The Schafpudel is one of the oldest German working dog breeds that exist and belongs to the family of the shepherd dogs. The origins date back to the early Middle Ages and the breed was used by shepherds in the east and north of Germany to herd sheep. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall the Schafpudel was still often used in the former East Germany, but after the Wall came down the cultural landscape of Germany changed and the culture of the roaming sheep herds disappeared. And with that also the need to have good ‘shepherd dogs’. As a result, this beautiful dog breed came close to extinction and doesn’t enjoy national or international recognition. That this breed mainly served as a working dog for the shepherds and wasn’t really bred has certainly contributed to this; they were simply selected for their qualities – willingness to work, health, vitality and a very good character. Being beautiful didn’t count in that selection. In Germany, the breed has been on the ‘red list’ of pet breeds threatened with extinction for some time now. In the Netherlands the breed is not (yet) registered with the Dutch “Raad van Beheer”: there are only a few dozen specimens in the Netherlands and that population is (still) too small.
The Schafpudel is a medium-sized, light-built dog. Males usually have a shoulder height between 50-60cm and females 45-55cm; they weigh about 16-25 kg. They are well muscled dogs with a long-haired, waving, dense coat with an undercoat – usually white to cinnamon. They have a long, slightly curved tail and run smoothly with spacious steps.
Like with the labradoodles, it is said that the Schafpudel also does not induce allergies. But unfortunately that is a myth: such dogs do not exist. They do spread less allergenic because they have a continuously growing coat, and therefore they spread fewer skin flakes; and these flakes cause the allergic reactions. But Schafpudels lose less hair, that is true: in principle they only have to be combed once a week. Albeit that this is a bit of a job, you will gain a lot of time because you do not have to vacuum as often as with dogs that have a normal coat.
The breed is blessed with a very friendly and cheerful, gentle character. It is a very intelligent and human-oriented breed and is (now) a real family dog that prefers to be with the group all the time.
The combination of build and character makes the breed extremely suitable for all kinds of sportive activities: dog sport, horseback riding, jogging or cycling. But it is also increasingly used in health care, as an assistance dog, or as a ‘colleague’ in coaching. Likewise by me. Because of their sensitivity and alertness, they immediately return what they experience, and in this way they can ‘mirror’ well: they let you look at yourself.
Other words that fit the Schafpudel are: adaptability, consciousness, modest, clever with almost human intelligence, concentrated attentiveness, and enthusiasm.
Source including the book “Der Schafpudel” by Mechthild Jennissen-Tibbe
for more information or purchasing the book, go to www.schafpudel.de