I’ve been watching with some amusement the banter regarding whether or not our Dutch Shepherds are considered “purebred" dogs. This is MY take on this issue.
Our Dutch Shepherds come from dogs that are considered Dutch Shepherds by true working enthusiasts. The dichotomy between show bred and working bred dogs does NOT only occur here in the U.S. You will find snobbery, jealousy, and poor sports in every country, including the European Union. When I looked into the Dutch Shepherds, I was delighted to see that they were still being primarily bred according to working ethics, and have NOT been ruined (like the current American style German Shepherd) by some flighty, insecure show breeders in their parent country, Holland. Now, one or two Americans have jumped on the band wagon of some of these “show” breeders, and have brought some of their “finest” show lines into this country, whose only claim to fame is that they can trace their dog’s lineage back through 60 years of NHSB (Nederlands Honden Stamboek) registered dogs. Well, just as when royalty only bred to each other, these so called “show” dogs have disintegrated into facsimiles of what a Dutch Shepherd was meant to be; a strong, willing, athletic dog that is capable of doing a LOT of things... not just run around a show ring!
ROM-XX USJCH UAGII URO3 CH Cher Car's It's My Perogative BTr CSAU CGC (2008 UKC Top Ten) is a three time winner of the Michigan K9 Challenge Protection Dog Tournament (2011, 2012, 2013)
ROM-XX AN UCD UAG1 URO3 UGG GRCH Cher Car's Snap Decision BH CSAU CGC (UKC TOP 10-2008, 2010, 2012) was the first Dutch Shepherd in the world titled in the four UKC venues of obedience, rally, agility and conformation.
You will hear of folks speaking poorly of our stock, especially if there is a fawn colored dog in the background. Some question the veracity of the United Kennel Club. I find this appalling. Of the two major dog registries in this country, the United Kennel Club is the only one that VALUES WORKING DOGS. It is not surprising that they accept the pedigree of a working club like the K.N.P.V. of Holland. The U.K.C. doesn’t question the parent club of origin, since that club has been doing it for a VERY LONG TIME. In the K.N.P.V. program, the dog is bred because he/she deserves to carry on. Color is last, if even considered, by most. The Dutch will call the fawn with black mask a “Malinois” but it is in color only. They record the color and titles of dogs as a breeding tool to carry on multiple, important traits. Once we decide to focus on only ONE aspect of a dog, and let the rest slide, you will quickly lose temperament, working ability, and finally, health. If the dog MUST have a certain color to show in conformation, so be it. But the fact remains that you will get other colors in many breeds that may be recessive. In the German Shepherd Dog, sable is the foundation color… but folks have chosen the saddle pattern so long, that it has taken the forefront. Is the black and tan shepherd NOT purebred because of his color? What if I want to breed a black German Shepherd to a sable German Shepherd? Are they no longer “purebred”?
Three colors from the same Dutch Shepherd litter; fawn, black and blue.
Basically, we are at the same cross roads that the Belgian Shepherd was in the 1960’s and 70’s. The Belgian Shepherd existed in Europe as four varieties, the long coated black (Groenendael), the long coated fawn (Tervuren), rough coated fawn (Lakenois) and short coated fawn (Malinois).
We Americans, in our infinite wisdom, decided to take this breed and form four UNIQUE breeds, thus closing the breeding that would naturally occur between all these varieties. What has happened to these breeds? The only one that still works, in general, is the Malinois, because he wasn’t pretty! The Groenendael is so small headed he couldn’t bite anything bigger than a hotdog, the Tervuren has lost its mind and gained severe epilepsy, the Lakenois is a heavy coated dead head. I proudly say that only in the U.K.C. are these four breeds judged together, as they were meant to be.
ROM-XX BIMBS CH Cher Cars Roja Caliente was the first Dutch Shepherd awarded BEST IN MULTIBREED SHOW and her daughter has been awareded multiple BEST IN SHOW wins too!
This is not a new problem. It’s too bad, but whenever somebody starts to attack others, it’s a form of insecurity. I do not question a program, or breeding formula that originated and is still in use today, in a country that is very well known for healthy, strong, trainable, social dogs.
Perhaps down the road, say, in twenty or thirty years, we can start to close up the stud books to dogs that are ‘CONFORMING” to some imaginary standard, but until we have mastered breeding for soundness, trainability and sociability, we cannot afford to narrow the gene pool to long coated freaks, whose only claim to working ability is that they “live on a sheep farm”.
I have personally interacted with some of these so called “pure” Dutch Shepherds, including the one pictured above left. At our first Dutch Shepherd specialty, we gathered together all the dogs that were at the show for a celebratory photo. Our Dutch Shepherds were shoulder to shoulder, obeying commands, dealing with the other dogs, other people, and general chaos. The only dogs that could NOT be trusted were the self proclaimed superior “pure" Dutch Shepherds owned by the elitists who were lashing out at the other dogs, shying from the other handlers, and generally not being good representatives of the breed.
This is why it’s important to me to value, support, and promote a dog that has it all… good temperament, social with other dogs, and capable. I would say that if you are looking for a fine boned, jackal headed, dog aggressive, fearful shadow of what a dog could really be, check out one of those autocratic “pure” breeders. You will have the pleasure of owning a caricature of a dog. If you only want window dressing, if you don’t want to DO something with your dog, other than prance around a show ring, by all means get a long coated, dog aggressive pretender. If you want a dog that is the healthy, outgoing and social jack-of-all-trades, check ours out.