A northwest county in the Netherlands called Friesland seems to produce exceptional animals, and we point to the equine seen here, the Friesian horse, as an example. Canines have been no less remarkable. There are only two dog breeds native to this county, the Dutch Stabyhoun (stah BAY hoon) and the Wetterhoun (Vetter-hoon), both of which were officially recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1942.
We’ll talk about the Stabyhoun in another post, but for now, we discuss the dog described by the Dutch Wetterhound Club as, “A cautious Frysk with a heart of gold.” After nearly vanishing during World War II, the breed is regaining some of its numbers, but it remains a rare breed. That said, those who have discovered it have found a fabulous family dog that can still perform as a gun dog.
The Wetterhoun easily dates back some 500 years to a time when it was created to hunt small water birds and mammals in the lake district of its homeland. For generations, however, Friesian farmers have depended on these “yard dogs” to mitigate vermin, moles, and a small weasel-like critter known as the “pole cat” from outbuildings and crop fields. To its prey, the Wetterhound is fierce, snarling, and Darth Vadar scary. To its family, it’s the polar opposite: Affectionate, and yes, strong willed, but good natured. It’s not typically recommended for first time dog owners, but we’d like to hear from breed owners to verify this.
Image of Frisian horse by Larissa Allen – via commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6642407