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Through words and images, we are on a mission to share our passion for pointing dogs, upland hunting and sporting dog photography. 

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Pointing Dog Blog

Filtering by Tag: Dutch

Update on the Stabyhoun

Craig Koshyk

In an earlier Breed of the Week post, I wrote the following about a breed called the Stabyhoun: 
I am happy to say that I now stand corrected. There are still at least one or two kennels doing their best to produce Staby's for the field. The owner of one of them,  Klass Zonnebeld from Nijverdal in the Netherlands, sent me some very nice photos of Stabyhouns in the field to prove it. 

Here's a Staby showing off its good looks!


And ere's a Staby making a retrieve.

Klass and his wife Esther breed Staby's under the kennel name Fan it Heidehiem. They are among the very few folks in the world breeding Staby's for hunting. 
Several years and nests (litters) further, we can say that our kennel breeds healthy dogs with passion for hunting. We think beauty is less important than fine characters, although we do not want to lose the typical qualities that belong to our breed. We love the older Stabij type that is not too big and is able to hunt all day. The body needs to be athletic and in good proportions with good movements.
 A Fan it Heidehiem dog is first and foremost bred to have great working potential. We are not producing show dogs but a Stabij that has the health, temperament and movement to prove himself a worthy companion in the field. I enjoy seeing a dog is in his element – using his natural hunting instincts and willingness to do a good day’s work. These are the qualities I value highest in a dog. If a judge also likes the look of them then that is a bonus.
Klass and Esther offer some fascinating details on the history of the breed and how it was used to capture moles and polecats.
The Stabij was the dog for the poor man they called him Bijke and if the owner had a farm it was a farm dog, but if the owner was a hunter, it was a hunting dog. This is also why these poor people were breeding the dogs.  If they needed a stronger dog, they just find a combination with a bigger and stronger breed. But if they needed a special hunting dog,  the combination with a hunter-breed was made. The early 20th century were crisis years and everybody was poor.

In  Friesland they did a lot of mole catching and for this kind of hunting they needed a smaller dog so the Stabij was crossed with a smaller breed. In 1904 the Stabij was often sold for 15,- gulden which is about  €7,= but in 1918 a good mole catcher was worth a fortune - between f.50,- and f.100,- (€ 25,= – 50,= )  In those days, that was the main reason to breed these dogs. 
There were two ways to catch a mole. 
1) The Stabij tracked down a fresh mole-hill and stood still and waited for his boss. Together they waited until the mole started to dig.  The trick now was to wait and just before the mole was on the highest point,  put a shovel under the mole and lift it up.  The dog would then catch the mole and shake it until it died and then gave it to his boss. 
2)  The second method was when the Stabij caught the mole itself out of a tunnel by digging it out. But it could only get the young and small ones which are not worth much money. 
When  a farmer just wants to keep his land ´mole- free´,  the second option was ok. But when it was to catch a mole for the skin,  the first option was better. The mole was cut open and the skin was spread out on some wood and put to dry. When they were dry they could be sold for cloth etc. 
Today,  unfortunately the Stabij as a hunter is not used so much anymore, and other specialized dogs from outside Holland took this place. Maybe this is because the Stabij is to much of an all-rounder, he can do a little of everything. But still as a mole and a polecat-catcher he is still very valued.

For more information on the breed and more great photos of Stabyhouns, check out Klass and Esther's website: http://www.fanitheidehiem.nl/en/




Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
http://www.dogwilling.ca/index.cfm









Breed of the Week: The Stabyhoun

Craig Koshyk

Friesland is a northern province of the Netherlands. Several breeds of domestic animals were developed there including the Friesian cow, the Friesian horse and two breeds of gundogs, the Wetterhoun—a type of water dog—and the Frisian Pointing Dog, better known as the Stabyhoun.


