Schapendoes: Dog Breed Characteristics & Facts

Country of origin: Netherlands
Shoulder height: 40 – 50 cm
Weight: 14 – 25 kg
Age: 12 – 15 years
Colour: all colors
Use: working dog, sports dog, companion dog, the family dog

The Dutch Schapendoes is a medium-sized, long-haired herding dog that is gaining popularity as a family companion dog. However, the hard-working, spirited nature boy needs a lot of meaningful activity and is only suitable for active people who can spend enough time with their dog.

Origin and history

The Schapendoes ( pronounced: S-ch-apes) is a typical herding dog from the Dutch heathlands. The shepherds valued them for their tireless will to work, their tendency to work independently, and their intelligence. As a herding dog, the Schapendoes were a highly specialized workhorse for several centuries. In recent decades, it has become a popular and common family companion dog.


The Dutch Schapendoes is a medium-sized, slightly built, shaggy dog. Its body is slightly longer than it is high. It has dark, rather large eyes, a high set, well-haired lop ears, and a long, well-feathered tail.

The Schapendoe’s fur is a good 7 cm long, dense, and slightly wavy. The plentiful, fluffy undercoat makes the body appear more voluminous than it is. The head also appears larger and broader because of the luxuriant hair and the clear muzzle. All variants are possible for the fur color.


The Schapendoes is an alert, persistent, intelligent dog that has work in its blood and needs to be kept busy accordingly. As a typical herding dog, he is extremely independent, courageous, and alert, just as lively but neither nervous nor aggressive. Schapendoes are very attached to their people and need close family contact. Therefore, they are also ideal family dogs – provided you can offer them a meaningful, varied occupation.

As a workaholic among herding dogs, the Schapendoes need a lot of meaningful activity and sufficient exercise. It loves being outdoors – no matter what the weather. A few laps around the block or longer walks are not enough for the hard-working, spirited outdoorsman. It has to be challenged physically and mentally every day. All forms of dog sports, such as agility, flyball, dog dancing or popular sports are suitable as meaningful activities. The Schapendoes can also be used as rescue dogs. It does not like to hunt independently, so with good training, you can safely let it run free.

The Schapendoes can be trained well with empathetic consistency and appreciates clear leadership. You will not be able to do anything with an intelligent and sensitive dog with excessive hardness or severity. You’re much more likely to get there with positive reinforcement.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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