Based on descriptions and studies of paintings owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam we now know that the Dutch spotted sheep originates back to around 1880. Generations of farmers and old documentation confirm that Dutch spotted sheep were kept in an area in the western part of the country; roughly in the area between the cities of Leiden,Utrecht and Rotterdam.
In medieval times these areas were more commonly peat bogs with huge lakes and swampy areas. During the 17th - 19th Centuries, farmers and authorities made low embankments (quays), which sat approximately 1 meter above the water level. Where possible a thin layer of clay was spread on top of the peat, then the water from surrounding lakes was pumped out using windmills, resulting in large swamp areas. After a few years, farmers started reclaiming (and developing) the newly obtained land. It was then necessary to make these embankments more robust against the water by covering them with grass. Under no circumstances trees were acceptable, as they could destroy the embankment in a storm and thus, the water would flow back!
Farmers needed a hardy breed of sheep to maintain the grass but more importantly also to eat any saplings. The sheep had to be able to walk long distances (due to the length of these connected embankments) and more importantly able to withstand the acidic PH level of the peat bogs.
The farmers selected breed of sheep responsible for this task was the original Dutch spotted sheep. While the Dutch spotted sheep were used on the reclaimed land, in later stages they also played an important part in transforming the peat bog into sod, which was strong enough to carry cows.
During the 1950’s farmers started making use of the specific qualities of the original Dutch spotted sheep and crossed them with other breeds, such as Texels and Zwartbles. Thus producing a sheep with greater profitability and benefits with the characteristics of the modern day DSS.
During the last 20 years DSS have not been crossed with any other breeds and are now classed as a pure sheep in their own right.