendoezen need considerable grooming and they shed once, sometimes twice a year. During shedding season, you will find a lot of hair everywhere. So brush your pet’s coat and get him used to grooming from an early age. Schapendoezen are prone to eye and ear infections, so keep an eye out for these. Detecting issues early on can prevent complications down the road. Bathe your pet once a month and pay special attention to grooming during the hot, summer months.
Health concerns in Schapendoes
Schapendoes are prone to eye issues, especially progressive retinal atrophy. Since the breed is relatively unknown, there are not too many documented cases of any inherited disorders. That is why it is important to get your schapendoes puppy from a good breeder who will show you all initial health checks and medical records. The life span of schapendoes is about 13-14 years.