Meet the Wetterhoun Temperament (a.k.a Dutch Water Spaniel)

The Wetterhoun is a rare Dutch breed that can make an excellent hunting dog or an exotic pet, but the Wetterhoun temperament is not for everyone.



The Wetterhoun originated in the Netherlands. The breed is also known by a few other names including the Dutch Spaniel, the Dutch Water Spaniel, and the Friesian Water Dog.

The plural form of Wetterhoun is Wetterhounen.

The Wetterhoun dog has a very distinctive appearance—a curly coat all over its body except its head, which is sleek. And the Wetterhoun temperament is full of love and devotion.

The Wetterhoun temperament is also described as intelligent, athletic, hard-working, tolerant, and at times stubborn.

If you are interested in this rare breed, this article will provide you with an introduction to the Wetterhoun temperament as well as helpful guides to grooming, training, health and adoption.

Please think carefully before you bring home any new pet. Make sure that you can provide a loving and stable home for its entire life.

5 Wetterhoun Temperament traits to consider before you bring one home

In the section below you will learn about some common Wetterhoun behaviors.

Of course, it is important to remember that all dogs are individuals so your Wetterhoun might not display all of these characteristics.

Still, the information that follows will help you get a better sense of the Wetterhoun personality and help you decide if this breed is the right breed for you.

1. A Sporting Dog

The Wetterhoun was developed as a hunting dog for waterfowl, otter and fitch (ferrets).

As such, the Wetterhoun is happy when it has a job to do.

If you are looking for a loyal hunting companion, the Wetterhoun will make an excellent working dog.

However, if you do not plan to go hunting with your Wetterhoun, you will need to come up with another outlet for its energy and eagerness.

Daily exercise is a great way to channel that boundless energy.

Wetterhoun exercise can take the form of walking, hiking, jogging, biking or swimming. Make sure you can devote at least 30 to 45 minutes per day to vigorous exercise with your Wetterhoun.

If you cannot work that time commitment into your daily schedule, consider hiring a dog walker or bringing your dog to a doggie daycare during the workday. Another great option is to adopt an older Wetterhoun. Adult Wetterhounen do not require as much activity as Wetterhoun puppies and adolescents.

Canine sports are another great way to exercise your Wetterhoun. Wetterhounen make excellent competitors in sports such as agility, flyball, rally obedience and dock jumping. Canine sports are fun for the dog and the handler!

2. Watchful

The watchful Wetterhoun temperament makes this breed an outstanding watchdog.

The Wetterhoun is vigilant when it comes to his family and his territory.

The Wetterhoun is alert, inquisitive and brave. He will check out any suspicious activity. He also has an excellent sense of smell and hearing.

Wetterhounen are absolutely devoted to their families, but they can be suspicious of strangers and guests.

Make sure your visitors understand not to pressure your dog into interacting too quickly.

Wetterhounen warm up to strangers at their own pace.

However, a Wetterhoun should never be aggressive. If you see any signs of aggression, contact a professional dog trainer and speak with your veterinarian.

3. Smart, Independent Thinkers

Wetterhounen are intelligent, but they are also independent thinkers.

This occasionally earns them the reputation of being “stubborn.”

It is true that Wetterhounen do not blindly follow orders. They assess the situation and act accordingly. They do things at their own pace.

During training, you will need to keep things engaging and rewarding. Otherwise, your Wetterhoun might get bored.

Bored Wetterhounen will create their own activities such as barkingdigging or chewing.

If your Wetterhoun is displaying nuisance behaviors such as these, try increasing exercise and mental stimulation.

You can keep your Wetterhoun’s mind engaged through plenty of interactive toys, food puzzles and brain games.

One great way to make your Wetterhoun use his brain is to make him work for his meals. You can use mealtime as a training opportunity or you can give him his meal in a Kong Wobble, busy ball or food puzzle.

4. Tolerant of Children

The tolerant Wetterhoun temperament makes him a good companion for children.

Indeed, Dutch Spaniels are known for being particularly gentle and patient with the children in their families.

Of course, it is still important to socialize your Wetterhoun to children. Make sure your Wetterhoun has many positive interactions with children of various ages.

Also, make sure to supervise all interactions between children and dogs of any breed. Never leave small children alone with a dog of any breed.

Encourage children to be gentle, kind and respectful to the family dog. This will make the interactions pleasant for the dog as well as the children.

5. Loving and Devoted

The Wetterhoun temperament is extremely loving and devoted.

These dogs adore their masters.

They want to be with their families as much as possible.

Wetterhounen need to live indoors with the family.

If you are looking for a dog that will be happy spending most of its time in the yard, this is not the breed for you.

Wetterhounen get so attached to their masters that they can suffer from separation anxiety.

If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, get help from your veterinarian and a professional trainer.

If you are looking for a loyal shadow to be by your side, look no further than the Wetterhoun.

Wetterhoun History: Where Did Wetterhoun Originate?

The Wetterhoun originated in the Netherlands about 400 years ago.

They most likely developed from an older breed called simply, “the Old Water Dog.”

Dutch Spaniels were originally used by fisherman to kill otter.

Over time, they were used for more tasks such as hunting waterfowl and guarding the homestead.

The Wetterhoun is exceedingly rare outside of the Netherlands.

The American Kennel Club does not yet recognize this breed.