HISTORY
The Stabyhoun is another local variant of the widely-distributed longhaired pointing dogs found throughout much of northwestern Europe. It is probably related to other pointing breeds from nearby regions, such as the Drentsche Patrijshond and the Small Munsterlander, but was often crossed with the Wetterhoun, a retrieving breed developed in the same area. When foreign hunting breeds were introduced to Friesland from Germany, France and the UK around the turn of the 20th century, the Stabyhoun was more or less abandoned by hunters. 

But the breed managed to hang on as a mole catcher. Moles were, and still are, considered a pest in the region, so catching them was helpful to farmers. Around the turn of the 20th century, a market was created for the mole’s velvet-like pelts which were used to make coats and other articles of clothing. Due to their small size, Stabyhouns were carried in the baskets of bicycles, and since they had a keen sense of smell and were eager hunters, their owners would take them from farm to farm to earn extra income catching moles.

In 1942 the Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun were recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club and a breed club, the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stabijen Wetterhoun (Dutch Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun Association) was formed in 1947. Today the Stabyhoun is still fairly rare in the Netherlands, but its population is said to be increasing. There are also breeders in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the US and Canada. A few owners do participate in retrieving type tests sanctioned by the breed club in the Netherlands, and I have heard reports of a hunter or two in Norway and Sweden who may use their Stabyhouns as pointers. But most agree that the FCI’s Group 7 may not be a perfect fit for the breed. 

Hanneke Dijkman, the secretary of the hunting and working committee of the Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun club in the Netherlands, explained that most Stabyhouns are simply pets.
It’s correct there are only a few people who hunt with a Staby or do hunting tests. I’m one of them. The people who do hunt with them are pleased with the dog’s performance, but they are mainly used for retrieving work. The main reason the Staby is not used for hunting is because a lot of people and breeders see it as a family dog; a nice dog to lay on the couch. People are not willing anymore to spend a lot of time to train a dog. Field trials require a lot of training and time, and everybody is too busy today.
MY VIEW
I have only seen about a half dozen Stabyhouns, most of them in the Netherlands. They were all great-looking, lively dogs, much loved by their owners. But they were pets, and none were used for any form of hunting.

We did manage to set up a photo session with a Stabyhoun near the town of Poortugaal and it was a lot of fun. The dog, a handsome young male, greeted us with a wagging tail and an eager look in its eye. Our friends who had arranged the meeting brought a few pigeons to see if we could get the dog to point.
The dog’s owner is not a hunter, but she was eager to see if her dog was interested in the birds. And he was. In fact, he was very interested. But despite our best efforts, he did not point them and seemed just like any other high-energy dog blowing off steam in the field. I got some great shots of the dog and was very happy to see a Staby in the field. But what I saw only reinforced the idea that the FCI’s pointing dog group may not really be the best place for the breed. It might be better off in Group 8 for retrieving, flushing and water dogs.

Even so, it is clear that, for all intents and purposes, the Stabyhoun is no longer a hunting breed. Its small size, once prized by mole catchers, is a now seen as an asset for families with small children, or people living in smaller houses or apartments. Its lively, friendly temperament makes it a great companion, and its athletic build and eager-to-please attitude makes it a good candidate for activities such as flyball and agility.

UPDATE: I recently came across an article about a Stabyhoun participating in a trial for pointing dogs in Sweden. So it looks like there are at least one or two people out there that are using their dogs for hunting-related activities. You can read the article here.



Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
http://www.dogwilling.ca/index.cfm

The Drentsche Patrijshond a.k.a Dutch Partridge Dog

Craig Koshyk

That, my friends is a nice looking dog. And I can tell you that he is a heck of a  good hunter too!

Barak (yes, that's his name) is a Drentsche Patrijshond. He is Dutch born and bred and spends most of his time in the Netherlands chasing the surprisingly abundant game birds there. But I've actually seen Barak do his thing in France and in Canada as well as in his native land. And one day in particular really stands out in my memory.

We were hunting grouse and snipe in the Interlake area of Manitoba with Barak's people, Roel and Marjolein. I had my Pont-Audemer Spaniel Uma with me and Marjolein was handling Barak. As we made our way through a "bluff" of poplar trees, Barak slammed on point about 30 yards in front. Marjolein was about 40 yards to his right and began to move in. I heard Uma's bell coming towards me from the left. As she ran past she saw Barak and slammed into a back. 

