Friesian Retriever Dog

The Friesian Retriever , known as Stabyhoun or Stabij in Dutch, is a breed of dog originating from the Netherlands, and especially from the Frisian region, where they were historically trained to perform in hunting activities, mainly as pointing dogs (or pointer in English). Its name would derive from the combination of the expression ” sta me b ij ” in Dutch, which can be translated into Spanish as “stay with me”, with the Frisian word “ houn ” which means “dog”.

For many decades, this dog breed was unknown outside its native country, and to this day it has a small global population and its breeding continues to be closely intertwined with the practice of “sport hunting.” However, due to their notable beauty and very loyal temperament, Friesian Retrievers can also become great companions for people and families with an active lifestyle, as long as they have access to an adequate education and socialization process.

If you are looking for the “perfect” best friend to share your home and your daily life, keep reading this AnimalWised sheet to learn much more about the appearance, behavior of the Friesian Retriever and diseases , as well as the essential care to provide it with optimal quality of life. Shall we start?

Origin of the Friesian retriever or Stabyhoun

This breed of dog has originated in the territory that today makes up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is very emblematic of the historic province of Friesland, where it used to serve as a pointing dog in the extensive forest regions, indicating the location of the “games” hunted by its owners, which were mainly wild birds.

Although it is difficult to determine exactly when the first examples of this breed emerged, there are abundant records of dogs with a general appearance very similar to that of the Friesian retriever in paintings made at least since the 17th century .

What is known is that their origins are closely related to the Drenthe Retriever and the Little Münsterländer, and that the Friesian Retrievers have developed alongside another breed of Dutch dogs typical of the Frisian region known as the Wetterhoun . In fact, for many decades, it has been a very common practice to cross them with each other, and it would only be from the 20th century onwards that a group of enthusiasts would become interested in developing more “pure” individuals of each breed, since the intense crossings were putting at risk the persistence of the physical and behavioral traits typical of each of them.

After years of work, both breeds were officially recognized in 1942 and the first standard for the Friesian Retriever was published in 1944 , three years before the founding of the Dutch Staby and Wetterhounen Association (NVSW). Currently, the German retriever is recognized by the vast majority of international canine federations, including by the FCI, which includes it in section 1.2 of Group 7, where continental spaniel-type pointing dogs with working tests are gathered. .

However, despite the fact that this breed has gained some popularity within Europe and even reached the American continent before the 2000s, it remains a rare breed of dog of which around 7,000 individuals are registered worldwide. .

Characteristics of the Friesian Retriever

We are talking about a medium-sized dog, with a powerful build , but not very robust, and a body slightly longer than tall with a slightly inclined rump. According to the FCI standard, sexual dimorphism must be unmistakable, with male individuals reaching a height at the withers of 50 cm to 53 cm, while females are 48 cm to 50 cm tall, allowing a variation of 2 cm above or below the ‘ideal’ size in both sexes.

The head of the Friesian retriever is dry, without hanging lips or dewlap, with a size proportional to the dog’s body. Its length slightly exceeds the width, while the length of the muzzle is almost equal to the length from the stop to the occiput. Speaking of the stop or naso-frontal depression, it is important to highlight that the skull of the Friesian retriever gradually leans towards the front , so that the stop appears more marked thanks to the development of the eyebrows.

The nose is well developed with wide open nostrils and is black in dogs with black and white coats, and brown in individuals with brown and white coats. Also in the facial region, we find medium-sized rounded eyes located horizontally, the color of which is dark brown in dogs with black and white coats, and lighter brown in dogs with brown and white fur. In turn, the ears of the Friesian retriever are moderately long, reaching the corner of the mouth, and have the shape of a non-round paddle, without ending in a point. They are inserted in an imaginary line drawn from the tip of the nose through the inner corner of the eyes.

Friesian Retriever Colors

The coat of the Friesian retriever is smooth and of medium length, being thicker on the chest, neck, breeches and tail. There is presence of undercoat and some individuals may have slightly wavy hairs on the rump. Regarding the colors of the Friesian Retriever, the FCI standard defines that it is a “bicolor black or brown dog with white markings, but black or brown splashes are also allowed .” Both colors come with or without spots and the dog’s head can be brown or black, with or without stripes. However, it is important to highlight that the presence of other colors or patterns in a dog’s coat does not determine its beauty or its personality and behavior.

What is the German Retriever puppy like?

The appearance of a Friesian Retriever puppy is relatively similar to that of a Border Collie puppy , even down to the bicolor black and brown pattern of its coat. However, as the child develops the differences between these breeds become evident. It is also interesting to mention that the fur that covers the entire body of puppy Friesian retrievers is much less voluminous, especially in regions where we find thicker fur in adult individuals. However, the most important thing is to keep in mind that childhood is a critical period for the optimal physical, cognitive and social development of all dogs, whether mixed breed or purebred.

In this sense, to prevent your Friesian retriever puppy from having learning difficulties or behavioral problems throughout its life, the first step is not to separate it prematurely from its mother and siblings , since until the weaning period is complete, The “mother dog” will be responsible for teaching her puppies the basic principles of social behavior and communication in dogs, as well as the limits of play. After arriving at his new home, your little Friesian retriever will gradually develop a series of exploratory behaviors to begin to explore and interact with this new environment and the individuals and resources found there. Here, practices such as putting almost everything he finds in his mouth, biting different household objects or items of clothing, or even uttering light bites are common.

Character of the Friesian Retriever

It is a very independent dog, but extremely affectionate and loyal to the members of its family unit . In addition, they have enormous versatility (which, according to what they say, would have inspired their name in the ancient Frisian language) and also a certain stubbornness, although they can respond well to training, as long as they are well stimulated through the correct use of positive reinforcement . However, keeping him is not highly recommended for beginner tutors , since his education requires patience and knowledge, nor for those looking for a typical “lapdog.”

