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The Dutch Smoushond is a small purebred terrier type from the Netherlands bred to be a ratter on farms and also used in stables. Today it is more often kept as a companion and other names it is known under include the Dutch Ratter, Hollandse Smoushond and Dutch Terrier. It has a life span of 12 to 15 years and while easy to look after and train is also a frequent barker so think carefully before having it in an apartment setting with close neighbors all around. It is a rare breed and is very unlikely to be found outside of its country of origin.
|The Dutch Smoushond at a Glance|
|Other names||Hollandse Smoushond, Dutch Ratter, Dutch Terrier|
|Average weight||20 to 24 pounds|
|Average height||14 to 17 inches|
|Life span||12 to 15 years|
|Coat type||Long, rugged, coarse, wiry|
|Color||Any shade of yellow|
|Popularity||Not a registered member of the AKC|
|Tolerance to heat||Average|
|Tolerance to cold||Very good but nothing extreme|
|Shedding||Light to average – will be some hair around the home|
|Drooling||Moderate – not especially prone to slobber or drool|
|Obesity||Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised|
|Grooming/brushing||Moderate to frequent – brush at least twice a week|
|Barking||Frequent – it barks a lot, training will be needed to stop it on command|
|Exercise needs||Moderate to high – needs fairly active owners|
|Trainability||Easy – requires someone that can maintain alpha status though|
|Friendliness||Very good with socialization|
|Good first dog||Very good as long as you prepared to do some homework|
|Good family pet||Very good to excellent with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Good to very good – requires socialization|
|Good with other pets||Moderate to good – requires socialization and introduction at an early age, not good with small rodent pets|
|Good with strangers||Moderate – needs socialization and is wary|
|Good apartment dog||Good – size is good so as long as it gets enough time outside each day it can live in an apartment but the barking will be an issue if not controlled|
|Handles alone time well||Low – suffers from severe separation anxiety if left alone to long and often|
|Health issues||Quite a healthy dog, a few issues include skeletal and eye problems|
|Medical expenses||$435 a year for basic health care and pet insurance|
|Food expenses||$75 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$460 a year for grooming, basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items|
|Average annual expenses||$970 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$700|
|Rescue organizations||None breed specific, check local shelters and rescues|
|Biting Statistics||None reported|
The Dutch Smoushond’s Beginnings
The Dutch Smoushond does not have exactly clear origins though it is thought by some to be related to the German Schnauzer. It has been around for hundreds of years for a long time kept as a vermin hunter on farms and in stables. There is an origin tale that is most likely not much more than a myth that says hundreds of years ago when Germans favored black or salt and pepper Schnauzers, yellow ones were usually euthanized. A Dutch merchant though started to buy them and took them to Amsterdam where the yellow/orange coat would be prized as orange was the royal color. He told the Dutch the puppies were unique and valuable and they loved them.
However it was developed not much care was given to the look of the dog, it was wanted for its ability. The Dutch word Smouzen is where the name Smoushond comes from, and it means Jewish Man. This comes from its long beard and curly hair that resembles the Hasidic and Orthodox male Jew. In the late 1800s the nobility noticed it and it became a popular gentleman’s companion. The Hollandse Smoushond Club was formed in 1905 but around this time more breeds were being imported into the country. This competition meant its popularity was lessened somewhat though it still retained good numbers.
In 1940 the Netherlands were invaded and occupied by the German Nazis. This devastated dog breeding in general not just the Dutch Smoushond. By then most of the dogs were in cities rather than farms and these were places most badly affected by the occupying Germans. Breeding stopped, existing dogs were killed, abandoned or died from starvation or illness. By the end of the war the population was extremely low and the breed was facing extinction. In fact there is a debate about the breed at this point. Some say there were a few numbers left, enough to revive them, and some say it was extinct and had to be revived.
New Lease on Life
Then at the start of the 1970s a Mrs Barkman took a particular interest in the breed and decided to restore it. She collected dogs of mixed breeding and different purebreds to create a dog that resembled the Dutch Smoushond and had other dog fanciers and breeders help her. There are mixed opinions about whether a small number of actual Dutch Smoushond were included, and whether the modern breed just looks like the older version or whether it is an actual recreation or even a restoration. A large gene pool was used to give the new or restored Dutch Smoushond a healthier start. What dogs were used is not entirely known for sure but in there are the Poodle, Griffin, Schnauzer and Border Terrier.
By 1977 the Dutch Kennel Club re-entered the dog into its registry (even though technically it did not have right pedigree) and then 20 years later the FCI recognized it too. But it is very rare still even in its home country though its numbers are seen as being stable at the moment. Breeders there though are less willing to sell their dogs outside of the Netherlands as they do not want the country to lose any dogs with numbers being so low. They are not established in the US though there may be a small few there, and while the UKC has recognized it the AKC has not.
The Dog You See Today
The Smoushond is a small dog weighing 20 to 24 pounds and standing 14 to 17 inches tall. There is little difference between the two sexes. The body is squared in shape as it is the same height as it is length. It is a sturdy dog but is not too stocky. The tail is short and is held upright usually, it should never curl or be docked. Its double coat is tousled looking, short, dense, coarse and straight. On the head it is wiry but the tail is bushy. Its color is yellow though there can be different shades of that.
Its skull is domed and the head is short and broad with a slightly rounded forehead. The muzzle is about half the length of the skull, in some it is wide and remains so most of the way, in some it tapers more. Its nose is black and wide and the ears are small, thin, triangular shaped and hang down. The eyes are large, round and dark colored.