So there I was, rare French gun (a Darne) in hand, walking up to a rare Dutch breed of pointing dog that was being backed by an even rarer French breed of pointing dog.  And to top it all off, instead of sharing the scene with one of my rough-around-the-edges hunting buddies and his beat up pump gun, my partner on the shoot that day was a beautiful Dutch woman carrying a fine over and under shotgun!

Like the English, Dutch hunters train their pointing dogs to flush on command and then stop for the shot. So when she got to within about 10 meters of Barak, Marjolein said something in Dutch that probably meant "get em up boy!"  Instantly Barak made a bold charge toward the grouse and slammed on the breaks at the flush. The bird got up at the edge of the bluff and flew into a large open meadow offering me a perfect right to left crossing shot. I fired. It dropped. Marjolein yelled whatever the Dutch equivalent is for "Good Shot!" and Barak made the retrieve. 

As he came towards us with the grouse,  I realized that Mar and I had just witnessed something that no other hunter on earth has before or since: a Drentsche Patrisjond, backed by an Épagneul de Pont-Audemer pointing a ruffed grouse for a lovely Dutch woman and a curious Canadian fellow who really wanted a grouse for diner.  

For more information on the Drentsche Patrijshond, check out the chapter on the breed in my new book or visit the website of the Drentsche Patrijshond Club of North America




Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
http://www.dogwilling.ca/index.cfm


The Drentsche Patrijshond a.k.a Dutch Partridge Dog

Craig Koshyk

That, my friends is a nice looking dog. And I can tell you that he is a heck of a  good hunter too!

Barak (yes, that's his name) is a Drentsche Patrijshond. He is Dutch born and bred and spends most of his time in the Netherlands chasing the surprisingly abundant game birds there. But I've actually seen Barak do his thing in France and in Canada as well as in his native land. And one day in particular really stands out in my memory.

We were hunting grouse and snipe in the Interlake area of Manitoba with Barak's people, Roel and Marjolein. I had my Pont-Audemer Spaniel Uma with me and Marjolein was handling Barak. As we made our way through a "bluff" of poplar trees, Barak slammed on point about 30 yards in front. Marjolein was about 40 yards to his right and began to move in. I heard Uma's bell coming towards me from the left. As she ran past she saw Barak and slammed into a back. 

So there I was, rare French gun (a Darne) in hand, walking up to a rare Dutch breed of pointing dog that was being backed by an even rarer French breed of pointing dog.  And to top it all off, instead of sharing the scene with one of my rough-around-the-edges hunting buddies and his beat up pump gun, my partner on the shoot that day was a beautiful Dutch woman carrying a fine over and under shotgun!

Like the English, Dutch hunters train their pointing dogs to flush on command and then stop for the shot. So when she got to within about 10 meters of Barak, Marjolein said something in Dutch that probably meant "get em up boy!"  Instantly Barak made a bold charge toward the grouse and slammed on the breaks at the flush. The bird got up at the edge of the bluff and flew into a large open meadow offering me a perfect right to left crossing shot. I fired. It dropped. Marjolein yelled whatever the Dutch equivalent is for "Good Shot!" and Barak made the retrieve. 

As he came towards us with the grouse,  I realized that Mar and I had just witnessed something that no other hunter on earth has before or since: a Drentsche Patrisjond, backed by an Épagneul de Pont-Audemer pointing a ruffed grouse for a lovely Dutch woman and a curious Canadian fellow who really wanted a grouse for diner.  

For more information on the Drentsche Patrijshond, check out the chapter on the breed in my new book or visit the website of the Drentsche Patrijshond Club of North America




Read more about the breed, and all the other pointing breeds from Continental Europe, in my book Pointing Dogs, Volume One: The Continentals
http://www.dogwilling.ca/index.cfm