Meet the Breed: Fantastic Water Dog Wetterhoun

The Wetterhoun is a breed of dog known for fantastic hunting skills and original coat appearance. Originally bred to hunt small animals, this breed went from almost extinct to beloved home pets. Read on for more on the breed.

The Wetterhoun, otherwise known as the Frisian Water Dog, is traditionally used as a hunting dog in the Netherlands. The name of the dog comes from the West Frisian Wetterhûn, meaning “water dog.”

If you hear someone calling this breed Wetterhounen, don’t be confused because the plural of Wetterhoun is Wetterhounen in Dutch.

Learn more about this interesting bread and discover if a Wetterhoun is a right dog for you!

Quick Facts

Real name: Wetterhoun
Other names: Otterhoun
Origin: Netherlands
Breed type: Gun Dog
Weight: 50-75 pounds
Height: 23 inches (male), 21. 5 inches (female)
Lifespan: 13 years
Litter Size: 3-7 puppies
Color: Solid black or brown, or black with white, or brown with white, with or without white ticking or roan marks
Coat: Thick, curly, and water repellantk

Wetterhoun History

The Wetterhoun was initially bred to chase small animals and otters across Friesland, Netherlands. Today this breed is mostly found in the Netherlands and is considered to be rare.

As for the breed’s history, it’s known that this is an ancestral type of the Wetterhoun developed at least 400 years ago in the Dutch province of Fryslân.

This breed’s origin is linked to Gypsy dogs, which were crossed with an indigenous Frisina dog, perhaps the Old Water Dog, a type that is now gone. This breed was perfect for dangerous and difficult hunting in the water.

They were also used as watchdogs and for retrieving waterfowl. The Wetterhoun almost disappeared during WWII, but the breed fanciers could save it by careful breeding them.

With time this breed gain popularity, and the breed was eventually preserved. The Dutch Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943.

Wetterhoun Physical Appearance

At first glance, the Wetterhoun dog may seem more prominent than he is, but he is officially part of a medium-size group of dogs. As a medium-sized dog, the Wetterhoun stands between 21.6-23 inches at the withers.

They usually weigh between 55 and 77 pounds. Their coat is thick and curly except for the head area, including ears and legs, where the coat has to be smoother. Their fur is water repellant and, by many, described as having a greasy feel.

Coat color may vary, although the most common option is solid black or brown or black and white. Other options are black coat with white, or brown with white, with or without white ticking or roan marks.

The texture of the coat should not be woolly, as such fur will not resist water. The ears are long and set low.

Ears always hang flat to the head, while the tail is curled over the back. The breed has an unusual shape of the eyes, which may vary from dog to dog.

Wetterhoun Personality

This breed is known for being an excellent gun dog, effective both on land and in the water. Many describe them as perfect guard dogs.

Others say that they are great family-dog since they aren’t aggressive. They are never aggressive, which qualifies them to be around children and spend time with the entire family.

They may be strong-willed, although they aren’t stubborn or willfully disobedient. They love to finish what they start, whatever it takes.

Just like any other dog breed, they love to have a job to do, even if it’s just caring for their favorite toy around.

All in all, this breed is sensitive and should never be treated harshly or trained by using harmful reinforcement methods.

Although they are nice with children, make sure that you educate your children on how to behave around dogs, and never to disturb your Wetterhoun while eating, drinking water, or simply craving for some alone time in his corner.

The Wetterhoun is not a suitable dog for first time dog owners.

A working dog is always a better choice for experienced dog owners since they can be demanding and always search for a way to burn their energy.

This breed is very watchful, which makes it a good guard dog. Your Wetterhoun will accept other dogs and pets with no problem.

Wetterhoun Training

Just like with any other dog breed, early socialization is the key to having a well-behaved dog.

Before your dog arrives at your home, make sure that you provide the right toys.

Have the right equipment, dog necessities, and arm yourself with patience because you will have to invest your time and energy into training lessons.

Training your Wetterhoun will be easy as long as you make training lessons fun and short.

If you feel like you could use extra help, think about hiring a dog trainer or going to a puppy school.

If you are getting an older dog, don’t think that he won’t master new tricks because he will if you invest enough time into training sessions.

If you are getting a senior dog, don’t be careful about physically demanding tricks, that could hurt dogs’ hip or joints.

No dogs should ever be harshly trained, so make sure that you use only positive reinforcement techniques.

Wetterhoun Exercise

A good feed dog who gets to spend time outdoors exploring is happy. Each dog needs a specific amount of exercise to keep them fresh and fit. Dogs love being outside.

They use this time to sniff around, eat something that they shouldn’t, and meet other people and dogs.

This is how they get to know the world around them.

You probably know that a dog should go out for a minimum of two times to do his business (by business, we mean toilet needs), although three walks are the best option.

If your dog is trained to do his business and head home, you will need to upvote more outdoor time, strictly reserved for exercise and training.

Some dogs love being couch potatoes, while some tend to spend hours playing around.

How to Exercise your Wetterhoun?

Since Wetterhoun is a working dog, you should know that they need more time outside to spend that energy. So, how much exercise do Wetterhouns need?

This breed should spend a minimum of 60-90 minutes per day exercising, walking, hiking, running with other dogs, jogging, or even swimming.

Bear in mind that although obedience training doesn’t seem like a real exercise, this is an excellent opportunity to shape your dog well.

Practicing recall, retrieving, and basic commands deliver mental stimulation, exercise and can make a connection between you and your Wetterhoun stronger.

Wetterhoun Grooming

For a dog with a furry-like coat, this breed doesn’t require a lot of grooming.

You will have to brush him regularly, usually about two times per week.

Make sure that you have the right grooming tools, and look at the grooming session as an opportunity to connect with your dog and show him that you care.

The rest is regular maintenance:

  • Check gums
  • Provide vaccination and regular veterinary check-ups
  • Check ears especially during the summer, for any sigh of fleas of worse
  • Eyes should be infection-free

Have a dog emergency kit in your home and in your car, just in case.

Dogs do get hurt, so having the right medical equipment on hand is more than handy. If you need help with grooming, think about hiring a professional groomer.

Wetterhoun Health

The Wetterhoun is considered to be a healthy breed.

Like with any other dog, genetic problems may appear but are almost unexisting if you deal with a responsible breeder.

Even if you are adopting a dog, the shelter personnel will inform you about the dog’s health and tell you what to expect in medical terms.

If you are dealing with a breeder and don’t get any medical documentation telling about the dog’s health, you are dealing with a puppy mill.

Make sure that you take your Wetterhoun to your veterinarian as soon as you bring the puppy home.

This should be practice even if you deal with a responsible breeder.

Double-check can never do any harm, plus the veterinarian will inform you about vaccination schedule, parasite control, and provide much useful information that will help you be a responsible dog owner.

Recommended Health Tests for Wetterhoun:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Severe Combine Immune Deficiency Syndrome

The Wetterhoun should do well on high-quality dog food, a warm home, and family members who love him. Provide enough training and exercise to keep Wetterhoun’s health and spirit up.

If you choose to feed your dog on a raw diet, make sure that you talk with your veterinarian first.

Use treats to enhance training, but don’t overdue it because of obesity in dogs is a problem on the rise.

The Bottom Line

The Wetterhoun is a medium-sized dog with a unique coat and personality that feels your home with love and humor.

If you’re ready to invest your time and energy into training your Wtterhoun, you are prepared to have a dog.

If you are ready to spend at least 60 minutes outside daily, no matter the temperature, and you aren’t afraid to let your Wetterhoun swim, then Wetterhoun might be the right dog for you!