AKC Dog Breeds: Schapendoes

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 16-20  inches  Weight: 25-35 pounds  
  Blue gray to black is preferred; variety of other colors and patterns

The Schapendoes, or Dutch Sheepdog, is a breed of dog originating in the Netherlands. They are related to the Bearded Collie, Polish Lowland, Puli, Briard and Bergamasco. The Schapendoes was originally a herding dog and general farm dog, but today also participates in dog sports such as agility and flyball. The Schapendoes were everywhere in the Netherlands during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but their numbers dwindled drastically when Border Collies were imported to take on the work of herding sheep. They were almost extinct by the mid-1940's.They have since steadily gained popularity in their homeland of the Netherlands as well as parts of Europe. Schapendoes remain an extremely rare breed in North America. The Schapendoes has a light build which enables this breed to be very agile. They are extremely alert, brave, intelligent, and are remarkable jumpers. This hard-working breed is able to withstand any type of weather. Schapendoes have only recently become recognized as a household pet. The breed was founded by P.M.C. Toepoel, during WWI. The breed club for Nederlandse Schapendoes was founded in 1947, and provisionally recognized by the Management Council in 1952. The breed standard was established and the Studbook started in 1954. The Schapendoes has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 2005.

General Appearance
The Schapendoes is a medium sized dog with long, thick fur on the body, legs, tail, and face. Their small ears hang down and are covered with long fur. The face has a moustache and beard. The coat is of any color. A Schapendoes is longer than it is tall, with medium length drop ears, a long tail, and long shaggy fur. They have a wide skull and short muzzle. They have large round eyes that are often covered in a brow of fur. The coat is slightly clumpy, thick and wavy. They have long feathering on the ears and tail as well. The Schapendoes has a self-cleaning double coat.

Schapendoes are very good family pets. They have a cheerful temperament, they are funny, clever and brave. They have a strong desire to please. The breed standard describes the Schapendoes as friendly, high spirited, and affectionate. He is not a guard dog or aggressively protective, and if properly socialized while young, would most likely make a good family dog, as well as a good dog for active sports. Having an astounding ability to jump make them excellent at agility and other dog sports. Lively and intelligent dogs must receive regular training and outings. The Schapendoes breed is very loyal, devoted, clever, and tireless. The Schapendoes possesses endurance and strength. They are very playful, and will play tirelessly with children. The Schapendoes are friendly, cheerful and intelligent. They are gentle, can be independent minded, and stubborn. Schapendoes are affectionate with friends and family, and not an aggressive breed.  They will become vocal when they perceive trouble or danger and make good watchdogs. They are free-thinking, independent, and lively. Temperament of individual dogs may vary. They can be a bit high-strung. They make a playful and affectionate companion and have been adored for their ruffled, unkempt look.

This breed sheds little to no hair. They have naturally shaggy and unkempt fur, but it does require brushing to remove tangles and mats. The fur can get rather matted when they are puppies, so frequent brushing should occur. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary using a mild shampoo to preserve the integrity of the coat. Daily cleansing of the face is recommended. The ears and paw pads should be checked often for debris. They have rather shaggy ears which can attract sticks and other debris. Nails and teeth should be checked periodically.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Schapendoes is a hardy breed, typically living between 12-16 years. Health issues can include Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Hip Dysplasia.  Before acquiring a puppy, make sure that sire and dam have all health clearances.

Activity Level
The best owner for this breed would be an active, dog-experienced owner living a rural or suburban home. The Schapendoes is not recommended for apartment or city living. Schapendoes are active dogs who need at least an hour long walk daily along with some other form of vigorous activity (running, herding, dog sports). They thrive if they have a job to do. Schapendoes do best in a rural setting and thrive on family interaction and being given a job to do.


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