The Furry Critter Network

Dutch Water Dog Breed Description

Back to Canine Breed Menu


Breed Organization

United Kennel Club (UKC)

Native Country
The Netherlands

Other Names
Frisian Water Dog, Dutch Spaniel, Wetterhoun, Frisian Spaniel, Otterhoun

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-13 Years

Litter Size
No Litter Information Available.

Breed Group
FCI-Group: 8 - Retrievers/Flushing Dogs/Water Dogs

General Description

The Wetterhoun coat is thick and curly except for the head, ears and legs, where the coat is smoother; the water repellant coat is described as having a greasy feel. Coat color may be solid black or brown, or black 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 low set and hang flat to the head, and the tail curls tightly over the back. The breed has an unusual, somewhat grim expression due to the shape of the eyes, which marks it as different from other dog breeds.

Breed Standard

Head: Strong, powerful, cleanly cut. Broad, slightly domed skull. Stop not very pronounced. Straight nosebridge. Strong muzzle. Nose well-developed, black or brown, depending on coat color. Lips not pendulous.
Ears: Set on fairly low. Medium in length, carried against the head, not twisted. Covered with curly hair that is fairly long at the base.
Eyes: Medium-sized, oval, slightly slanted. Dark brown or brown, depending on coat color.
Body: Very sturdy. Square build. Neck short, strong, without dewlap. Broad chest. Well-sprung ribs. Strong loin. Moderate tuck-up.Short, straight back. Fairly level croup.
Tail: Long and curled, carried above the croup or on the side.
Hair: Except for the head and legs, the entire body is covered with thick curls of stiff, thick hair that is fairly harsh and oily to the touch.
Coat: Solid black or brown, black with white spots, or brown with white spots. A combination coat and patches are allowed.
Size: Ideal: Dog: 59 cm (23 in); bitch: 55 cm (22 in).
Weight: Approx. 25 kg (55 lb).


Wetterhoun is Dutch for "water dog." Developed by the efficient breeders of the Dutch province of Friesland at least 400 years ago, this rare breed is seldom seen outside its native land. It was most likely descended from the Old Water Dog, a breed that contributed to a number of modern-day spaniel types but is now extinct. The Wetterhoun was developed at the same time as the Stabyhoun. The Wetterhoun specializes in locating and killing otters. After otters became more manageable in the northern parts of the Netherlands, the breed was used to hunt small land mammals such as polecats, and to guard farms. The Wetterhoun is a rugged, well-built and effective gundog capable of flushing and retrieving on both land and water.


This breed is an excellent gun dog, effective as both a land and water retriever, however its strong will and natural guarding abilities make early training a requirement. The breed standard describes the breed's temperament as reserved and "an ideal guard-dog", though never aggressive, which makes it an excellent family-dog. Although described as "strong willed" the Wetterhoun is never stubborn or wilfully disobedient. Perseverance is a much better term, because they finish what they started, whatever it takes. Imperturbable they finish what they think to be their task. Thereby the breed is sensitive and should never be treated or trained harshly. Brought-up and used to children they are tolerant to children to the point where the dog should be protected against the children instead the other way around.

He is not a city dog. He needs space and lots exercise, as well as regular brushing and combing.


Hunting Dog, Companion Dog.


This is a very hearty breed. No known health problems.

Back to Canine Breed Menu

Featured Rescues

"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"

laptop pro


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

laptop pro


If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

laptop pro

Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.