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Dutch Smoushond Temperament: Lively, Energetic, Sensitive

If you enjoy small dogs that love to be near their humans, you may want to look into the Dutch Smoushond temperament.

The Dutch Smoushond, also known as the Dutch Terrier, is a wonderful companion with a lively and friendly disposition. He is everything a small-dog lover could ask for with only two drawbacks.

This breed barks to alert or simply when he’s bored. He also cannot be left alone for long periods of time or he can become anxious and hyperactive.

If these don’t sound like deal breakers to you, then read on!

Dutch Smoushond Temperament and Personality


The Dutch Smoushond is not as intelligent as some dogs. However, he is easy to train, and he’s smart enough to know how to play you! He needs firm but gentle guidance.


This dog is a little charmer. He is happy and full of life when he’s comfortable with his people. Some owners say he has a sense of humor.


Of all the facets of Dutch Smoushond temperament, high energy may be the most defining. He needs moderate exercise, at least 45 minutes a day.


The Dutch Smoushond temperament is very affectionate; some would say overly so.

This breed is one that the phrase “Velcro dog” was coined for. If that suits you, he makes an ideal companion dog.


Another defining trait of the Dutch Smoushond temperament is intense loyalty. He forms very strong bonds to his people.

Eager to Please

The Dutch Smoushond temperament includes a natural obedience. He wants to make you happy.


This breed needs constant interaction with his owner. If he is left alone too long, you will likely see some unwanted Dutch Smoushond behaviors.

He will bark and may destroy things. He is also prone to separation anxiety. If it happens often, he is likely to become nervous and generally anxious.

This breed will not do well in a home where no one is home during the day.


Dutch Smoushond temperament is quite adaptable. This breed used to live in stables and hunt vermin. He now lives mostly as a companion and will be happy on a farm or in an apartment, as long as he gets regular exercise.


The Smoushond needs a gentle hand in training. He gets his feelings hurt easily.


The Dutch Smoushond temperament is very friendly to family members. He often bonds very closely with children. He can be playful with them and tolerant to a point.

Smoushonds also tend to get along well with other dogs.


The Dutch Smoushond is suspicious of strangers and will bark long and loud when one comes near. He is a good watchdog.

He is not aggressive, though, and is too shy with strangers to be a good guard dog.


This breed barks—quite a lot. It’s part of the Dutch Smoushond temperament that you may need to work on. If you have close neighbors, he will need to be taught early to bark only when necessary.

Prey Drive

He retains some of his instinctive drive to hunt rodents. He is good with cats, but smaller mammals in the household may need protection from him.

Dutch Smoushond History

No one is certain about the origins of the Smoushond, or Dutch Terrier. Many believe that he is at least partially related to the Schnauzer.

Some think he is remotely related to many German dogs, including the Doberman Pinscher, the Rottweiler, the Brussels Griffon, and the German Shepherd Dog.

Dog historians are also unsure of how far back the Dutch Smoushond’s roots go. There is general agreement that the breed was common for centuries in the Netherlands and what is now Germany.

As well as vermin hunters, Dutch Smoushonds were also livestock drovers, cart-pullers, and guard dogs.

But in the late 19th century, members of the aristocracy discovered the Smoushond. For a while, it was all the rage to own one as a “gentleman’s companion.” His role changed into that of a household pet, and the Smoushond adapted.

Over time as foreign breeds were brought into the area, the Dutch Smoushond lost popularity and became scarce. In 1905, the Hollandse Smoushond Club (or Smoushondenclub) was established to preserve the breed and protect the Dutch Smoushond temperament.

However, like many European breeds, by the end of World War II the Dutch Smoushond was near extinction. Some believe they actually were extinct. They remained scarce or nonexistent until the 1970s.

At that time, a Mrs. H.M. Barkman used selective breeding to re-create the Dutch Smoushond as a breed. Several breeds and cross-breeds were used to eventually “re-create” the Dutch Smoushond.

In 2001, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the breed. The United Kennel Club (UKC) is the only club in English-speaking countries that has done so.

Dutch Smoushond Training

Training the Dutch Smoushond is slightly challenging. They are smart enough to learn nearly anything, but it may take more time and effort than with other breeds.

Because of the Dutch Smoushond trait of sensitivity, they need gentle, patient training. Pushing them too hard or too fast could leave you with an anxious, high-strung dog.

Training done lovingly will strengthen your bond with your Smoushond.

Gentleness needs to be balanced with firmness and consistency, though. This is not really a dominant breed, but they will take charge if their owner does not.

Dutch Smoushond Appearance

General Appearance

The Dutch Smoushond is a small dog whose coat is usually described as straw yellow (but he can be any of several yellow shades). His coat is waterproof, coarse, and wiry with a shaggy appearance.

He has a short, broad, domed head with a strong forehead and fairly long muzzle and strong jaws. The triangular drop ears are set high. His face is distinctive with long, straight eyebrows, mustache, and beard.

He has bright, dark eyes with black lids, and black nose and lips. His neck is short and muscular.

The legs are strong and muscular with small feet that are rounded and similar to a cat’s.

His bushy tail is fairly short and hangs straight down.

Dutch Smoushond Size

The Smoushond is a small dog. Weight averages 20 to 22 pounds. Dutch Smoushond height is 14 to 16-1/2 inches. There is no size difference between males and females.

