Stabyhoun, Ninke with Labradors Arnie, Rocky and Gracie

Stabyhoun, Ninke with Labradors Arnie, Rocky and Gracie

In October 2013, Claire Overvoorde from Waterlooville became the proud owner of a Stabyhoun puppy from the first UK litter. Here she gives us her take on the breed compared with the good old Labrador.

Our little bundle of black and white fun, Ninke joined our three Labradors Arnie, Rocky and Gracie, and our two boys, Joshua, five and Lucas, two.

Ninke has become a minor celebrity where we live. I overheard two ladies talking about the “lovely little black and white puppy that is an unusual breed from Holland” when I was in the shop last week. I’m already quite well known in these parts already as the ‘lady with the three Labs and two kids’ and am frequently asked how on earth we manage. I’m now the mad lady with four dogs!

When Ninke arrived home, my husband Steve and I were slightly apprehensive about how he would cope living with three big Labradors. We didn’t want to overwhelm him so we introduced them slowly.

The Labs, as always, took it in their stride and for the most part didn’t really take much notice of him. As the weeks have gone on, Ninke has formed strong friendships with Arnie and Gracie. Rocky is a funny one; he was a rescue at six months old and has always been afraid of his own shadow. He prefers to pretend that Ninke doesn’t exist, although he has got better over the weeks and isn’t quite so scared of him now.
Comparing my Stabyhoun to the Labradors, I have noticed some differences. For one thing, Ninke is incredibly cuddly. He will quite happily be cuddled all night if you let him. The Labs like a cuddle but after a few minutes they will get up and go and lie down somewhere else.

Secondly, the intelligence levels are completely different. Labradors are pretty clever dogs and very food-orientated, which makes them easy to train. However, Ninke is far more eager to work than the Labs ever were. He has taken to clicker training like a duck to water. I started clicker training a couple of years ago after finding a great trainer locally. This method encourages dogs to think for themselves and they are constantly rewarded for doing so.

The Labs, particularly Gracie my three-year-old yellow girl, really enjoyed clicker training and the speed at which they were able to learn increased. Ninke caught on to clicker training extremely quickly and our trainer said he is very intelligent, has lots of potential and can go far in the agility and obedience world. In one session, Ninke moved onto things which often takes two or three sessions to reach. The Labs, however, are content to go for a walk then snooze the day away either in the garden or various spots around the house. Ninke thrives on mental stimulation. He loves his Kong, playing fetch and training. He is definitely easier to train than the Labs were, simply because he has more drive to learn and use his brain. (Note: our Labs are from show-line stock so they obviously don’t have quite the same drive that a working line dog would have). However, he is a very calm and chilled out little pup. He doesn’t bounce off the walls like other highly intelligent breeds. I love the challenge of bringing my training skills up to a level that will do him proud.

We are definitely Stabyhoun converts. Not only is Ninke an intelligent little pup, he is a great member of the family; brilliant with the boys and loved by all who meet him. If I don’t walk him to school daily I get asked by adults and children alike where he is. I sing the Stabyhoun’s praises to everyone I meet and I can’t see us having anything else now.