Stabyhoun (Staby): Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Stabyhoun Dog

@Hans Surfer / Getty Images

The Stabyhound is a breed that originated in the Netherlands as an all-round working dog. They are classed as one of the rarest breeds in the world, but they are also known for being energetic, devoted to their family and very affectionate.

Breed Overview

Group: Sporting

Height: 19 to 22 inches

Weight: 45 to 55 pounds

Coat: Straight, medium-length double coat

Coat Color: Black or brown with white pied markings

Life Expectancy: 13 to 14 years

Characteristics of the Stabyhoun

Affection Level  High
Friendliness  High
Kid-Friendly  High
Pet-Friendly  High
Exercise Needs  High
Playfulness  Medium
Energy Level  High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark  Medium
Amount of Shedding High

History of the Stabyhoun

The Stabyhoun, also known as the Stabij and the Freyske Stabij, originates from the Netherlands. Their name may have been derived from the Dutch words 'sta me bij', which mean 'stand by me' and the word 'houn' means dog in the Friesian region where the breed was first developed.

They can first be traced back to the Friesland, in the Northern part of the Netherlands. They appear in Dutch literature from as far back as the early 1800s, and it is believed that dogs like them may have been introduced during the Spanish occupation during the 16th and 17th century.

They were often used by farmers, particularly in the forested areas of the region. They made excellent hunters, watchdogs and even rodent catchers.

It is thought that their all-round versatility actually worked against them in terms of their popularity. Most hunters and working dog owners were looking for their dogs to excel in a particular area. This made retrieving breeds like the Labrador, and Terriers for pest extermination, grow in popularity in a way that the Staby never did.

In 1942, they were officially recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club, and they have a dedicated but small following in the Netherlands, often being described as a 'national treasure'. They are very slowly becoming more well known around the rest of the world, with their calm and affectionate disposition and eagerness to please winning people over.

The first litter of Stabyhoun to be born in the United States was in 1994, but they are still not recognized by the AKC as yet. They are currently regarded as being in the top five rarest breeds in the world. In 2017, it was thought there were only around 7,000 registered around the globe.

Stabyhoun Care

Like many other sporting breeds, the Stabyhoun is intelligent and driven. They are a very versatile all-rounder, and they are known for having strong retrieval skills and a very soft mouth. They are also alert, inquisitive and unfailingly loyal with their family.

Part of their appeal is that they have a generally very peaceful nature. They are usually calmer in the home than some of their other working relatives. That doesn't mean that they are low-energy, though. They are a very athletic, intelligent dog. Unless you are prepared to give them the exercise and enrichment they will need, then you should consider another breed.

The Stabyhoun can make great competitive sports dogs, and often excel at agility and scent work trials. They are eager to please and respond well to positive training techniques. Stabys can be known for having an independent and stubborn streak though, so they are not quite as willing as the likes of a Labrador or Golden Retriever.

Some Stabys can be prolific alert barkers, and you may have to do a bit of training to ensure that this does not become out of control. They also have a great love of water, and swimming can be a fantastic way to let them burn off some of their energy.

Their gentle and affectionate temperaments mean they do well in homes with respectful children and other dogs. Their hunting background, however, means that they can have a high prey drive. Care should be taken when introducing them to cats and other small furries. They are a breed that thrives on company and will suit a household where there will be someone around for them much of the day.

Their fine coat is self-cleaning and naturally sheds dirt. They will really only need a bath if they have rolled in something seriously stinky. They do shed though, and during moulting season, it could be worth investing in a grooming tool like a Furminator to help lift out any dead hair.

Their coat is medium length and will not need clipping. The most common coloring is black and white piebald, but they also come in brown and white, and their markings can be a roan pattern too.

Stabyhoun running through water
The Stabyhoun has a great love for water. @Hans Surfer / Getty Images
Two Stabyhoun Puppies
Stabyhoun puppies have a soft coat that will grow longer as they mature. GlobalIP/ Getty Images
stabyhoun dog up close
Wicher Bros / Getty Images

Common Health Problems

'Currently, probably because of their controlled and restricted breeding, the Stabyhoun is regarded as a healthy breed. There are a few inheritable conditions that they can be prone to, although good breeders will screen prospective parents and work hard to minimize these occurring. Some of the conditions you could see in a Staby include:

Von Willebrands Disease: This is a disease that affects a dog's ability to clot blood. It can often go unnoticed until the dog has an injury or surgery. There are three types, with Type 1 being the mildest form of the condition. This is the type that the Stabyhoun has.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: This is when the hip or elbow joint develops abnormally, causing pain, lameness and other mobility issues. There is no cure for these conditions, but they can be managed with treatment and lifestyle plans.

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): This is a potentially fatal heart condition that presents from birth, and it involves a major blood vessel that doesn't properly close. It can be treated, but it does need to be spotted first. There is currently research being carried out to understand more about this problem in the Stabyhoun.

Diet and Nutrition

Like all dogs, the Staby should be fed a high-quality diet. Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in dogs worldwide. Care should be taken to ensure your dog is not overfed or given too many unhealthy treats or scraps.

Pros

  • Intelligent and eager to please

  • Affectionate and good with children

  • Low maintenance grooming regime

Cons

  • Can be willful

  • Needs a lot of exercise and stimulation

  • Can be vocal

Where to Adopt of Buy a Stabyhoun

Because of the scarcity of the breed, securing a puppy will require patience and extra effort. The good thing is because Stabys are currently so rare, breeding programs are very closely monitored, and most have an excellent reputation.

A good first port of call would be to get in touch with the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association to find out more about available and upcoming litters. You will have to be prepared to go on a waiting list or travel further to secure your pup.

While you are unlikely to find a Stabyhoun in rescue, don't forget there are lots of other deserving dogs looking for forever homes in shelters across the country. You will have no trouble finding a dog with similar traits to a Stabyhoun worth considering.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you are interested in a gentle but energetic sporting dog, that may be easier to come by than a Stabyhoun, then why not consider one of the following breeds:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!