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Spotlight – Schapendoes

Val Cairney January 20, 2023 94

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Hi everyone, and thank you for joining me on this spotlight episode of Val Talk’s Pets.  In this spotlight, I am going to take you through a breed I bet not everyone has heard of, and that is the Schapendoes.  

A Schapendoes is actually a shaggy sheepdog originating in Holland and they are super cute.  Obviously as a sheepdog, the Schapendoes is a herding dog and was used as a general farm dog.  The Shapendoes were very versatile, lending themselves to whatever work was needed.  


As many of our older breeds, the Schapendoes also faced near extinction during World War II.  Luckily a few survived and these few survivors are the ones that the modern breed descends from.  Now that is pretty cool, because breed integrity is quite an issue and having the descendants known really adds to the uniqueness of the breed.  In Holland the breed was first recognized in 1952 and breed standards were written in 1954.  Once the breed was exported to North America, it was recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club.  And interestingly the AKC listed the Schapendoes as part of their Foundation Stock Service.  The Foundation Stock Service according to is an “optional breed registry service the club provides for new purebred dog breeds that have been introduced to the US and are yet to be recognized by the ACK.”

So what does a Schapendoes look like?  When we think of sheepdogs we often think of the Old English sheepdog or Australian sheepdog so size varies.  A Schapendoes is actually a medium sized dog.  Females can weigh up to 44 pounds and males 55 pounds.  They have thick long hair, small flopped ears and a moustache and beard.  Colour for their coats can be any colour.  

As for health concerns, well nothing has really been documented.  But, as always a good breeder will make sure the sire and dame have all health clearances.  In terms of temperament, Schapendoes are clever, fun and brave and have a strong desire to please.  When it comes to grooming a Schapendoes, the basic rules apply.  Occasional bath, nail trimming, ear cleaning, teeth brushing and brushing and combing of the coat.  So easy peasy.  


The one thing however about Schapendoes is that they need a lot of exercise.  Now that makes sense considering they are sheepdogs.  They also like activities that challenge them, so indoor games and puzzles are a good idea and they apparently like to swim and are great hiking companions.  All this sporty energy makes the Schapendoes a good candidate for agility or maybe even fly ball.  

Overall a Schapendoes is a good natured dog that can exhibit herding instincts, so the cat or small children may find themselves being rounded up. If you are not keen on this behaviour it should be discouraged as soon as it is exhibited.   They are not a barky dog and generally get along with other dogs well.  

Well there you have it.  What a great dog that probably many may not have heard of.   It is always nice to find that there are some great family friendly dogs that have great bloodlines.  If that is a breed that interests you, well in an upcoming episode I will have a surprise to shed some real direct light on this amazing breed.  In the meantime keep up the research because as I say, knowing is caring. 

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Val Cairney

Hi everyone, and welcome to Val Talk’s Pets, the forum for pet parents and enthusiasts alike. So, I have been working in the pet industry now for almost 10 years and, on a daily basis, I handle a lot of issues and questions arising from pet parents. I am not a veterinarian but I do have certifications in Canine, Feline, Small Animal, Fish and Herptile and Avian Health and Nutrition from the University of California, Davis Extension, the Vet College.

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