Breed standard Wetterhoun

  • FCI Standard: no. 221 (Augustus 2023)
  • FCI Classification: Group 8 Retrievers, Flushing Dogs, Water Dogs, Section 3 Water Dogs, with working trial
  • Land of origin: Netherlands
  • Utilization: Hunting dog, water dog, traditionally otter hunting, guarding the yard.
  • Acceptance date FCI: 21 december 1959

Brief historical summary

Supposedly brought by gypsies and / or sailors from countries around the Baltic Sea. In the 19th and 20th century they were used to pull dog carts, but were mostly used as a hunting dog on the otter and other small predators.
The Wetterhoun was mainly found in water rich areas in Friesland; the northern part of the Netherlands. In the early 20th century, the Wetterhoun and the Stabijhoun were regularly crossbred with each other, threatening to undermine the unique variety of each.
In 1938, a group of enthusiasts of the ‘Kynologenclub Fryslân’ began purifying the breed again and, in 1942, both breeds were officially recognized. Important names connected with this process were:  J. Bos, T. van Dijk, B. de Graaf and W. Hoeksema. The first standard was dated February 10, 1944. The current population (2013) is about 1000 dogs worldwide.

General apperance

A simple dog, overall picture square, powerful build, compact without being heavy or cumbersome.

Important proportions

The withers height compared to body length, measured from prosternum to the point of the buttock, has a ratio of 1: 1 The distance between the withers to the elbow is equal to the distance from the elbow to the ground.

Behaviour / temperament

The Wetterhoun is self-willed by nature. As a family pet, the Wetterhoun is affectionate. In and around the house, the Wetterhoun is watchful and keen to catch vermin. The Wetterhoun can initially be reserved with strangers, but should not be fearful.


Dry. Size in proportion to the body, robust and powerful. Must clearly show its gender. Skull (from stop to occiput) is slightly longer than the muzzle (from stop to point of nose).

Cranial region: Shape of skull, direction of axes of skull and muzzle should be parallel.
Skull: Slightly arched, giving the impression of being broader than long, gently sloping into the cheeks.
Stop: The transition from skull to muzzle is gradual and only marked slightly.

Facial region:
Nose: Black for dogs with a black basecoat colour. Brown for dogs with a brown basecoat colour. Well developed, with well opened nostrils.
Muzzle: Broad and firm with a straight nasal bridge.
Lips: Tightly fitting.
Jaws/Teeth: Powerful scissor bite and complete. According to the teeth formula.
Cheeks: Cheek muscles are moderately developed.


Medium sized, oval shaped with tight fitting eyelids. The eyes are placed slightly oblique, which is part of creating a grim expression.
Colour dark brown for dogs with a black base colour and brown for dogs with a brown base colour.


Set moderately low. The ear auricle is not too wide open, so the ears are worn smoothly against the head without a fold. The ears are moderately long and have the shape of a mason’s trowel. The hair of the ear is a typical characteristic of the breed. It is curled, rather long at the base of the ear, decreasing in length to the lower 1/3 part where the ear is covered with short hair.


Short and powerful, round, merging into the topline with a very blunt angle, resulting in the head being carried low while moving. The neck is slightly arched without throatiness.


Very powerful, muscular.

Top line: Level.
Withers: Strong, not prominent.
Back: Straight and short.
Loin: Powerful.
Croup: Slightly sloping.
Chest: Viewed from the front, the chest is rather broad, showing more width than depth, so the fore legs are rather wide apart. The underside of the ribcage should not be pointy nor lower than the elbow. Ribs well-rounded with well developed last ribs.
Underline and belly: Contour of underline, shape of belly and flanks smooth lined and the belly moderately tucked up.


Long, and rolled into a spiral carried over or alongside of the croup.


General appearance: Muscular and sufficient angulation, straight legs, fairly far apart.
Shoulder: Well connected to the body. Shoulder blade moderately inclined.
Upper arm: Sufficient angulated relative to the scapula.
Elbow: Fitting closely to the ribs.
Forearm: Strong, straight and parallel.
Carpus (Wrist): Powerful, straight when seen from the front, slightly sloping when seen from the side.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Slightly sloping
Forefeet: Powerful, round feet, toes well developed and arched and pointing forward. Closed. Paw pads strong.

General appearance: Moderate angulated. Hocks parallel as seen from the rear.
Thigh: Strong, moderate angulation with the hip joint.
Stifle (Knee): Slightly angulated.
Lower thigh: Of good length.
Hock joint: Set low.
Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Relatively short.
Hind feet: Similar to forefeet.


Powerful, sufficient drive. When viewed from the front, the Wetterhoun has fairly broad movement. While moving, the head is carried slightly above the topline. Tends to pace, which is less desirable, but acceptable.


Firm, well fitting, without wrinkles or folds


Hair: Dense curls: these are solid, firm curls of hair bundles. The hair itself is quite coarse and feels greasy. Head and legs are covered with short hair.

Colour: Solid black with white markings on the chest and / or toes and solid brown with white markings on the chest and / or toes. Black patches and brown patches, ticking and roan is allowed. .

Size and Weight:

Ideal size: Males: 59 cm, Females: 55 cm
Weight:  Males: approximately 34 kg, Females: approximately 28 kg


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault. The seriousness, with which the fault should be regarded, should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Too narrow skull
• Sagging feet
• Lips too loose and heavy
• Bulging or deep set eyes
• Yellow bird or prey-like eyes
• Muzzle not straight
• Ears, not close to the head
• Ears with a thick auricle

Disqualifying faults

• Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities.
• Under- or overbite
• Insufficient breed type


• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation, should be used for breeding.