The Stabyhoun (properly pronounced Sta-BYE-hoon but sometimes STAB-be-hoon) is a rare dog whose name is very fitting: Stabyhoun means “stand by me” in Dutch. The name aptly describes the Stabyhoun temperament.
In the past, this breed has worked as small game hunter and pest exterminator. Today he is more likely to be a companion dog because of his gentle, loving, and loyal disposition.
The Stabyhoun temperament, though, is not for everyone. If you’re thinking about adding a Staby (his common nickname) to your family, you will want to take the whole package into consideration.
The Stabyhoun Temperament
The Stabyhoun is a smart breed and learns quickly. He needs a gentle hand, though, or he will choose not to obey.
This breed wants to be near his people—always. He becomes very attached to adults and children. Some say he may become too attached!
Eager to Please
The Stabyhoun is very obedient with proper training. He wants to make you happy.
Without that training, however, he will show you his stubborn side when he doesn’t feel like obeying.
This is a happy breed. They love life, and it shows.
The Stabyhoun temperament is not a good match for a home where no one is home during the day. He needs to be with his people.
He may develop separation anxiety if you leave him alone for long periods of time.
The Stabyhoun has a mind of his own because of the job he was bred to do. He was expected to destroy prey on his own, with no human supervision. He trusts his own instincts—possibly more than yours.
This is a gentle breed that needs a light touch with training. He does not respond well to harsh correction methods.
He likes a calm environment. A chaotic home will cause him distress. Loud noises can make him anxious.
The Stabyhoun traits of calmness and tolerance make him an ideal family dog. This is not an aggressive breed. He loves children and is good with them.
The Stabyhoun is very cuddly. He loves to be touching his people and to “give kisses.” He may need a little extra training here if that bothers you.
The Stabyhoun has a lot of energy and needs a moderate level of exercise.
He is quick and athletic. He is a natural at agility, rally, and other canine sporting events. This would also give him the physical and mental stimulation he needs.
He will enjoy playing active games with the kids like flyball, and he also loves to swim.
The Stabyhoun is a hunter bred to find and retrieve. They
And good luck getting him to stop digging! He’s hunting for rodents. At that moment, he’s obeying a drive much more powerful than his desire to please you.
He is curious and likes to explore. He needs a fenced-in yard. Never exercise him off-leash. He will roam.
The Stabyhoun makes an excellent watchdog in spite of his gentle disposition. They bark, and some bark a lot.
The Stabyhoun temperament is generally calm, but he is always alert and watchful. He will bark if he perceives something new in his environment and can become agitated.
He is friendly with nearly anyone. Some say he is friendly to all, but he’s a friend to only a few.
That friendliness includes most strangers. However, if he feels cornered by one, he may snarl.
Dog historians can track this breed back to the early 1800s in the Netherlands. He was used as both a hunting dog for small game and a farm dog to kill moles, rats, and skunks.
He is also a versatile hunting dog who can point, track, and retrieve.
Most early hunting dogs were kept by the nobility for sport hunting. The Stabyhoun, however, is unique. He was more of a “poor man’s dog.”
The hunting he did was mostly with poachers.
The Stabyhoun was also popular with farmers. He served a lot of purposes for the expense of keeping only one dog.
For example, he hunted rabbits and birds. He kept the farm free of rodents and skunks. He was a good watchdog, and dairy farmers used him to pull dogcarts.
On top of all of that, he was a great companion and housedog.
Today, farmers and hunters in the Netherlands still prize the Stabyhoun temperament for its gentleness. Some still use him as a working and hunting dog, but now he is more likely to be kept as a pet.
There are better hunting dogs than the Stabyhoun, but it’s hard to find a better canine companion.
The breed is only beginning to gain popularity outside of the Netherlands.
The Stabyhoun is a fast learner and eager to please. He needs gentle training and a light touch. If you use harsh training methods, he will shut down and stop obeying orders.
But he does need firm and consistent guidance, or he can become unmanageable. He will sometimes get lost in his own world while exploring and will tune you out.
Finding the right balance between a gentle touch and firm expectations can be hard. For this reason, the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association (ASA) considers the Stabyhoun a dog that is not for everyone.
On the job, he is self-motivated to work, chasing and destroying small animals. You may have a problem with trying to control his instinctive Stabyhoun behaviors.
You will need to restrain him at all times with a leash and a fenced-in yard. The neighbors won’t appreciate his digging in their flowerbeds!
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This is a medium-sized breed. Ideal Stabyhoun weight is 45 pounds for females and 50 pounds for males. Stabyhoun height is ideally 19 inches for females and 20-1/2 inches for male.
The Stabyhoun’s coat is white with black, brown, or orange markings. A Staby is immediately recognizable by its distinctive solid-colored head. It is usually black, but it can also be brown.
Stabyhoun Health Issues
The Stabyhoun is overall a healthy breed. But like all dogs, they are prone to certain conditions. Luckily, these conditions are rare in the Stabyhoun.
