All You Need to Know About the Wetterhoun Dog Breed

If you are looking for a unique and industrious dog breed, you might want to consider the Wetterhoun. This breed, which originated in the Netherlands, has long been prized for its abilities as both a hunter and a farmer’s helper. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history, physical characteristics, temperament, and health of the Wetterhoun dog breed.

History of the Wetterhoun Dog Breed

Like many breeds, the Wetterhoun’s exact origins are somewhat murky. However, most experts agree that the breed was developed in the Dutch province of Friesland, where they served as valuable workers on farms and as hunting dogs for bird and small game.

Origins in the Netherlands

The Wetterhoun’s name comes from the Frisian words “wetter” (water) and “houn” (dog), reflecting the breed’s reputation as a skilled swimmer and water retriever. Some sources suggest that the breed may be related to the Otterhound, another water-loving dog from northern Europe.

The Wetterhoun’s history in the Netherlands can be traced back to the 18th century, where they were prized for their ability to work in the harsh and wet conditions of Friesland. They were used for hunting a variety of game, from ducks to rabbits, and their webbed feet and waterproof coat made them excellent swimmers. In addition to hunting, they were also used for herding and guarding livestock on small farms.

The Wetterhoun’s Role in Hunting and Farming

The Wetterhoun’s versatility as a working dog made them indispensable to farmers and hunters alike. Their hunting skills were particularly prized, as they were able to track and retrieve game both on land and in water. Their webbed feet and waterproof coat made them particularly adept at retrieving birds from bodies of water, and their strong sense of smell made them excellent at tracking game on land.

On small farms, the Wetterhoun was used for a variety of tasks. They were skilled at herding livestock, particularly sheep and cattle, and their strong protective instincts made them excellent guard dogs. They were also used for pulling carts and wagons, and their strength and endurance made them well-suited for this task.

Popularity and Preservation Efforts

For many years, the Wetterhoun was primarily a regional breed, unknown outside of Friesland. However, in recent years, efforts have been made to promote the breed more widely. Despite this, it remains a relatively rare breed, with only a few hundred individuals existing outside of the Netherlands.

Despite its rarity, the Wetterhoun has a devoted following among those who appreciate its unique history and working abilities. In the Netherlands, there are a number of organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting the breed, and breeders work hard to maintain the Wetterhoun’s distinctive characteristics. While it may never achieve the widespread popularity of more well-known breeds, the Wetterhoun’s loyal fans will continue to ensure that it remains a valued and beloved part of the dog world.

Physical Characteristics of the Wetterhoun

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Wetterhoun is its shaggy, curly coat. This coat, which comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, and tan, is both thick and waterproof, making it well-suited to the wet and windy climate of the Netherlands.

But there’s more to the Wetterhoun’s physical appearance than just its coat. This breed is also known for its sturdy, muscular build. With a broad chest, strong legs, and a powerful tail, the Wetterhoun is a dog built for work. Despite its strength, however, the Wetterhoun is also agile and quick on its feet, able to navigate the marshy terrain of its homeland with ease.

Size and Weight

According to breed standards, male Wetterhouns should stand between 22.5 and 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, standing 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall and weighing between 55 and 75 pounds.

But don’t let the Wetterhoun’s size fool you. Despite its relatively small stature, this breed is known for its strength and endurance. In fact, the Wetterhoun was originally bred to hunt otters and other small game in the wetlands of the Netherlands, a task that required both physical prowess and mental agility.

Coat and Colors

As mentioned, the Wetterhoun’s coat is one of its most distinctive features. This coat is made up of dense, curly fur that can range from black to brown to silver. The breed’s thick coat is designed to keep it warm and dry in the cold wetlands of the Netherlands.

But the Wetterhoun’s coat isn’t just functional. It’s also quite beautiful. With its soft, curly texture and rich, deep colors, the Wetterhoun’s coat is a thing of beauty. And because the breed’s fur is hypoallergenic, it’s a great choice for people who suffer from allergies.

Distinctive Features

In addition to their curly coats, Wetterhouns have a number of other distinctive physical characteristics. Most notable among these are their long, floppy ears, which are covered in long hair, as well as their webbed feet, which make them excellent swimmers.

But the Wetterhoun’s most distinctive feature may be its expressive, intelligent eyes. With their deep, soulful gaze, Wetterhouns have a way of connecting with their human companions that is truly special. Whether they’re working in the field or snuggled up on the couch, these dogs have a way of making their presence felt.

Wetterhoun Temperament and Personality

While the Wetterhoun is a hardworking and intelligent breed, they are also known for their loyal, affectionate personalities. They are generally good with children and other animals, although individual dogs may have their own preferences when it comes to company.

Wetterhouns are a breed that loves to be around people and will often follow their owners from room to room. They are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities and will happily greet strangers with a wagging tail and a lick on the hand. Their affectionate nature makes them great family pets and they are often referred to as “velcro dogs” because of their tendency to stick close to their owners.

General Disposition

Wetterhouns are known for their friendly, outgoing personalities. They enjoy human company and are quick to bond with their owners. They are also known for their high energy levels and need for regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Due to their high energy levels, Wetterhouns require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. They love to play and enjoy activities such as fetch, hiking, and swimming. If they don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation, they can become bored and destructive.

Intelligence and Trainability

Given their background as working dogs, it should come as no surprise that Wetterhouns are highly intelligent and trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques and enjoy learning new tricks and skills.

Wetterhouns are quick learners and excel in activities such as obedience, agility, and tracking. They are also used as hunting dogs in their native Netherlands, where they are known for their ability to track and retrieve waterfowl. Their intelligence and trainability make them a great choice for owners who are looking for a dog that can learn and perform a variety of tasks.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

Wetterhouns are natural pack animals and generally get along well with other dogs. They may also do well with cats and other small animals if they are socialized to them from a young age.

Socialization is important for all dogs, but especially for breeds like the Wetterhoun that have a strong prey drive. Early socialization can help them learn to get along with other animals and reduce the risk of aggression or chasing behavior. With proper socialization and training, Wetterhouns can live peacefully with other animals and make great companions for families with multiple pets.

Health and Lifespan of the Wetterhoun

Like all breeds, Wetterhouns are prone to certain health issues. However, with proper care and attention, they can live long and healthy lives.

Common Health Issues

One of the most common health issues seen in Wetterhouns is hip dysplasia, a condition in which the hip joint fails to develop properly. Other potential health concerns include allergies, eye problems, and skin conditions.

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

As with any breed, Wetterhouns benefit from regular preventative care, including vaccinations, parasite control, and regular veterinary checkups. Owners should also be sure to provide their dogs with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, as well as appropriate grooming to keep their coats in good condition.

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Wetterhoun is between 10 and 12 years. However, with proper care and attention, they may live even longer.


In conclusion, the Wetterhoun is a fascinating and unique breed, known for their hardworking nature, friendly personality, and distinctive appearance. While they may not be the best choice for everyone, for those willing to put in the time and effort to care for them, they can make wonderful and loyal companions. If you’re interested in learning more about this amazing breed, be sure to do your research and consider reaching out to breeders or rescue organizations in your area.

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