The Dutch shepherd is sometimes confused with their cousins the Belgian and German shepherds.
If you aren’t familiar with the Dutch, you may see one and think it’s a German shepherd, but something won’t seem quite right. They are all medium-sized dogs with muscular, powerful, and agile bodies.
The Dutch shepherd, however, can be either wire-haired, long or short-haired, in colors of brown, silver, gold, and some black thrown in, but always brindle.
Brindle pattern and often texture of the fur are two differences you can put your finger on.
Dutch shepherds make a great family dog, but do need socialization and training beginning as a puppy. They are loyal to their family but can be protective if they sense danger.
The “Hollandse Herder,” another name for the Dutch shepherd, was a staple on Dutch farms in Holland for centuries and today they also participate in competitions, work with the Royal Dutch Police, and as search and rescue dogs. They are a bit rare and sometimes hard to find too.
If you are considering adding a Dutch shepherd to your family, you may have been concerned that they have health problems as does the German shepherd.
The following post will be information on Dutch shepherd’s common health problems and Dutch shepherd’s health problems, causes, and symptoms.
For your dog’s vitamin supplement, foods, toys, or other dogs product please visit the Health Extension website.
Dutch Shepherd Common Health Problems
If your pup spends any time outdoors, fleas are out there waiting! Unfortunately, one flea can equal an infested pup with 1000 fleas in only three weeks! Don’t panic.
To prevent fleas, there are flea collars, topical flea drops, and a once-a-month flea medication in pill form, which all often keep ticks away as well.
Always check your Dutch shepherd if you’ve been outdoors, especially in wooded areas, for signs of fleas and also ticks. Signs of fleas are constant scratching and biting of the skin, hot spots ( itchy, red, raw spots), flea dirt (resembles black coffee grounds), and hair loss.
A flea infestation can lead to flea allergy dermatitis, infection, and even anemia from loss of blood. Fleas feed on your dog’s blood.
Flea infestations can be handled with flea shampoos or flea dips to rid your pup of fleas and soothe their skin.
Don’t forget to wash the pup’s bedding and treat your house with a flea bomb or enlist the services of an exterminator. Fleas also carry tapeworms, which is the next topic!
Even though puppies are wormed, dogs can still get worms on their travels, especially if they eat something gross on their morning walk! Various types of worms are roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.
All are treatable. Veterinarians usually have you bring a fecal sample for check-ups which is their way of looking for parasites. Symptoms can be:
- Appetite Change.
- Weight Loss.
- Dry Coat.
- Rubbing their bottom on the floor.
Your veterinarian will most likely use oral medication for the type of worms they have. When treating worms, there isn’t a one size fits all medication.
These are very common in dogs and more so in dogs with long floppy ears that get no circulation. Ear infections can be caused by: hair blocking the ear canal, yeast, bacteria, ear mites, and even allergies.
Symptoms are stinky ears, tilting or shaking of the head, seemingly off-balance, scratching, swollen outer ear, red inner ear, and discharge that is brown, green, yellow, or bloody.
If you suspect an ear infection, take your pup promptly to their veterinarian. Ignoring an ear infection can lead to total hearing loss.
If you’ve had a dog for years and they’ve never had a bout of diarrhea then that is highly unusual!
Diarrhea can have many causes, one being, eating something they shouldn’t, such as certain people’s food or something found on their daily walk.
Diarrhea can also be caused by food allergies, intestinal parasites, and parvovirus and can become severe from conditions or diseases.
Dogs can become dehydrated as well. If diarrhea is persistent or ongoing, doesn’t go away, or is accompanied by lethargy, fever, bloody stools, and vomiting, don’t hesitate to take your pup to the vet or an emergency animal clinic.
The same as diarrhea, vomiting is quite common in dogs and can also be caused by eating the wrong food.
It can be a sign of something more serious if it is ongoing, such as parasites, pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, or other conditions.
Poisoning is also a possibility as some people’s foods are highly poisonous if ingested by your Dutch shepherd.
Seek help if vomiting continues and is accompanied by lethargy, diarrhea, blood and they can’t hold anything down, even water.
To check your Dutch Shepherds’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet website for all the help you may need.
Dutch Shepherd Health Problems, Causes, and Symptoms
Dutch shepherds are a relatively healthy breed because they are on the rare side and haven’t been overbred like the famous German shepherd.
When dogs are overbred by disreputable breeders, this is when genetic problems crop up, some physically and some mentally. If these dogs continue to be bred, the conditions and diseases pass down through the generations.
This is not the case with the Dutch shepherd. Below are health problems that the Dutch shepherd can be prone to.
Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
Both elbow and hip dysplasia are genetic in nature and can be found in some Dutch shepherds but not to the extent they are found in the German shepherd and other large bones breeds.
Elbow dysplasia occurs in the elbow joint and hip dysplasia in the hip joint with both eventually causing crippling arthritis in joints.
Elbow dysplasia is caused by a malformation of the elbow joint and hip dysplasia occurs from having a deformed femur ball that does not fit into the hip socket properly. Symptoms of both are:
- Limping or Hopping.
- Favoring one leg.
- Difficulty standing or sitting and with stairs.
- Shows little interest in play or walks.
- Clicking or Grating Noise.
Both hip and elbow dysplasia can be diagnosed with an x-ray. Some dogs may not exhibit symptoms until they are older.
Treatments include physical therapy, water therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, oral steroids or steroid injections, and in severe cases surgery.
Make sure the breeder you use for your Dutch shepherd screens breeding dogs for both hip and elbow dysplasia in addition to keeping good records.
It has been found in the Netherlands that Dutch shepherds have a sensitivity to anesthesia.
If your Dutch shepherd requires surgery, discuss this with your veterinarian beforehand in the event that they aren’t aware of this. Administering a dose of half the anesthesia is recommended.
This disease can be genetically or environmentally caused. This occurs when your pup’s thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to regulate its metabolism. Symptoms are:
- Weight Gain.
- No Energy.
- Dry Skin.
- Dull Coat.
- Loss of Fur.
Controlling hypothyroidism will entail a daily pill of levothyroxine for life. Thyroid levels will be monitored and dosages may fluctuate.
This is a type of glaucoma where eye fluid does not drain properly and leads to eventual blindness. Symptoms are:
- Dilated Pupils.
- Red Eyes.
- Light sensitivity.
- Watery eyes.
- Vision loss.
If angiodysplasia is diagnosed early vision loss can be avoided. Treatments may be eye drops, laser therapy, or freezing tissue with Cyclocryotherapy.
Atopy is just a fancy name for canine allergies. Your Dutch shepherd can suffer from either environmental allergies or food allergies.
Symptoms of environmental allergies are sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and hot spots. Food allergy symptoms may be gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and/or diarrhea, skin rashes, itching, scratching, dry skin, loss of fur, and bald patches.
Medications may be prescribed for environmental allergies while a change in diet and soothing shampoos or medications can be used for skin issues.
Dutch shepherds are a wonderful breed worth adding to your family. As far as health issues go, they don’t have too many as compared with other breeds and are quite robust and energetic dogs.
Finding a Dutch shepherd may be a different matter. Breeders are often hard to come by and the cost can range from $1,200 to $2500.
You can always look to a rescue organization for a Dutch shepherd that just needs some time, patience, and a good home to be that new addition to your family.