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Schapendoes | Breed Info: Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

schapendoes on land

Height: 16 – 20 inches
Weight: 26 – 55 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Colors: Black, white, pied
Suitable for: Active families with plenty of space
Temperament: Loyal and loving, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets

The Schapendoes is a medium-sized sheepdog that is a close relative of the Old English Sheepdog, the Bearded Collie, the Old German Sheepdog, and other small “mountain-type” herding dogs. The breed is originally from the Netherlands and is thought to date as far as the 1870s, although they were only first recognized as an independent breed in 1952.

Schapendoes have long thick fur on their body, legs, tail, and face, and they are friendly, affectionate, and high-spirited dogs. While the breed can be found throughout North America and in some other parts of the world, they are mainly in the Netherlands.

Divider 1Schapendoes Puppies

Schapendoes Puppy_Vanitytheone_shutterstock
Credit: Vanitytheone, Shutterstock

Schapendoes are relatively rare outside of the Netherlands. While they are bred in both the United States and Canada, any prospective buyer will likely need to register their interest with a breeder and wait until there are puppies available.

As with all dog breeds, if you are interested in purchasing a Schapendoes puppy, we strongly recommend that you spend time researching the breed and that you meet your selected breeder and their dogs before agreeing to purchase a puppy from them. You will likely find that many reputable dog breeds will be reluctant to sell a puppy to an unknown owner until they have met them and assessed their suitability and ability to provide a safe and suitable home for a puppy.

2 Little-Known Facts About the Schapendoes

1. The breed almost became extinct during World War II

Many European working dog breeds suffered significant losses during World War II. This is due largely to the fact that much of the farming land in Western Europe was a battlefield. Many farmers and landowners were forced from their properties, and many had to leave their pets behind.

Following the war, the breed was saved thanks to a concerted effort by farmers and fanciers of the Schapendoes, who managed to breed enough dogs from the limited number remaining to revive the breed.

2. Aside from their long wavy coat, the Schapendoes’ tail is their most notable physical trait

The Schapendoes has quite a long tail that like its body, is covered in long and thick fur. Most notably, when the Schapendoes is at rest, their tail will hang low, but when they run, their tail flies straight out behind them.

schapendoes black
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Schapendoes 🧠

Schapendoes are known for their warm and friendly personalities. They get on well with people of all ages, they love children, and provided that they have been socialized, they will likely also get on with your other pets.

While not considered one of the smartest breeds, the Schapendoes is still an intelligent dog that is both able to think on their own and take direction well. They typically develop a close bond with their owners, and as they are always eager to please, they are a relatively easy breed to train.

Are Schapendoes Good for Families? 🏡

The Schapendoes is a great dog for a family. They are quite active and naturally curious dogs that love spending time with their owners. They are excellent with children, are not aggressive, and learn quickly.

However, Schapendoes need a home with a securely fenced yard and are not well suited to being left alone for long periods. These dogs need human company, and without it, you might find your dog becomes quite destructive, develops a digging habit, or becomes a nuisance barker.

Do Schapendoes Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Schapendoes will get along quite well with most other animals, provided that they are adequately socialized from a young age. However, some caution should be exercised around small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs, as being working dogs, Schapendoes have quite a strong prey drive and may chase after small animals.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Schapendoes

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Feeding your dog a healthy and nutritiously well-balanced diet is the single biggest thing that you can do to influence the long-term health and wellbeing of your pet.

schapendoes white
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

There are many options available when it comes to dog food, and it can be hard to choose a brand and type of food to give your pet. The best advice that we can give you here is to be guided, at least initially, by what your breeder tells you. If they have been feeding your puppy a particular brand and type of food, it is a good idea to continue feeding this dog food to your dog until at least a couple of months after your pet moves in. Moving to their forever home can be a stressful time for a puppy, and if they can get the food that they are used to, that is one less thing that will seem foreign to them at this important stage in their life.

Later, you can choose a different brand or type of food if you wish and slowly transition your pet to this.