They are susceptible to:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Neurological Disorder/Cerebral Dysfunction
- Von Willebrand’s Disease, Type I
The Dutch Association for Stabyhouns and Wetterhouns (NVSW) in Holland and the ASA are committed to maintaining a breeding program to further lower the risk of these conditions.
They recommend screening all Stabyhouns for cerebral dysfunction and hip and elbow dysplasia.
Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your lovely Canaan pet from expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expentancy.
The Stabyhoun life expectancy is 13-15 years.
Caring for the Stabyhoun
Interestingly, Stabyhouns will develop a “castrated coat” if they are spayed or neutered. Then they will “blow” their undercoats seasonally and will need frequent brushing.
Intact Stabyhouns are easier to care for. They have short coats that are nearly self-cleaning with a good shake. They only need an occasional brushing.
You should not bathe your Stabyhoun often. It strips the oil from his skin and could cause skin problems.
A quick brush and rinse are usually enough unless he has a bad odor from something he got into. Then you should use a special gentle shampoo. Ask your vet for recommendations.
A high-quality dry food will serve the Stabyhoun well.
The Stabyhoun has a moderate need for exercise. An hour a day is usually enough.
The Stabyhoun temperament, however, needs mental stimulation. He is a smart dog who likes to be busy.
If he lives on a farm, he will happily exercise himself. If not, he will do best if he has some type of regular activity, such as hunting or canine sporting activities. The more variety in his activities, the better.
If your Stabyhoun gets enough physical and mental stimulation, he will be content to lie around the house with his people.
Finding a Stabyhoun
Buying a Stabyhoun Puppy from a Breeder
Finding a Stabyhoun for sale may be difficult. This is still a rare breed in North America. If you want to add one to your family, you will need patience.
There are only a few breeders in the US. The ASA is the place to start your search for a good one. They maintain a breeding program and keep a waiting list for Stabyhoun puppies. You can apply for a puppy on their site.
The ASA states the waiting time could be 2-3 months for a pup.
If you’re not able to find a Stabyhoun in North America, you may want to look into importing one from Europe.
The NVSW or the UK Stabyhoun Association would be the best sources for this.
The two clubs operate from a central breeder’s directory. The NVSW also keeps a list of other European Stabyhoun breeder organizations.
Stabyhoun price from a US breeder is about $2000. Prices in Europe appear to be between $1450 and $1700 plus shipping fees. Stabyhoun breeders do their best to keep cost affordable. Many are hobby breeders who are not in it for profit.
In fact, the ASA and European breeding clubs dedicate some pups from each new litter to hobby breeders. If you are willing to breed your Stabyhoun, you will be given priority on the waiting list.
As the Stabyhoun breed becomes more popular in the US, more folks are taking part in the breeding program. Stabyhoun puppies are gradually becoming more available in the US.
Once you find a breeder, you will want to be sure that that they are reputable. Never buy a puppy online without checking up on the breeder first.
Avoid Puppy Mills
Rare breeds can be especially profitable for puppy mills, but they are disastrous for the dogs. Sometimes they can also be nightmares for the owners.
The “care” they get until they are sold can be horrendous. These breeders aren’t concerned about the physical or genetic health of the pups or the parents.
Responsible breeders won’t breed dogs with health issues. What’s more, a good breeder will guarantee the health of their puppies.
They will also ask you to return your Stabyhoun to them if for any reason you need to surrender it. (Most will demand it in the adoption contract.)
With a puppy mill, you get no such guarantee. Their puppies will probably not have been vetted or vaccinated. They will have received no early training. Worst of all, they could have serious health issues.
So how do you know if a breeder is reputable? Word of mouth is the best way. Try attending a canine sporting event where you may find other Stabyhoun aficionados.
Another good way to get a recommendation is to look for online forums or Facebook groups for people who love Stabyhouns. Social media sources like this exist for nearly every breed.
Finding a Stabyhoun for Adoption or Rescue
One Stabyhoun breeder estimates that there are no more than 300 of them in the US as of March 2019. The likelihood of finding a Stabyhoun at a shelter or rescue is very low.
However, it wouldn’t hurt to notify local shelters and let them know that you’re looking for one.
At the time of this writing, an Internet search for Stabyhoun rescue turned up nothing. You may want to try contacting the breed clubs mentioned above. If there are any rescue programs for the Stabyhoun, they would know of them.
Is the Stabyhoun the Right Breed for You?
The Stabyhoun is very smart, a “thinking dog.” Like all intelligent dogs, he needs firm guidance and training. You need to be a step ahead of him. Otherwise, he can be willful and hard to control.
The Stabyhoun needs to learn early that obeying is not optional.
Once he does, he will make up for his occasional stubbornness with all the love and loyalty you could want from a dog.
He has a joyful attitude toward life and a real need to show his love and affection for his family.
If you train him properly, these Stabyhoun temperament traits make him an ideal choice for a family companion dog. Finding one may take patience, but the Stabyhoun is well worth the wait.