The Inner Dutch Smoushond
The Dutch Smoushond is aloof and wary with strangers so while it is friendly with those it knows it will be reserved with strangers until it is more sure. It is alert and quite sensitive to changes in smell, sounds and movements and will bark to let you know if there is a stranger approaching or if there is an intruder. It will probably need to be told to stop barking in fact, this is a frequent barking breed. While it can be a good watchdog, it is not a good guard dog as it is not an aggressive breed. When it is young it tends to be more shy and defensive so socialization is needed to address this.
With its family it can form very strong bonds, it is loyal and affectionate and gentle and wants to be around them. This means it does not like to be left alone for long periods and in fact can suffer from separation anxiety. It will also likely follow you around the home wanting to be close to you. It is a smart dog and can be very charming too. It can be quiet and serious when people it does not know well are around but with its family it is more outgoing, loving and playful. It likes to explore as it can be curious and some have quite the sense of humor.
Living with a Dutch Smoushond
What will training look like?
The Dutch Smoushond is actually one of the more pleasant types of terrier there are when it comes to training. It is eager to please, smart, tends to obey commands well and is therefore considered fairly easy to train. It does have an independent side but that does not make it as difficult as with other terriers. Basic obedience training should go fairly quickly and they can easily also undertake more advanced training. It is important though to approach it so that it will respond well, it needs a firm and clear leader, one that is consistent and patient, and it needs positive methods of training, anything scolding or harsh will not go well. As well as doing early training (and make sure that covers a command to stop barking) also make sure its socialization is done well and starts early. Introduce it to different places, sounds, situations, people and animals so it knows the appropriate responses.
How active is the Dutch Smoushond?
While the Smoushond may be small it is quite energetic and will still have some demands in terms of how much physical exercise it needs and how much mental stimulation it needs too. Expect to spend at least 45 minutes a day if not more giving it two walks a day along with play sessions. If it does not get the exercise it needs it can become restless, destructive and hard to live with. It is small enough to live in an apartment if it gets enough time outside, but its frequent barking could cause issues with neighbors if you cannot control it.
Caring for the Dutch Smoushond
This dog does need some commitment when it comes to taking care of its coat as though the brushing is infrequent the combing with a wide tooth comb needs to be done regularly to keep it tangle free. It also needs regular trips to a professional groomer where it can be plucked two or three times a year. The only real trimming it will need is between the toes and in the ears. It sheds a light to average amount so some hair may be around the home but not a great deal. Give it a bath only if it really needs one as too often can damage its natural oils as can using a people shampoo rather than a canine one.
Other needs will include brushing its teeth two to three times a week with a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Check its ears once a week for signs of infection and then give them a clean using a dog ear cleanser or damp cloth but do not insert anything actually into the ears, that can cause damage and pain. Then its nails need to be trimmed when they get too long, taking care not to cut too far down into the quick of the nail where the blood vessels and nerves are, as that will cause pain and bleeding.
The Dutch Smoushond will need to eat about 1¼ to 2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. The amount can vary because it depends on the size of the dog, its level of activity, its age, health and metabolism rate. It should also have access to regularly freshened water.
How is the Dutch Smoushond with children and other animals?
With good socialization and raising this dog is very good with children and is a great family dog. It will play with them, be affectionate and loving towards them and form close bonds. Younger children though should be supervised as they can tease and pull at dogs and this one may snap back if it gets hurt. Teach the children how to touch and play in a kind way. If raised alongside other pets and other dogs it will get along fine with them, if not there may be some issues.
What Might Go Wrong?
The life span of this dog is 12 to 15 years and there are some issues to be aware of including eye problems, hip dysplasia, patella luxation, arthritis and difficulty whelping.
When looking at reports of dogs attacking people that have caused bodily harm in the US and Canada over the last 35 years there is no mention of the Dutch Smoushond. It is though so rare outside of its home country that it is not likely to in reports like that for that area. This is not an aggressive dog though, and responsible owners who give their dogs good socialization, training, attention and exercise should find their dog is less likely to get drawn into anything unpleasant.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
The Dutch Smoushond puppy will cost about $700 from a decent breeder, and more from a top show breeder, and since it is mostly only in the Netherlands and breeders do not want them leaving the country you may find it hard to get one, have to pay more for transportation, and will certainly pay more from top breeders. Avoid bad breeders like puppy mills, backyard breeders and dodgy pet stores. Another option open to you if a purebred Smoushond proves beyond your efforts is to look at local shelters and rescues and adopt a dog. It will cost about $50 to $400 and these dogs may not for the most part be purebred, but they can make wonderful friends and companions.
There are also initial costs like items it will need and health concerns to be dealt with as soon as you have your dog home. Items includes things like a crate, carrier, bowls, collar and leash and such for about $120. Then health needs like shots, a physical check over, blood tests, spaying or neutering, chipping and deworming come to about $260.
Then there are the ongoing costs of pet ownership. Basic health needs like flea and tick prevention, shots, check ups and pet insurance will cost about $435 a year. Miscellaneous costs like grooming, license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items will be about $460 a year. A good quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost at least another $75 a year. This gives an annual cost of about $970.
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The Dutch Smoushond is not a commonly found or even known breed outside of the Netherlands, and even there it is not in high numbers. If you want a small terrier type dog with a bit more friendly and eager to please nature this could be the one for you. It will need some professional grooming unless you learn how to pluck its coat yourself. It gets on well with children and other animals when it is raised with them, and early socialization is especially important with it so that it gets over a shyness they can have when young.
Featured Image Credit: joop snijder photography, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Dutch Smoushond’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Dutch Smoushond
- Living with a Dutch Smoushond
- Caring for the Dutch Smoushond
- How is the Dutch Smoushond with children and other animals?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag