Wetterhoun (Frisian Water Dog) - Water Dog

The Wetterhoun breed hails from Netherlands. It was traditionally used for hunting small mammals and waterfowls. In the native language, “Wetterhoun” means water dog. The dog has water repellent coat and webbed feet which makes it excellent swimmer. It makes tenacious and versatile gun dog which is capable of tracking, pointing and retrieving on land as well as in water.

The dogs are willful minded and have stubborn streak which makes their training compulsory at an early age. They make excellent family dog because of their strong dedication and natural protective instincts towards their family members.


They are good with children provided you teach your child how to respect dog’s personal space. This breed is not suitable for novice owner, because training the dog can be challenging. Only experienced owner who are ready to provide the dog vigorous exercise on daily basis can domesticate this dog. Along with exercise, you also have to devote time and love to your dog.

Wetterhoun Dog

Wetterhoun Origin

The Wetterhoun is a Dutch breed. Its name comes from Dutch word meaning water dog. The breed originated in the province of Netherlands called Friesland almost 400 years ago. It is also referred to as Dutch Spaniel even though it is not spaniel type breed.

Archaeologists believe that the dog originated from Old Water Dog which is now an extinct breed. There might be possibility that Old Water Dog was cross mated with indigenous Frisian breed to develop this breed. Since inception, Wetterhoun has been used as gun dog and water retriever. Because of its protective instincts it also makes reliable guard dog.


Wetterhoun Characteristics

  • The breed belongs to Netherlands and is a gun dog.
  • It is quiet, reserved, stubborn and protective breed.
  • Life expectancy of this breed is 12-14 years.
  • The dog is 55-59 cm in height
  • It weighs around 25-35 kg.
  • The dog comes in black, liver, black and white and roan colors.
  • Average price of this breed is $500 - $700 USD.
  • This breed is not recommended for apartment life. It gets anxious by the sound and rush of modern day urban life. The breed is meant for countryside where it can live peacefully and freely.
  • It is a quiet breed and doesn’t bark unnecessarily.
  • It is a suitable breed for adult kids. Toddlers need to be under supervision.
  • The dog needs high intensity exercise to thrive happily.
  • It is not a hypoallergenic breed.
  • This breed sheds averagely.
  • Grooming needs of the dog is simple and infrequent.
  • It is an excellent swimmer.
  • It is not an animal friendly dog.

Frisian Water Dog Appearance

It is a medium sized breed with well proportionate bodily features. The breed is strong with muscularly build up body. It has wide head and blunt muzzle. It has small eyes which is prominent and expressive. The dog has broad chest and leveled topline.

Chest is closer to the ground than other dog. The dog has thick tail which has curly hair and is carried over its back when at alert position. It has medium sized floppy ears. The dog has a serious expression on its face.

  • Size and Weight

Ideal height of the male breed is 55-59 cm while female is slightly lower in height. The male breed weighs around 25 – 35 kg while female weighs slightly less. Overall balance of the body is more important than weight and height.

  • Coat and Color

The dog has course, thick and waterproof double coat. Its coat should be greasy but not wooly in texture. The dog has curly textured hair except on head, legs and ears. This breed comes in black, liver, black and white and roan colors.

Frisian Water Dog Temperament

  1. Personality - The dog has incredible ability to act as gun dog on land and water. They want to live with their family but like other dogs they do not have human pleasing trait. They have a reserved nature and wouldn’t mind having their own time in the backyard. When the need arises, they can sacrifice their life for family protection, as a result they make incredible guard dog. They are always attentive and watchful of surrounding. It is not barky breed but it will bark to let you know of strangers.
  2. Behavior - This breed will not follow you to get love rather it wants you to come to this dog for attention. It gets along with children, if they are raised together. Around well cultured kids, they tend to be cheerful and playful. But teach your kids not to poke this dog else they can become defensive. They are excellent swimmer and enjoy swimming with their family. This breed has a dominant streak and it is possessive of its belongings. As a result, it is not animal friendly
  3. Activities Requirements - Bred for working, this breed requires lot of exercise on regular basis to stay steady headed. Take it on jog, run and long walks. Provide an open and secured space to this breed so that they can run freely and exhaust themselves. Swimming is their love so also give it chance to swim so that they can burn their spare energy.
  4. Trainability - They respond well to training as they are sharp minded. But they do have a stubborn streak which means that you have to start their training as soon as possible. Puppies are easy to train and correct them as compared to strong head adult dog.


Wetterhoun is a hunting breed that consumes more energy, hence formulate a diet for the active breed so that their energy needs are met. This dog’s meal should be high-quality dog food, either home-cooked or commercial dog food. Daily recommended diet is 2.5 cups broken into two equal meals.


Wetterhoun dog can live up to 12-14 years.


Health Issues

The Wetterhoun breed is healthy even though their population is small. There are efforts to bring more genetic variety in the breed. Common health concerns may include hip dysplasia, ear infection, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypothyroidism. It is not a hypoallergenic breed. The recommended tests are severe combine immunodeficiency syndrome, hip evaluation, and elbow evaluation.


They are easily maintainable breeds with minimal grooming requirements. Brush the coat once or twice a week as they are not prone to tangled hair. They have a waterproof coat with natural oil present; hence, don’t require frequent bathing which may strip off natural oil. Brushing also circulates the natural oil and keep coat dirt and mat-free.

Their large floppy ears are profusely covered with hair that does not allow air to pass, and water gets trapped into its ears after swimming. Clean their ears after swimming exercise to prevent infection. Brush teeth a few times a week to keep gums and teeth healthy.


They are not suitable for apartment life because they are active hunting dogs with high energy level. They require a house with a yard to burn off their energy through playtime and exercise. This breed needs active owners to fulfil their exercise needs and mental stimulation needs. The dog can live in warm as well cold climate.

Pet Names

  • Male – Rhine, Meppel, Arnie, Tiel, Assen 
  • Female – Laren, Emme, Breda, Lely, Vaal

Things To Consider Before Buying


  1. They are versatile hunting dogs capable of hunting on land and in water.
  2. They make reliable gun dogs and excellent watchdogs.
  3. The grooming needs of the breed are simple and easy.


  1. Training this breed is a challenging task as they tend to be strong headed.
  2. They are not dog friendly.
  3. It is suitable for experienced owner who can establish leadership over the dog.