The Wetterhoun, or Friesian Water Dog, was recognized by the United Kennel Club (of Great Britain) in 2006.

Wetterhoun Size and Appearance

The Wetterhoun has a highly distinctive appearance.

The breed standard for the Wetterhoun describes it as a, “rugged, sturdy breed that is well balanced, square and covered with curly hair, except on the face, which is smooth.”

The average Wetterhoun height is between 21 inches and 23 inches at the withers.

The typical Wetterhoun weight is between 55 lbs and 77 lbs. Males are larger than females.

The most common Wetterhoun colors are black or brown, with or without white markings and/or ticking.

The tail is usually curled.

A Guide to Wetterhoun Training

The intelligent Wetterhoun temperament makes this breed an excellent candidate for training.

However, these dogs can be independent thinkers, so you will have to come up with creative ways to motivate them to follow directions.

Wetterhounen respond best to positive reinforcement training methods. Positive reinforcement is the most humane and effective type of training. It is enjoyable for the dog and the owner.

Avoid punishment-based training methods. Do not use painful tools or tactics such as alpha rolls, pinch collars, shock collars or choke chains. These types of methods will damage your relationship with your Wetterhoun.

Try to keep training sessions short, upbeat and variable so your dog does not get bored. One option is to sign up for an obedience class at a local obedience school.

After you take the basic obedience course, you can try more advanced classes like agility, nosework, or trick training.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Wetterhoun dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

A Guide to Wetterhoun Grooming

The Wetterhoun is low maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Their curly coats require occasional bathing, brushing and trimming.

Their ears should be cleaned regularly and their teeth should be brushed frequently.

Finally the toenails should also be kept short.

Is the Wetterhoun Hypoallergenic?

The Wetterhoun is not hypoallergenic. Please check out this article for a list of hypoallergenic breeds.

Staying Healthy: Wetterhoun Health Issues

Overall, the Wetterhoun is a healthy and hardy breed.

Since this is such a scarce breed, health issues within this breed are not well documented.

Talk with your breeder and/or veterinarian about common health concerns for this breed.

Like all dogs, your Wetterhoun should visit a veterinarian at least once per year for an annual exam and vaccinations.

It is very important for your Wetterhoun to be on flea, tick and heartworm prevention at all times. Talk with your veterinarian about the best options for your dog.

With excellent care and nutrition, the Wetterhoun lifespan is between 12 years and 13 years.

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Laekenois vs. Wetterhoun

The Belgian Laekenois is a Belgian breed that bears some resemblance to the Wetterhoun.

The Laekenois is a similar size and has a similar coat texture.

The Laekenois has some similar temperament characteristics including intelligence and watchfulness.

If you are interested in the Wetterhoun breed, you may want to check out the Laekenois as well.

Wetterhoun Rescue and Adoption

If you think the Dutch Spaniel is the perfect dog for you, the next step is to find a Wetterhoun to add to your family.

This can be a challenge because these dogs are so rare in America.

One option is to try to locate a Wetterhoun for adoption.

Adoption is a great way to add a pet to your family.

There are many homeless animals in this country that need loving, permanent homes.

Visit your local animal shelter or humane society to let them know that you are looking to adopt a dog.

Wetterhounen are rare in American animal shelters, but you can still fill out an application and leave your name on file.

The staff may be able to alert you if a dog with similar characteristics becomes available for adoption.

Facebook is a great way to connect with the Wetterhoun community. People within these circles may be able to direct you to Wetterhounen that need new homes.

Petfinder, Adoptapet and Getyourpet are also helpful online resources for adoption.

Many of the dogs in shelters and rescue groups are adults, but there are lots of benefits to adopting an adult dog. Adult Wetterhounen have already outgrown the puppy stage and require less exercise, training and supervision than a puppy or adolescent.

When you choose to adopt through a rescue group or an animal shelter, the Wetterhoun cost will be significantly less than when you buy a puppy through a breeder.

Finding a Wetterhoun for Sale from a Responsible Breeder

If your heart is set on a Wetterhoun puppy, you will have to find a reputable breeder.

There are very few Wetterhoun breeders in the United States so it could take some time.

Once you find a reputable breeder, you may have to be placed on a waiting list until a puppy becomes available.

When it comes to finding an ethical breeder, a good place to start is with the American Kennel Club. You can contact them for a list of Wetterhoun breeders in the United States.

However, just because a breeder can provide AKC puppies, does not necessarily mean that it is a reputable breeder. There are many unethical breeders that will try to scam unsuspecting buyers.

Once you find a possible breeder, make an appointment to visit the location in person. Be very wary of any breeders that want to conduct all business by phone or over the internet.

When you visit, you will be able to see with your own eyes that the premises are clean and that the animals are being treated humanely.

How much does a Wetterhoun cost?

Since this is such an uncommon breed, be prepared to pay over $1000 for a Wetterhoun puppy from a good breeder.

Since there are so few breeders in this country, you will probably have to travel out of state to collect your puppy, so you will also need to budget for travel accommodations and expenses.

Conclusion: Why the Wetterhoun?

The Wetterhoun temperament makes this breed a useful hunting dog and a devoted family pet.

If you think the Wetterhoun might be the breed for you, get to know the Wetterhoun better by interacting with breeders and owners of this unusual breed.

If you are seeking a protective and dependable companion, the Dutch Spaniel might be dog for you.