Dutch Smoushond Facts

Dutch Smoushond Lifespan

The life expectancy of the Dutch Smoushond is 12 to 15 years.

Other Names

You may also hear this breed referred to as Hollandse Smoushond, Dutch Ratter, Dutch Terrier, or simply Dutchie.

Interesting Legend (or is it a legend?)

Because the Dutch Smoushond’s origin is unknown, the Dutch like to speculate about it. One often-told story is that Germans who bred the Schnauzer preferred solid black or salt-and-pepper puppies.

But occasionally a yellow pup would be born and would be euthanized. Legend has it that a man named Abraas started buying these yellow puppies. He called them Heerenstalhonden (stable dogs) and sold them in Amsterdam for a high price.

There is no documentation of this, but many people believe that it’s true.

Dutch Smoushond Health Issues

The re-created Dutch Smoushond breed is still new, and there aren’t many in existence. Because of this, there is not much documentation on the health of the breed.

So far, it appears that in general, the Smoushond is quite healthy. There is a fairly long list, though, of health conditions that are rare or occur at lower-than-average rates.

This list includes:

  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Cataracts
  • Lens luxation
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Difficulty giving birth, requiring Caesarian sections

Because there is still a limited gene pool for the Dutch Smoushond, responsible breeders monitor health issues carefully.

These breeders are diligent about selectively breeding to eliminate many of these conditions from the Smoushond genetic history.

They recommend having puppies screened for musculoskeletal issues (such as dysplasia) by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). They should also be tested by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) for vision problems.

This screening is especially important for anyone who is planning to breed their Smoushond. 

Caring for the Dutch Smoushond

Dutch Smoushond Grooming

The Dutch Smoushond breed standard specifies that this dog maintain its rough, shaggy coat. If you choose to do that, you should brush him only rarely.

Instead, he needs his coat combed often with a wide-toothed comb to prevent matting. He needs to be trimmed only in his ears and the pads between his toes.

He also needs his coat hand-stripped two to three times a year. Videos are available on YouTube demonstrating how this is done. However, most owners choose to have a groomer do it.

The Smoushond is an average shedder.

Like all dogs, he needs his ears checked and cleaned frequently and his nails clipped. His teeth need to be brushed regularly as well.

Dutch Smoushond Diet

The Dutch Smoushond has no breed-specific dietary needs. He should do well on any high-quality food.

Dutch Smoushond Exercise

This breed has a high exercise need compared to other breeds of its size. But compared to larger high-energy breeds, it’s fairly moderate.

However, the Dutch Smoushond temperament may change if he doesn’t get enough. He needs a good long walk or jog every day.

As long as he is well exercised, he is likely to be relaxed and calm indoors. Although he would enjoy a yard to run and play in, he will adapt to apartment or city living with that daily walk.

Without that exercise, he may get bored or restless. Then you may see some negative Dutch Smoushond behaviors. He may become hyperactive, nervous, and destructive. He may bark excessively and have housetraining accidents.

Most Dutch Smoushonds also love to swim, and this would be ideal exercise for him.

Finding a Dutch Smoushond

Buying a Dutch Smoushond from a Breeder

Unfortunately, finding a Dutch Smoushond for sale will be difficult. There simply aren’t many of them, and most of them are in the Netherlands. However, it is not impossible.

The best way to find one would be to look for online forums and Facebook user groups for Dutch Smoushond owners. These groups exist for nearly every breed.

They are a great source of information about how to find a Smoushond and what it’s like to live with one.

You could also try contacting the Hollandse Smoushond Club in their native Netherlands. They have both a web site and a Facebook group.

They are written in Dutch, but Google Translate does a pretty good job translating to English. You may be able to get information on breeders from them.

If you have your heart set on a Dutch Smoushond, you may need to ask about importing one.

Buyer Beware

Assuming you are fortunate enough to find a breeder online, you will want to investigate that breeder carefully. Be sure you have a trustworthy recommendation from a source such as a Smoushond owner’s group like those noted above.

You will want to be sure you are buying your Dutch Smoushond puppy from a reputable breeder. Rare dogs are moneymakers for puppy mills and so-called backyard breeders.

You are unlikely to find good-quality, healthy Dutch Smoushond puppies from those sources. Worse, the dogs are often raised in horrible conditions. Females are bred nearly to death, and neither puppies nor parents get medical care.

You will get a health guarantee from a responsible breeder and lifetime support. You will get no guarantees from a puppy mill.

Dutch Smoushond Rescue/Adoption

Again, with such a rare breed, it will be difficult to find a Dutch Smoushond for adoption at either a rescue or a shelter. But it is possible.

You could try online sites such as puppyfinder.com and

At the time of this writing, there is one Dutch Smoushond mix available for adoption in the US. That indicates that the breed does have a presence in North America.

Dutch Smoushond breeders continue their efforts to restore the breed. Over time, they will become more widely available.

Is the Dutch Smoushond the Right Breed for You?

The Dutch Smoushond really is a sweetheart of a breed. If his barking and need for attention aren’t major concerns, then the Dutch Smoushond could be a great fit for you.

It will take time and patience to find one. But the charming and lovable Dutch Smoushond temperament will make him well worth the wait.