While we don’t recommend any specific brand of food for your Schapendoes, we do suggest that you select a premium quality dry dog food that has been formulated for a medium-sized dog and that is age-specific. That is to say, while your pet is a puppy, they will benefit from dog food that has been formulated to provide everything that a growing dog needs, and as your dog gets older, you should transition to an adult dog food and then later in their life, to a food formulated for a senior dog.

Exercise 🐕

The Schapendoes is an energetic dog and will need a moderate amount of daily exercise. This should consist of at least one 40-minute walk each day and a moderate amount of playtime in the yard. If your dog is kept inside all day and doesn’t have a yard in which they can play, you may find that your local dog park is a great place to walk too. A well-socialized Schapendoes should have no problem mixing and playing with other dogs, and running around off-leash with other dogs will quickly become one of your dog’s favorite activities.

Schapendoes will pick up dog games quite quickly and will likely enjoy other activities, such as frisbee and agility training, both of which will exercise their mind and their bodies.

Training 🦮

Being intelligent working dogs, Schapendoes are relatively to train. We recommend that you should start training while your dog is young, and the best way to do this is to enroll in a local puppy school. The idea of puppy school is less about formal training and more of an opportunity to start socializing your new puppy by getting them used to being around other dogs and strange people.

As with socialization, it is also a good idea to start your puppy’s obedience training while they are young. However, it is important to remember that puppies, like children, have a noticeably short attention span, so you will need to keep these early training sessions short and quite simple. Ideally, you should aim to do a couple of short sessions each day, as a dog that gets constant training will pick things up much more quickly than one who only gets a formal half-hour session once a week with a trainer.

Remember that puppies are also quite sensitive, so it is particularly important to use positive reinforcement to reward your dog when they do well and not to admonish or scold your pet if they do something wrong.

Once your pet masters the basics, you may find that they will enjoy more advanced training, such as agility training. You may even want to consider getting your pet involved in competitive dogs sports, which can be a great way to spend time with your pet and for them to get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

Despite having a long coat, Schapendoes don’t need much grooming. For most of the year, a Schapendoes needs little more than a brush once a week and an odd bath here or there.

However, they are heavy shedding dogs, and as such, they will likely leave fur wherever they go throughout your home. As they are not hypoallergenic, this means they may not be a good dog for anybody who suffers from dog allergies. You should also be aware that they will molt seasonally, once or twice a year, and at those times, they will need almost daily brushing.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Schapendoes is quite a healthy breed and has little history of breed-specific health problems. Provided that you feed your pet a nutritious and well-balanced diet and ensure that they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, barring any unforeseen accidents, there is every chance that your Schapendoes will live a happy and healthy life well into old age.

As with all dogs, it is important to see your vet regularly for preventative check-ups and to keep up your dog’s vaccinations and parasite prevention medication. You should also ensure that your pet’s eyes and ears are kept clean because these can be easily overlooked as they are covered by long fur.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Divider 5Male vs. Female

When it comes to choosing a puppy, many people get quite hung up about whether they are better off getting a male or female dog. In our opinion, in the case of the Schapendoes, there is little difference in size and temperament between the sexes.

Therefore, unless you are planning on breeding from your pet or you have a particular preference for one sex or the other, you may be far better off choosing a puppy based on their energy level and personality. The best way to do this is to spend time with your chosen breeder and talk to them about what you are looking for in a dog. Based on your lifestyle, living arrangements, and desires, your breeder will be best placed to suggest a puppy that is most likely to grow and develop into a dog that suits your situation.

Divider 3Final Thoughts: Schapendoes

Though quite rare in the U.S., the Schapendoes is a great dog and one well suited to life as either a family pet or companion. They are relatively easy to raise and look after, and they respond well to training.

As such, they are a dog that could be well suited for a first-time dog owner. However, if you have no prior experience owning a dog, you may find it difficult to convince a breeder to sell you one unless you can show that you are committed and prepared to learn everything that you need to know.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Kobus-van-Leer, Pixabay

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