Although occasionally somewhat willful by nature, Stabyhouns are obedient, gentle, and patient dogs, who are deeply fond of their family, wanting to please their owners. He is both a soft-mouthed retriever and a pointer that is particularly useful for hunting ducks and upland birds. He is a fine retriever, and water work is one of his fortes. He is very sharp-eyed, owns a good sense of smell and aptitude, and works fast and efficiently. The Stabyhoun’s independent nature was a deliberately bred characteristic by farmers who wanted a dog that could hunt independently for moles and rabbits.
That propensity we still see today, therefore, you cannot be upset if he looks for prey independently and, for example, digs in the garden. With proper guidance, a Staby is a gentle dog and a great friend for life. Stabys are also very inquisitive. Always pay attention to what a Stabyhoun is up to because with their inquisitive nature, they can quickly get into trouble. If you think your Staby will sit quietly if something happens, you will often be disappointed. Although Stabys make a lot of noise when something is wrong or to alert his owner, they generally expect the owner to further investigate before they accept that things are normal. Most Stabys will need to verify that there are no “surprises” in store before calming down again. This breed is a functional and powerfully-built pointing dog that originated in the Netherlands. The majority of Stabyhouns are black and white. The brown and white coloring is seen in the Netherlands, but the orange and white Stabyhoun is nearly extinct.
The Staby’s build is such that it is greater in length than in height and similarly, the head shows more length than width. The feathering on his chest, collar, forelegs, trousers and tail gives the Staby the impression of being longhaired, but the coat is not excessively long. The Stabyhoun is considered to be an “all-around” dog, with abilities in hunting, retrieving, and pointing. They are also ideal family dogs because of their size and affectionate character.
Native to the Netherlands, the Stabyhoun is related to the Drentsche Patrijshond and Heidewachtel. He probably owes his name to his versatility; the word Stabyhoun is derived from the words sta mij bij or “stand by me,” while houn is the Frisian word for dog and is pronounced “hoon.”
The Stabyhoun that we know today shows definite similarities to dogs that were depicted in paintings from the 17th century. For example, those by the well-known Dutch artist Jan Steen. The Stabyhoun originated in the Frisian forest area of the Netherlands along with another breed, the Wetterhoun. In the early 20th century, Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun were regularly crossbred with each other, thereby, the unique varieties of each were threatened to be lost. In 1938, a group of enthusiastic people of the Kynologenclub Friesland started purifying the two breeds again and, in 1942, both breeds were officially recognized. Important names in this process were: J. Bos, T. van Dijk, B. de Graaf and W. Hoeksema. The first standard was dated February 10, 1944. In 1947, the Dutch Association for Staby and Wetterhounen (NVSW) was established with the mission to represent the interests of the Frisian breeds.
The first recorded Stabyhoun litter born in the United States was in 1994. As of 2017, the population of the Stabyhoun is more than 7,000 dogs worldwide. His popularity has grown across much of Europe and North America, including Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the US and the UK, in addition to his native Netherlands.
Temperament: Intelligent / Loving / Responsive
Height: 19-21 inches
Weight: 40-60 pounds
Life expectancy: 13-15 years
Foundation Stock Group
The Stabyhoun is, despite its small population, fortunately, a relatively healthy breed. The ASA and the NVSW do everything possible to keep it that way. Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosus, and cerebral dysfunction. The ASA’s breeding program is aimed to reduce these occurrences as much as possible, though it is not easy, as the causes are not always clear or strictly hereditary.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Cerebral Dysfunction Test for a dog with carrier
A Stabyhoun’s grooming needs are almost nonexistent. Unless he is neutered, any necessary hair trimming can be done yourself. A neutered dog also comes with what is called a “castrated coat” where the undercoat is exploding and may require a bit more grooming. Otherwise, the medium-length coat of the Stabyhoun is self-cleaning, meaning dirt falls off by itself when the coat is dry. One brush through it to remove the last remnants of sand and he is clean again. This also means that he only rarely gets a bath. Even if he really is very dirty, just a rinse or a swim in a clean pool is usually sufficient. Shampoo is only required if he has been rolling in something smelly; then, use a special, neutral dog shampoo so as not to strip his skin oils.
Daily exercise is necessary for the mental and physical health of your Staby. They do not require more than a good daily hour of exercise. Afterward, they are then content to sleep and rest quietly during the day. What is perhaps even more important is that a Staby needs a mental challenge. Stabys need to have a function in daily life, and preference should be given to something that offers variety. Agility, hunting, scent training, and lure coursing can all be productive and stimulating to your Staby. A busy dog is a perfect dog.
Stabys are self-motivated and quick learners. The reason for this lies mainly in the fact that the Staby had to work independently to destroy pests, so it was handy to have a real “thinker.” That suited the breed well at a time when there were few outside influences and hardly any traffic. With positive and gentle training, the Staby is quick to learn and wants to please. Too much pressure is never a good idea, while a good coach is important. The Staby likes a job, but his family must provide a fair and consistent approach to his training, which is very important for a peaceful, happy and diverse education. A tough approach is useless with the Staby. He will completely cease working and no longer voluntarily perform his duties.
The Stabyhoun should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.