Written by The Best of Breeds


Stabyhouns, or more fondly known as Stabijs, constantly rank as one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. They have been obscured from the world for countless centuries. They are mostly found in the forested areas of Friesland, Netherlands. 

The Dutch deeply value this breed. Stabijs have been part of the daily lives of the Dutch for many generations. For this reason, they are considered to be one of the valued Dutch National Treasures. They are the primary advocates of the protection of Stabijs. Today, Stabyhouns are not just trusty companions of the Dutch but of people all around the world. The breed has reached other parts of Europe and North America. 

They have a medium and strong build. They are covered in straight silky coats with varying colors such as black, white, and orange. Colors white and black are common while orange coats are rare and can only be found in Friesland. Their heads are of average size with long pointy noses. Since Stabijs are a hunting breed, their noses have a strong sense of smell and their teeth have a powerful scissor bite. The color of their eyes are dark brown or black and always holds an expression of curiosity and interest.

Stabijs are famous for their energetic and lively behaviors. They are also responsible and reliable partners of farmers in doing field chores. This breed is known for being skilled hunters, herders, and swimmers. If you are looking for an active pet that can independently do tasks for you, then a Stabyhoun is a good option.


Stabyhoun Key Information

Height: 20 – 21 inches
Weight: 45 – 55 pounds
Life span: 13 – 15  years
Breed family: Gun Dog Group

Exercise requirements: High
Good with children: Yes
Area of origin: Friesland, Netherlands
Also Known As: Stabij, Stabijhoun, Beike, Fryske Stabij, Frisian Pointing Dog


Stabyhouns are deeply ingrained in the Dutch culture and literature that dates back to the 1800s. Famous Dutch writers and authors such as Joost Halbertsma, Waling Djikstra, and Nynke fan Hichtum wrote compelling pieces with Stabijs a part of the stories. Legendary Dutch painter Jan Steen also showed the beauty of Stabijs through his masterpieces.

They are well-loved companions and pets of the Dutch. In earlier times, Stabijs were functional dogs that helped do errands. They helped in catching small games and birds and hunted foxes as well. This breed was almost exclusively owned by farmers in Friesland which served as an all-around-dog and assisted them in the farm errands. Since this breed is a jack of all trades, the farmers benefited from their help especially if they were low on budget and manpower.

Stabijs are also great watchdogs, trackers, and retrievers. To further enhance these traits, the breed was formerly mixed with another rare dog called the Wetterhoun. Although the result was good, the breeding was stopped eventually in the early 20th century because the two breeds almost became extinct and they wanted to preserve both the Stabijs and Wetterhouns. The efforts to preserve the two pure breeds started in the 1930s. Up until the 1960s, this breed has been confined in the province of Friesland. The Stabijs were introduced to the world in the 2000s when the first batch of the breed left the Netherlands for the first time ever. 

Today, the functionality of the Stabijs remains the same. They are still the dependable pets that their owners could confidently count on. They also gained loyal advocates who continuously fight to preserve the breed in other parts of Europe such as the UK, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as well as in North America. Groups like the Dutch Association for Stabyhouns Wetterhouns, Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association, and the UK Stabyhoun Association are well-known for their passion and dedication to Stabijs.


Three words to describe them are smart, loyal, and functional.  They are naturally inquisitive and like to learn new things. They will use the tricks that they learned and become an essential part of doing some tasks. Stabijs are loyal to their owners and would do anything to make them happy. They are very protective and devoted to their families. Stabijs are ready to jump into action when they feel that their owners are in danger.

The breed can easily adapt to their environment. When they are indoors, they are calm and have a gentle disposition. On the other hand, they are alert, fierce, and focused when outside.Aside from those, Stabijs are also known for being patient, sensitive, and caring.

Interaction with Children

Despite their skills in hunting, Stabijs are gentle when it comes to their owners and families, especially with children. They are affectionate and exhibit a lot of lovable traits. Since this breed is hardworking and highly dependable, they can teach children the value of being responsible at a young age.

Interaction with other pets

Stabijs get along with other pets in the household or on the farm. Although they need to be introduced to other pets or animals when they’re still puppies considering that they are a hunting dog breed. This will help them get used to other animals and treat them as friends.


