The dutchies, belgians and germans have the same origin. All were herding/guard dogs for farmers around 1890.
At this point in history people started to divide the dogs on colour and hairlength to start a sort of kennelclub.
The brindle ones became dutchies (rough,long and shorthair), the yellow ones became malinois, the yellow (pepper and salt colour) roughair became laekenois, the longhairs were divided in black (groenedaler) and coloured (tervurenaars) ones. The ones with a coloured deck became GSD´s.
In the beginning there could easily be changed of race, when the "stamboek" were still open. The "stamboek" was closed some where in the1930´s (if im correct).
The origin (genepole) of all the shepherds are the same thus.
Till the ´70´s the pedigreed dutchie was very well suited for working tasks like IPO and KNPV. Then they decided to breed more on apearance then workingskills. In the present most of the pedigreed dutchies aren´t good enough for workingsports (except some of theb ones from working kennels...but that is a whole other story), but make good pets and agility/search/flyball dogs.
As you probably know there is also alot of non-pedigreed dogs in the working world. It isn´t considered necessary to have a pedigree, as long the workingskills are good. The origin of this thought is founden in the early 1900´s when people wanted a good dog, but haven´t had the money for the pedigree.
In Holland it is along tradition, and could be considered as a race of his own.
In this "race" the workingskills, the health and not the apearance counts. The base are the malinois, gsd and dutchies...and in the early years they had probably a pedigree. The base is interracial mixed and in some lines there is crossed in a great dane or pittbull...not many times only once or twice.
Nowadays there is a database were bloodlines can be seen and followed..some bloodlines are known as far as the 1940´s, but most go back to ´70´s and 80´s. More than enough to make a wellthinked breeding.
Indeed the colour is the dog..brindle=x ds, yellow/brown= x mh, with black deck= x GSD etc.
The x DS-x MH could have a lot of malinios characther and therefor is isnt weird people do believe x DS is just a xMH with a brindle colour.
If you take a look on the bloodlines of our dogs(example spike www.bloedlijnen.nl/stamboom.php?ID=3455
) the last 5 or more generations are xDS with a lot of inbreeding, therefor the characther can not be compared to a crossing like 90 % malinois and 10 % ds.
Hope that you understand a little know, hard to translate sometimes.