The Remarkable Animals of Friesland

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.Wetterhoun,Dutch Stabyhoun,Dutch Spaniel

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

2 thoughts on “The Remarkable Animals of Friesland”

  1. The “Wetterhoun” is still succesfully trained as a gundog here in the Netherlands. Allthough the “Wetter” is few in numbers a small group of fans of the breed, is active with their dogs in fieldtrials. A friend of mine ownes “Frieske” a black Wetterhoun bitch of 9, who is active as a gundog. She may not be the fastest anymore, but she still is a very good retriever, who never gives up! The picture showes her at a training retrieving the dummy.

  2. This is wonderful, Elly, we very much appreciate the picture!! It’s good to know that the owners are still working with the breed as it was intended to do – and we’ll add this to the original post. Thank you!

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