HerrytAlthough the odd adult Stabyhoun may have found itself on English soil over the years, a concerted effort to introduce these magnificent dogs to the UK officially began in 2012 when Christina Savage and Janice Vittachi launched the UK Stabyhoun Association.

Through careful import and a strictly managed breeding program, these wonderful dogs are now beginning to make their mark.

Click here to see a full list of the Stabyhoun currently living in the UK.

History of the Stabyhoun

Described as a ‘national treasure’ in its native Netherlands, the Stabij is becoming increasingly popular as a loyal, calm and intelligent family dog. With a total of 6,000 dogs in the entire world, populations exist in the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, America and most recently in the UK.

In 1942, the Stabyhoun was officially recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club together with another dog from the same region in Friesland, the Wetterhoun. On April 26, 1947 the Dutch Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun Association (NVSW) was established with the goal to protect the interests of these two remarkable Frisian breeds.

The UK Stabyhoun Association today works closely with the NVSW as one of several recognised clubs across Northern Europe and North America whose joint mission it is to protect and promote this rare but wonderful breed for the future. The NVSW plays a vital role in keeping detailed records of all Stabyhoun, past and present, so that owners can benefit from their advice in breeding and raising happy, healthy and beautiful dogs. In fact, the original Dutch Stabyhoun Association holds the records of more than 13,000 Stabijhoun! Therefore, future breeding plans of the Stabyhoun in the UK will naturally be by advice and with support from the NVSW. If you can ever spare the time to visit Holland we strongly recommend a trip which coincides with the big annual Clubmatch (usually in April). At this dedicated Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun show, puppies, mums, dads and future breeding pairs are evaluated by some of the most experienced judges and handlers – and you can enjoy the biggest Stabyhoun gathering you’ll ever see!

Yvonne Wiktelius's dog Reuben shows how gentle the Stabij is with other animals

Yvonne Wiktelius’s dog Reuben shows how gentle the Stabij is with other animals

What’s in a name

The Stabyhoun probably owes its name to its versatility. The word ‘Staby’ could be derived from the Dutch words ‘sta me bij’ (‘stand by me’). Houn is the word for dog in the language of the Friesian region.

A Stabij is truly a dog that enjoys activity; whether that is play, a good walk in the woods, obedience training, agility and even field work. This is not, however, a breed of dog that is as easy to train as, for example, a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. Although the Stabyhoun belongs in FCI Group 7 along with the Pointers and Setters, this is not your typical UK gun dog. It was bred with a particular skill for mole catching which was a lucrative business back in those days. The Stabyhoun is also a good swimmer that handles cold water well.

Since the dog used to be owned by farmers who were in general poor it was very welcome to have an all-rounder, because often only one dog could be afforded. The dog also had to be tolerant toward livestock on the farm, friendly with the children and protective about the premises, without being vicious or snappy.

Stabyhoun: a gentle and loyal family dog

This dog is a wonderful pet to have around the house and is just perfect for life in a spot near the beach, lakes, waterways and parks. While it makes a good watchdog it is friendly and amiable. By their nature, the Stabyhoun is obedient, peaceful, kind and patient – deeply fond of their family and eager to please. It does, however, have a stubborn side too!

Stabyhoun charachteristics

Its looks have not changed much although in earlier days the breed was often mixed with the Wetterhoun, because only working capacities were counted. In 1942, cross-breeding between the two stopped.

Today, the Stabyhoun is either black and white or brown and white with the latter being slightly rarer. Its average life expectancy is 13-14 years.

IMG_8951Males are around 53 cm and bitches 49 cm (19 to 23 inches), measured at the shoulder. The Stabyhoun usually weighs between 18-25 kg (45-55lb).

Their beautiful coat is long and sleek and with a natural fresh smell. As such they don’t need much grooming – the coat is practically self-cleaning!

Stabyhouns usually shed twice a year, and thorough brushing helps the dog to finish its moult in about two weeks. The coat by its nature will lose dirt extremely quickly. After a swim the dog is usually clean and dry in a couple of hours.

As a breed, the Stabyhoun is a healthy dog due to careful and managed breeding.