Schapendoes, also known as the “Dutch Sheepdog”,
originated in Holland.
Although the Dutch Sheepdogs have been in existence for many
centuries, they are not well known. They did not attract the
attention of royalty but remained a dog of the common people;
therefore, they were rarely immortalized in art or literature.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
century, the Nederlandse Schapendoes were found everywhere in
the Netherlands where there was heath land and flocks of sheep.
The shepherds valued them for the tireless pleasure they took in
their work and for their intelligence.
past days, the flocks of Dutch sheep were taken care of by two
sorts of shepherd dogs. The larger of the two, the Dutch
Shepherd and the smaller hairier variety now know as the
Schapendoes. These two ‘landbreeds’ had complementary tasks with
the herd. The Dutch Shepherd was the herder, the dog which kept
the herd together when they had reached their destination. The
Schapendoes was the drover, its most important job to bring the
flock to its destination. Due to a lack of interest in the
native breed and the importation of English Border collies, the
Schapendoes dwindled into small numbers prior to the Second
P.M.C. Toepoel, breeder, all-round judge and publicist
discussed the dog’s characteristics with others who were
interested in the breed and became the driving force behind
preserving the Schapendoes. He gathered a group of experts and
dedicated breeders that gave the breed a solid foundation during
its resurrection. Their cheerful temperaments, coupled with a
rough-and-tumble appeal, stirred interest in the Schapendoes.
Growth in numbers has been tempered with caution by wise
breeders. Even large kennels only keep four or five dogs with a
few pups, and waiting lists are long.
The breed club for the Nederlandse Schapendoes was founded
in the year 1947 and in 1952 the breed was provisionally
recognized by the Kennel Club in Holland. In 1954 the standard
was set up and a stud book started. The start of the seventies
included the closure of the breed registry. This meant that dogs
of unknown heritage could no longer be included in the breed
registry. The breed had progressed far enough to be able to
carry on using only dogs of certain ancestry. The breed was also
recognized internationally by the Federation Cynologique
International (FCI) in 1989, the mother organization of which the Dutch
Kennel Club is a member. Gradually throughout the seventies,
eighties and nineties, dog fanciers across Europe (including
Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, Finland,
Austria, Luxembourg and Italy) became aware and enthralled by
the Schapendoes and began introducing them to their own
The first Schapendoes in Canada, O’Fisban and O’Thasna,
arrived in Quebec from France in 1998, and their first litter
was born in 2000 at the kennel of Raymonde Briere. Since then
several other dogs have been imported to Canada from France,
Holland, Germany and most recently Sweden.
In November of 2005, the Canadian Kennel Club, fully recognized
the Schapendoes in the "Herding Group" under the name of the
"Dutch Sheepdog". As of March 1st 2006, our breed may now
participate in all of the CKC activities.