556743_10200317430886060_821118617_nIt is not for nothing its name translates to ‘Stand by Me’. The Stabyhoun is a loving, loyal and devoted companion with a temperament that means they most often live in contented harmony at the centre of the family alongside children and other household pets.

Defined as spaniel-type pointer by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the Friese Stabij as it is known in its native Netherlands is classed as a gun dog. About the size of a small Labrador or Springer Spaniel but with a somewhat calmer temperament and thoughtful approach, it is a rare breed of dog but one that is increasingly winning the affection of hunters and families across Northern Europe and North America. Most Stabyhoun are black and white although some carry the genes for brown and white.

Originally, the Stabyhoun was bred as an all-round farm dog with a knack for catching moles. It was small enough to fit on the back of a bicycle and thereby join professional mole catchers in the field as they made their way to farms and estates across the region. The breed has an exceptional hearing and keen sense of smell which makes it an accomplished hunter, pointer and retriever alongside breeds such as the Weimaraner, Hungarian Vizsla and German Pointer. It is not, however, the bravest of dogs and, if required to work, early socialisation and training is an absolute must.

The Stabyhoun is a medium-sized dog. Bitches stand at around 49cm tall and males reach around 55cm – typically weighing between 18-25kg. However, because breeding has been focused on health rather than purely on looks, the breed does show some variety in size. If you have a particular preference, do your research before putting your name on the waiting list for a puppy. Of course, this is a very rare breed and simply being given the opportunity to own one is enough for most people.

Uniquely for any pedigree dog, the world’s entire Stabyhoun population is registered centrally by the Dutch Stabyhoun Association (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stabij- en Wetterhounen) with breeding being closely monitored and managed. Owners and breed enthusiasts happily subscribe to this approach as it operates in the best interests of these wonderful dogs. It helps to keep in-breeding at an absolute minimum with a co-ancestry coefficient often below 1%.

With a global population of around 5,000 Stabyhoun, you probably won’t find one of these dogs in your local park. Outside the Netherlands, populations exist in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, England and North America. Each of these countries has its own association dedicated to promoting and protecting the integrity of the breed. They operate a network of cross-country communication and meet every few years in Holland to share their knowledge and experiences. Matings are coordinated and puppies are sold via a central waiting list in each country, so this is usually a good place to start when looking for a Stabyhoun puppy. And then of course, be prepared to wait a little!

Overall, the Stabyhoun is a healthy dog – a testament to how carefully they have been bred over the past few decades. Pairings are made and approved according to strict regulations and only after a series of assessments and health tests have been carried out.

If you are now convinced that the Stabyhoun is the breed for you, the next step is to arrange to meet one. No article or picture can replace seeing and engaging with a dog in real life. Most Stabyhoun associations will be able to facilitate an introduction for you and, of course, answer any questions you might have. When you have done your research and if, by then, the Stabyhoun still seems the perfect dog for your family, your local Stabyhoun association can help you find the perfect puppy

For more information visit www.stabyhounUK.com