Ultimately, my goal is a dog that I myself think fits the description of a good Dutch Shepherd – a dog that I myself want to live and train with. A good Dutch Shepherd for me is a motivated, social, durable and agile dog, a dog with well-developed drives and excellent trainability. A dog that is able to be trained to succeed in nearly any sport, but simultaneously is stable enough to be environmentally safe and undemanding at home without the need of excessive training. Especially skills in safe social interaction and the ability to calm down at home are very important traits for me.
The quality of a breed population is constantly changing, and the type molded by fashion or genetic drift isn’t necessarily always what the breed “should be”. For me it is very important to be able to see past the club politics at any given point in time and respect the origin of the Dutch herding dog as a hardy, adaptable breed with a heart of a real working dog. I’m not reaching for extreme traits, but for a dog that is mentally strong, balanced and suitable for sport, and on top of that able to live a full healthy life as a faithful companion of their family.
Because genetic diversity is pretty much the most important thing for population health, all my litters have a clear mixed background (e.g. through inter-variety crosses and open stud books). Even if increased diversity will not magically produce only dogs with perfect health and character, it not only reduces countless health risks, but opens doors for more effective selection and keeps the options for the future of the breed much brighter going forward as well. A part of upholding the future of the breed past my time as a breeder is avoiding popular sires and otherwise overused families, and the attempt to create equally good fresh pedigree structures for the future.
When it comes to outward appearance, something I’m always keeping in mind is that an active dog needs a healthy structure to feel well both inside and out. Structures disadvantageous to a constantly moving working dog are most seen in bloodlines where workability isn’t guiding selection anymore: show winner and healthy structure aren’t automatically the same thing.