To the swiftest does not belong the prize, not while gaiting in a show ring, and often not when hunting. Pointing dogs who weren’t particularly fast were a credit to Dutch hunters who sought game in smaller plots of land in Drenthe, one of the 12 Dutch provinces. Dense thicket and undergrowth made this vegetation ideal hiding spots for game, so methodical gun dogs were more apt to be successful in finding partridge, grouse, and pheasant. Enter the Drentsche Partridge Dog, once known as the Drentsche hunting dog, one of eight Dutch national dog breeds.
Today, the Drentsche isn’t as close working as it once was, but the dog still works within gun range, and further, if necessary. He can hunt all manner of upland game and waterfowl; keeping in touch with the hunter appears to be an innate quality in this loyal, intelligent, and sweet breed, making it a favorite among foot hunters and sportsman wanting to hunt at a leisurely pace. When approaching game, the dog’s point is as solid as a rock (and, some sources say, will rotate his tail when game was found). While on point, a Drentsche waits for the hunter to come near, and if this takes too long, the dog will look back for his master or mistress. After the shot, these dogs retrieve from both land and water, and the breed has a well earned reputation as an efficient finder of lost game who never gives up.
Author, Craig Koshyk, writes in his fabulous book, Point Dogs: The Continentals, that for field competition, some Drents are taught to range a bit further, around 100 meters on either side of the hunter. In tighter cover, they will shorten their range even more. Able to flush, point, retrieve, track and do water work, the Drent sounds like an ideal hunting dog.
That said, working-class Dutch farmers needed a dog that could do other things besides hunt, so they bred Patrijshonds that could come home from a day of hunting birds in the field, and switch gears to kill rodents at night, pull carts – and be a fine family companion.
There are believed to be about 5,000 dogs registered in breed club books.