Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: What Are The Differences?

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Updated: July 12, 2022
© iStock.com/Aleksandr Zotov
Share this post on:
Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

German Shepherds are among the most common, well-recognized dogs in the United States. You likely know someone who has one! On the other hand, Dutch Shepherds are rare in the U.S. and are mostly bred in the Netherlands. These breeds are similar in body shape, temperament, and trainability. Both bred for herding, they’re brilliant, loyal dogs that can take on a range of jobs—but they must have something to occupy their minds and bodies!

Learn more about these awesome breeds below and see what sets them apart!

Comparing Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd

German Shepherds have more appearance variation.

©A-Z-Animals.com

24,362 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?
Dutch ShepherdGerman Shepherd
Size21-25 inches, 42-75 pounds22-26 inches, 50-90 pounds
FurShort, long, or rough fur in the colors silver brindle and gold brindleMedium-length fur in the colors black, cream, red, silver, tan, blue, grey, liver, sable, white, bi-color, or a combination of these
Lifespan11-14 years10-13 years
PopularityLesser-known in the United StatesCommon
Country of OriginNetherlandsGermany
Price$1500+$450+

6 Key Differences Between the Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd

The main differences between a German and Dutch Shepherd are their size, coat, lifespan, popularity, country of origin, and price. German Shepherds are larger with shorter lifespans, a wide variety of coat colors, and immense popularity, which leads to most breeders charging less for puppies.

The most significant difference between the Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd is their commonality. German Shepherds are known and beloved pets in the United States, while Dutch Shepherds are rarer.

We’ll dive into all of these further below, so keep reading!

Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Size

taste of the wild sierra mountain
German Shepherds are larger than Dutch Shepherds.

©Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock.com

German Shepherds are typically larger than Dutch Shepherds, though female German Shepherds are closer to the Dutch Shepherd’s size. Maxing out at 26 inches and 90 pounds, German Shepherds also tend to be stockier in appearance. They likely have a stronger bite force as well, though it hasn’t yet been studied.

Dutch Shepherds grow up to 25 inches tall and weigh up to 75 pounds, so they’re not tiny dogs. Their smaller size may make them faster than German Shepherds, however.

Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Fur

Aside from size, these dogs’ coats are the fastest way to tell them apart. German Shepherds always have a medium-length double coat that varies in color, with all of the following included in the breed standard:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Black and red
  • Black and silver
  • Liver
  • Black and cream
  • Grey
  • Black and tan
  • Sable
  • White
  • Bi-color

Despite their thick coats, they’re still quite easy to groom. Brush them once every few days to remove loose fur. During shedding season, they’ll need to be brushed daily.

Dutch Shepherds, on the other hand, can have short, long, or rough coats. Each fur texture comes with its own grooming requirements, from occasional brushing to more frequent combing. Rough coats must be hand-stripped every six months.

The only colors accepted by the AKC breed standard are gold brindle and silver brindle.

Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Lifespan

Overall, the Dutch Shepherd is better bred than the German Shepherd, and it shows. While German Shepherds live just 10-13 years—quite short compared to breeds of similar size—Dutch Shepherds live a more average 11-14 years.

American breeding standards are often lacking, leading to poor health in our dogs. A great example of this is the German Shepherd. These dogs are often bred with a back that slopes downwards. Although this is detrimental to their joint and bone health, it’s encouraged in show lines and by the American Kennel Club.

This can be avoided if you adopt a dog bred from a working line rather than a show line. Other medical conditions common to German Shepherds include degenerative myelopathy and bloat (GDV).

While the Dutch Shepherd is relatively healthy, the breed does have its own problems, such as thyroid issues in long-haired dogs and Goniodysplasia in rough-haired dogs.

Both can and should be screened for by your breeder. Never purchase a puppy from someone who doesn’t health screen their dogs.

Lastly, Dutch Shepherds are sensitive to anesthesia. Your veterinarian should know this before any surgery and have experience operating on similar breeds.

Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Popularity

dog food for German shepherds
You can commonly find German Shepherds in animal shelters.

©Barat Roland/Shutterstock.com

German Shepherds are incredibly popular, beloved dogs in the United States. This comes with several benefits, including:

  • You can easily adopt a German Shepherd from a shelter or rescue.
  • Breeders sell puppies at lower prices—but you still must ensure you’re shopping with a reputable breeder, not a backyard breeder or puppy mill!
  • It’s easy to learn about the breed and we have a lot of scientific information available.

It also comes with drawbacks. Since these dogs are widely-bred, there are more irresponsible breeders out there, causing poor health.

Dutch Shepherds are rarely bred in the United States, which comes with several benefits for the dogs. Most notably, they tend to be healthier and live longer than German Shepherds. They do, however, cost more when shopping with a breeder—and are less likely to be found in shelters or rescues.

While this may be disappointing to potential owners, it’s great for the dogs as they’re more likely to be in loving homes than in crowded shelter or rescue environments.

Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Country of Origin

Dutch shepherd walking in field
Dutch Shepherds are mostly bred in the Netherlands and are rare to find in the United States.

©iStock.com/Tamara Harding

Both breeds were originally bred to work on farms, herding and guarding livestock. They’re used today in various lines of work including policing, military work, search and rescue, and guide dogs. However, they originated in different places. The Dutch Shepherd comes from the Netherlands as an all-around farm dog, tending to animals and children and guarding farms.

German Shepherds were first bred in Germany for herding livestock. They’re now incredibly popular in the United States, while Dutch Shepherds are still primarily bred in their home country.

Dutch Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Price

The German Shepherd is so common that there’s a plethora up for adoption at any given time. This is the best way to bring one into your family, with the next best being purchasing a puppy from a well-bred working line.

Either way, you’re likely to pay less than you would for a Dutch Shepherd. These dogs are rare in the United States, so finding a breeder may also be more difficult. You’re likely to pay $1,500 or more.

Rescue dogs typically cost under $500, while a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder will likely cost $450-$1,000.

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

The Featured Image

dutch shepherd
© iStock.com/Aleksandr Zotov

Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm an animal writer of four years with a primary focus on educational pet content. I want our furry, feathery, and scaley friends to receive the best care possible! In my free time, I'm usually outdoors gardening or spending time with my nine rescue pets.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.