Friesian Retrievers generally enjoy living in the countryside or in larger homes with good outdoor space. And although they are not hyperactive on a daily basis, they do need to get plenty of exercise to maintain a balanced behavior and will adapt better to people and families who also enjoy leading an active life .

Furthermore, the German Retriever is a very self-confident dog, so behavioral problems related to excessive fear and aggression are usually the clear result of poor socialization and/or systematic exposure to scolding, physical punishment or other types of animal abuse.

Care of the Friesian Retriever

On a day-to-day basis, Friesian Retrievers should receive the fundamental care for everything and any dog, which is based on the following guidelines:

  • Food : the Friesian retriever will need a complete and balanced diet , regardless of the type of diet you choose to offer your furry friend, it is essential that it is compatible with the nutritional requirements of each stage of his life .
  • Exercise : A sedentary dog ​​living in an impoverished environment is more prone to symptoms of stress, separation anxiety, and behavioral problems associated with destructiveness. To prevent all this, we strongly recommend that you invest in environmental enrichment and, considering the Stabij’s accentuated hunting instinct, it may be a good idea to start him in searching or seeding for dogs , which will allow him to deploy his olfactory skills and intelligence without the need to involve him in hunting activities.
  • Hygiene : as we have seen, regular physical exercises will be key for a Friesian Retriever to remain healthy physically and mentally, preventing behavioral problems and facilitating the management of a healthy weight. Therefore, we recommend that, beyond taking at least three daily walks with your best friend, you evaluate the benefits of introducing him to a canine sport. The beautiful bicolor coat of the Friesian Retriever will need regular brushing (at least once or twice a week) to stay shiny and healthy, preventing the accumulation of dead hairs and impurities (keep in mind that the frequency of brushing may increase during the seasons. of molting). At the same time, baths can be reserved for occasions when your furry friend is really dirty and needs deeper sanitation to eliminate dirt and/or bad odors from their skin and hair. Keep in mind that bathing your dog excessively helps eliminate the natural layer of fat that covers and protects its entire body, leaving it more vulnerable to numerous health problems. And whenever you decide to bathe your dog at home , remember to use natural products or products suitable for canine use.
  • Preventive medicine : which is based on the application of the essential vaccines provided in the dog calendar , periodic deworming against internal and external parasites, and at least one or two annual visits to the veterinarian to verify their health.

The dog’s freedom of expression must be taken into account , since it is one of the basic freedoms of animal welfare and consists of allowing your dog to be what it is: a dog. That is, allowing it to express itself and act as dogs do, without subjecting it to any humanization practice or systematic repression of its instinctive behaviors or physiological needs. In this sense, it is essential that you are aware that it is your responsibility, as a guardian, to teach your best friend what it means to “behave well” before reprimanding him for “behaving badly,” as well as to choose the most beneficial methods for this purpose.

Education of the Friesian Retriever

It is essential that you take your dog’s education very seriously from the moment it arrives at home , and preferably from its first months of life. To help you, at AnimalWised we explain how to start training a puppy and share some tips for training adopted adult dogs.

Also during childhood, and preferably before his third or fourth month of life, it is highly recommended that you begin to socialize your Friesian Retriever puppy, to encourage the assimilation of a greater number of resources for managing his own emotions and optimizing the recognition of a greater diversity of friendly species. For safety reasons, it is not recommended to take unvaccinated puppies outside , but you can start socializing your little retriever by introducing him to other dogs and animals that you know are healthy, vaccinated and dewormed, either in your home or in an environment neutral with healthy conditions. Once you have completed its first cycle of mandatory vaccines and the first deworming, you can begin to walk your puppy on the street and other outdoor places to give him the opportunity to continue interacting with a greater variety of individuals, environments and stimuli.

This will also be the perfect occasion to teach your puppy to defecate outside and begin to introduce him to some basic obedience commands to stimulate his intelligence and encourage more stable behavior inside and outside the home. Here we enter more properly into the field of dog training, which is not the same as education, but is equally necessary for the optimal physical and cognitive development of the Friesian retriever. And if you would like to train your dog at home (and we recommend that you do), remember to follow a progressive logic when teaching him, starting with the simplest commands and always working on them one by one until your furry friend is able to reproduce them correctly. a fluid way.

In addition, it is important to have short training sessions (no more than 15 minutes) so as not to overload your best friend, and carefully choose the environment where you carry out these sessions, since an excess of visual, sound and olfactory stimuli will easily divert your focus of attention. For more advice, we invite you to learn about the 5 dog training tricks that every tutor should know .

Friesian Retriever Health

When they receive all the essential care to guarantee their physical and mental well-being, Friesian Retrievers become very strong and versatile dogs, whose average life expectancy is around 13 years , and can reach up to 15 years in optimal conditions.

Although the Stabyhoun dog does not show an expressive genetic predisposition to most of the hereditary diseases that commonly affect most dog breeds, a moderate incidence of hip and elbow dysplasias is reported , mainly in elderly individuals or those that have been exposed to very intense physical activities throughout their lives.

Additionally, they have a small, but not underestimable, susceptibility to epilepsy , steroid-responsive meningitis-arteritis (SRMA), which is one of the most common inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system in dogs, and congenital heart disease. Known as “ patent ductus arteriosus ,” it is characterized by a constant opening located between the two main blood vessels leaving the heart.

Where to Adopt a Friesian Retriever

At ExpertoAnimal, we do not encourage the breeding of dogs and other animals for commercial purposes , as we understand that abandonment is a sad reality that condemns thousands of animals to survive in extremely precarious conditions and that has serious repercussions in terms of public health.

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