You might be forgiven for never having heard of the Dutch Schapendoes, as it's not a very common breed. In fact, during World War II it almost died out completely, but a careful breeding programme saved the day and the Schapendoes is now becoming an increasingly popular breed to own. With a somewhat mixed lineage that includes the Old English Sheepdog and the Bearded Collie, the Schapendoes is a mid-sized breed, originally bred as a sheepdog and known for its agility and superb jumping prowess.

Physical characteristics

The Schapendoes' average height is around 50cm (20 inches), although bitches are generally a little smaller at about 45cms (18 inches). Weight is usually about 20kgs (44lbs). It is a lightly built breed, allowing for its purpose as a herding dog, and it should demonstrate and easy springy gait. Its skull is almost flat, with the bridge of the nose placed slightly below the skull line and with a well-defined muzzle. The eyes should be brown and the whites should only be seen when the dog is looking sideways. Its body is slightly elongated, with a refined air to its overall demeanour, as well as a deep chest and powerful hindquarters. The tail, which is used as a...

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