Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
fast facts

About Wetterhoun

33-44 lb
12-13 years
UKC Gundog
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, hunters
Strong-willed, reserved, intelligent, sensitive
Comparable Breeds
Stabyhoun, Barbet
21-23 inches
Wetterhoun Basics

After nearly going extinct during World War II, the Wetterhoun breed has regained some of its numbers but it remains a rare breed. This dog is known for its coarse, curly coat and its abilities as a gun dog. If you are looking for an active breed that can be trained for retrieving but still makes a good family pet, the Wetterhoun may be for you.

After nearly going extinct during World War II, the Wetterhoun breed has regained some of its numbers but it remains a rare breed.


The name of this breed comes from the Dutch for “water dog” and the breed was developed more than 400 years ago in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands. This breed is also sometimes referred to as the Otterhound or the Dutch Spaniel, though it is technically not a type of spaniel. The Wetterhoun is thought to have descended from the now-extinct Old Water Dog and it may have been crossed with an indigenous Frisian breed. Throughout its history, the Wetterhoun has been used as a gun dog, a watch dog, and a water retriever. The breed nearly disappeared during the Second World War, but fanciers have slowly been rebuilding the breed.


The Wetterhoun is descended from the Old Water Dog, having been developed over 400 years ago in the Friesland province of the Netherlands. Careful breeding practices have brought the breed back from near-extinction during World War II.


The Wetterhoun is a hunting breed which means that it has a great deal of energy. This being the case, it is recommended that you feed your Wetterhoun a dog food formulated especially for active breeds. This will ensure that your dog’s energy needs are met.

The Wetterhoun is a gun dog through and through.


The Wetterhoun is a gun dog through and through. This breed thrives when given a job to perform and they typically respond well to training. Because this breed can be a little strong-willed, it is best to start training as early as possible. This breed is also fairly sensitive, so only positive reinforcement-based training methods should be used. The breed can be tolerant of children if properly socialized from a young age but care should be taken to teach the children proper handling of the dog.


At maturity, an adult Wetterhoun stands between 21 and 23 inches tall and weighs between 33 and 44 pounds.


The Wetterhoun was bred to be a gun dog but this breed also does well as a land or water retriever. These dogs have natural guarding abilities and a somewhat strong-willed temperament. This breed can be a little reserved, though it is generally not aggressive, so it does well as a family pet. The breed can do well around children if raised with them from a young age, though they will not tolerate harsh treatment. The Wetterhoun breed is intelligent and watchful, so they learn quickly and they do have an independent streak so firm training is required.

Common Health Problems

The Wetterhoun is a hardy breed by nature and not prone to developing severe health problems. Like all dogs, however, there are certain minor conditions to which the breed may be prone. These conditions may include ear infections, hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation.

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of the Wetterhoun breed is between 12 and 13 years.

Exercise Requirements

As a hunting breed, the Wetterhoun is fairly active. This breed requires a good deal of daily exercise including a 30-minute walk and extra outdoor play time. These dogs also love to swim so any time they can spend in the water will be appreciated. This breed does best when given a large plot of land to run freely – they do not tend to do well with apartment life.

These dogs have natural guarding abilities and a somewhat strong-willed temperament.

Recognized Clubs

The Wetterhoun is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but it is recognized by the Federation Cynologique International as part of the Water Dogs group and by the United Kennel Club in the Gundog Group. This breed is also recognized by several smaller clubs and registries as a rare breed.


The Wetterhoun has a thick coat of coarse, curly hair over the entire body but it is a little shorter on the legs and head. The most common colors for this breed include black and white, liver and white, solid black, or solid liver. Though the coat is fairly long, this breed does not require frequent grooming – regular brushing and combing is all that is required.


The Wetterhoun breed is intelligent but because they tend to have a bit of an independent streak, puppies should be started early with training and socialization. Early socialization is especially important if you plan to keep the dog with children or other household pets.

Photo credit: Cavan-Images/Shutterstock; Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock; eriklam/Bigstock.com

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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