Schapendoes rose to great popularity in the Netherlands as sheep-herding dogs. However, outside of the Netherlands, they are not very well-known, and their numbers declined greatly during World War II, along with other European sheepdogs.
Even today, they are not as commonly found; although, they make excellent family dogs, especially for active families, and they show talent in obedience and agility training.
Also known as Nederlandse Schapendoes, these dogs are closely related to several other mountain dog breeds, including Bearded Collies, Pulis, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Bobtails, Briards, and Bergamascos. Although they are purebreds, you may find them in shelters. Remember, when you opt to adopt, you save two lives — the one you bring home and the one you make room for in their place!
These medium-sized dogs are very active and enjoy their herding job; however, they may try to apply that job to small children and other animals in the home. They are intelligent, courageous, and high-spirited, and they enjoy time outdoors. Although they can be independent thinkers, they love spending time with their families. While they are very friendly and loyal to their families, they are also alert — good watch dogs, but not aggressive. These dogs would be a good fit in many different types of households, as long as they are allowed enough time outdoors for exercise.
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog. And you can find an awesome crate for your dog here to give them a little more personal space in your apartment.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks. You can find a great jacket for your dog here!
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Herding DogsHeight:16 to 20 inchesWeight:26 to 55 poundsLife Span:12 to 15 years
More About This Breed
- Schapendoes have long, thick, shaggy coats that come in many colors, with the most common being white with gray or brown markings. Colors can include white, black, gray, silver, brown, red, apricot, and tan, or any combination of those colors.
- Schapendoes don’t shed very much. They should be brushed once or twice a week, with monthly baths.
- Schapendoes are very friendly, good-natured dogs, and they get along well with both children and other animals. However, since they are herding dogs, they may try to “herd” smaller children and animals.
- This is a fairly high-energy dog, so try to give your Schapendoes at least two half-hour- to hour-long walks per day. They’ll also benefit from engaging in dog sports to burn off some energy.
- Schapendoes are independent but easy to train. They’re known as loyal, playful, affectionate, and friendly companions.
Schapendoes originated in Holland as sheepdogs on farms several centuries ago. The exact timing is ambiguous, but they were certainly very popular in the country by the late 19th century.
Along with other European herding dogs, they worked long hours in cold, wet weather, so their long coats were important to keep them warm.
Though native to the Netherlands, their popularity began to decline as farmers chose to import Border Collies instead. Their population dwindled during World War II, like that of many European sheepdogs. But luckily, in 1947, P.M.C. Toepoel, a Dutch inspector, encouraged the breeding of this dog, and a breed club was established soon after. This ensured the survival of the breed, though numbers remain small worldwide, with the greatest population still in the Netherlands, followed by other European countries, Canada, and the USA.
In 1952, the ‘Raad van Beheer’, or Dutch Kennel Club, recognized the breed, and in 1971, so did the FCI. The American Kennel Club currently recognizes the breed as part of their Foundation Stock Service.
Schapendoes can be medium-to-large dogs — their long, shaggy coats often make them look larger than they really are.
They measure 16 to 20 inches tall, and they can weigh 26 to 55 pounds. Males are typically larger than females.
Schapendoes are independent but easy to train. They’re known as loyal, playful, affectionate, and friendly companions.
These dogs are not overly bark-y, but they certainly prefer to have a job or task to do. Make sure to give your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Training, games, and even puzzle toys will help your Schapendoes stay active. They tend to be quite playful and will appreciate playtime with you.
These dogs are also quite vigilant and make for good watch dogs, even though they are not prone to aggression.
Luckily, the Schapendoes is a very healthy breed with few, if any, documented health issues.
That said, all dogs can be prone to certain health conditions, such as arthritis, especially later in life. Keep up with regular vet visits to catch any illnesses early.
This is a fairly high-energy dog, so try to give your Schapendoes at least two half-hour- to hour-long walks per day. They’ll also benefit from engaging in dog sports to burn off some energy.
Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long — usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
Keep up with their oral health, too. You should brush their teeth daily. If your Schapendoes is not particularly fond of you brushing their teeth, you can ask your veterinarian for some tips on how to brush their teeth properly.
An ideal Schapendoes diet should be formulated for a medium-to-large breed with high energy. Some Schapendoes can encounter weight issues, so it’s important to measure their food, keep an eye on their nutrition, and allow ample exercise.
As with all dogs, Schapendoes’ dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your dog’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs — including weight, energy, and health — to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
Schapendoes have long, thick, shaggy coats that even cover their eyes and ears. They are double-coated. They come in many colors, with the most common being white with gray or brown markings. Colors can include white, black, gray, silver, brown, red, apricot, and tan, or any combination of those colors, including wide stripes or patches. However, for showing, the preference is for blue-gray to black.
Surprisingly, for as long and shaggy as their coats are, Schapendoes don’t shed very much. They should be brushed once or twice a week, with monthly baths.
Schapendoes were bred for cold, wet, weather, which they still tolerate well. They tolerate heat decently, but their thick coats can cause them to overheat if outside too long in hot weather. Be sure to provide water and bring them inside if they show signs of discomfort.
Children And Other Pets
Schapendoes are very friendly, good-natured dogs, and they get along well with both children and other animals. However, since they are herding dogs, they may try to “herd” smaller children and other animals.
Although these dogs are on the larger size and used to interaction, it’s important to teach children how to interact properly with dogs, to treat them gently and not pull or bite — and, of course, to teach your dog the same. As with all animals, interaction with children should be supervised, no matter how gentle the animal or child. Early training and socialization will bring out the best in Schapendoes.
Schapendoes do tend to get along well with other pets, even exhibiting a protective nature over them. They do not tend to be aggressive.
Rescues specifically for Schapendoes dogs might be hard to come by, as this is an uncommon breed. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all kinds of dogs. You can take a look at the following:
- Wright-Way Rescue
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue