The Stabyhoun – An Unusual and Rare Breed.

These unusual dogs, originating in the Netherlands have been gaining a lot of interest in the UK lately; Holidays4Dogs sets out to find out more about this little known, but highly attractive rare breed of dog.

Elke with Christina Savage, President of the UK Stabyhoun Association. Picture by René Rigterink

Elke with Christina Savage, President of the UK Stabyhoun Association. Picture by René Rigterink

It wasn’t until the 2000’s when this medium sized black or white or brown and white beauty moved out of his homeland of Friesland in the Netherlands.  Before then, these dogs had been resident since the 1800’s and were generally owned by peasant farmers who needed a dog that was a good all rounder – a ratter, a guard dog or a hunter.  Because of the fact that the Stabyhoun was never renowned for any particular special task, this may account for his lack of popularity over time.

Their name translates to, ‘stand by me dog’ which is quite apt given the adaptability of these fine dogs who seem willing to participate in multiple roles.  It is quite possible that these dogs share ancestry with Munsterlanders, Spaniels and Pointers and indeed they share many of the same characteristics too, but enthusiasts of the breed insist this is a unique type of dog that generally tends to be less chaotic than their cousins.

Stabyhouns make excellent pets and are very much growing in popularity across Europe as well as South America.  They are a sensitive and relatively calm breed which makes them good family companions that get on well with other animals.

As a working dog they are possibly a little less confident and less intense in the field than traditional breeds such as Springer Spaniels. Although some people prefer these traits and they are a dog that needs building up rather than controlling – because of this they respond very well to reward based, positive training.

Mac - the first brown Stabyhoun born in the UK in 2015

Mac – the first brown Stabyhoun born in the UK in 2015

They are gradually showing up more in agility, obedience and heelwork to music competitions in the UK and there are still a few people who work their dogs as gundogs and blood trackers in Scandinavia and Europe.

In 2012 these lovely dogs were brought to the UK where the UK Stabyhoun association was formed in order to preserve this rare breed.  With only 6,000 Stabyhouns in the entire world they are one of the rarest dogs and the UK is the most recent ambassador of the breed, following Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and South America.  The Association in the UK works hard to promote and protect this versatile breed and collaborates with other recognized clubs across Northern Europe.

For some years the Stayhoun was crossed with the Wetterhoun, a breed traditionally used for hunting waterfowl and now another rare breed.  The crossing of the two breeds was stopped in 1942, but the influence of the Wetterhoun may well account for the Stabyhouns enthusiastic love of water.

These dogs make lovely family companions due to their deep loyalty to their family and by nature they are docile and obedient dogs, but like many breeds can have a stubborn streak.  Size wise they weigh approximately 45-55 lb, so they are a medium sized dog with a similar stature to a Labrador, although perhaps a littler longer in the leg.

They are a fairly healthy breed and breed clubs do not endorse any breeding that encourages changes to their appearance for the sake of aesthetic show points.  All puppies born in the UK, or those that are imported from the Netherlands, are pedigreed and registered with the Dutch Kennel Club.  All Stabyhouns are also registered on a database so that comprehensive records regarding health and conformation of the breed as a whole can be monitored.

Anyone interested in purchasing a puppy can expect to pay around a thousand pounds for a puppy and waiting times can vary.  The UK club recommends prospective purchasers get in touch to arrange to meet some of these dogs in the flesh.  If they are still keen to own a puppy, they can contact the club via the website and fill out a puppy application form, after which a member of the club will contact you to discuss the subject some more.  There are currently several litters due in the Autumn / Winter of this year (2016).

Photographs kindly contributed by Christina Savage of the UK Stabyhoun Association.

Featured image: Herryt – by Patty Berkenbosch. One of the UK’s own stud dogs.