Stabijs have an active lifestyle. They are happiest when they are running, swimming, and playing. For this reason, they must receive proper nutrients in their bodies to remain healthy. They can eat home-prepared or commercialized dog food as long as the nutritional value is adequate. 2 cups of high-quality dog food that is divided into 3 meals is good for the diet of your Stabijs. Different ages also require different amounts of food. Be sure to consult with your vet to be able to provide only the best nutrition to your beloved Stabijs.

Food Allergies

No food allergies are associated with all Stabijs. However, if you notice a sudden change in behavior with your pet, it is advisable to immediately seek an expert.


Taking care of your Stabijs is straightforward and effortless. They are made to be self-sufficient and independent. They serve as companions of farmers in their fields throughout time so they know how to care for themselves and others. Providing them with their basic needs like food, water, and exercise will make your Stabijs happy and content.


Stabyhouns need minimal grooming. They are almost self-sufficient and can naturally clean themselves. Their medium-length coat only requires brushing once a while to remove tangles and dirt. They also shed twice a year. During this time, it is important to regularly brush their coat to avoid matting and remove tangles.

Using shampoo when bathing them is not recommended. What’s cool about their coat is it naturally removes off dirt and mud so not using soap is recommended as it can strip off the natural oils on their coat. You can use special neutral dog shampoos when your dog rolled into something smelly to get rid of the odor. Remember to not overdo it!


As Stabyhouns are an active breed of dog they may naturally wear down their nails but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to them. If they get too long then they may break while your Stabij is playing and if they’re too short then it may hurt their paws. As a general principle if you can hear them tapping against the floor when they walk then they are too long.

If you’re not sure how to trim your Stabij’s nails then speak to your vet who should be able to show you how to trim them properly without hurting them.


Daily exercise that lasts for an hour is good for the well-being of your pet. Exercises that require agility and endurance are good for this breed. One thing that is good to know about Stabijs is that they love water! They love swimming and could endure extreme temperatures of water in lakes and rivers. So if you have a pool or a body of water nearby, your Stabijs will surely have a wonderful time! Aside from physical exercises, giving your Stabijs mental exercises will help keep them sharp. Stabijs are always up for a challenge.


Stabyhouns are eager to please and learn new tricks quite easily. They are motivated and focused which makes the training process a breeze. Practice positive reinforcement while training them. This can help them learn quicker and retain their new learnings longer. Punishments or putting too much pressure on your pets could do the opposite and lead them to be aggressive.


Stabijs would do well in large spaces. Having a place to run, swim, and play would be beneficial to their physical and mental health. They are outdoor dogs so expect them to spend a lot of time outside compared to inside the house.


Stabijs do not bark a lot but they will alert their owners any time they feel that something is odd or out of the ordinary. Them not barking too much does mean that they would be good for apartments from that perspective. However, Stabyhouns thrive in nature and large spaces. You might want to rethink your options if you plan on adopting or buying a Stabyhoun if you live in an apartment.

Dog Houses / Kennels

Building them dog houses or kennels would be alright. They don’t require much tending and attention so they can live independently. If you choose to try this option, make sure that you still spend quality time with your pet and not leave them there all of the time. They still need human interaction and spending time with their human families will be great for them.

Leaving them alone

Stabyhouns are self-reliant so they can be left alone. One exception is when you’re still training your Stabyhoun puppy. They are naturally inquisitive so they tend to explore which can lead them into trouble. They can be left alone once they are trained.

Make sure to give your pet an adequate amount of food and water if you will be gone for several hours. It’s advisable to ask someone you trust to check up on them during the day.


Stabyhouns are a relatively healthy breed. With proper diet and exercise, they can live up to 15 years. A great factor that affects the overall health of Stabijs is the environment in which they live in. Having a nice, safe, and caring environment to call home will definitely have a positive impact on your pets’ health and lifespan.

Two of the most common illnesses the Stabijs are prone to are Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and Radius Curvus. PDA is a heart defect that is not noticeable at first. Symptoms appear little by little through time like strong heart murmurs, difficulty in breathing, and abnormal pulses. On the other hand, Radius Curvus is characterized by the bone plates not forming properly when a puppy was injured. This deformity can be fixed through an operation using a ring fixator.

While epilepsy used to be an issue for Stabijs, it has been almost completely eradicated by breeders through proper breeding. However, a very small number of Stabjis still acquired the illness because of irresponsible breeders.

Older age

Stabyhouns can develop non-particular cancer or arthritis in their old age. Having a healthy lifestyle could help lower the chances of these illnesses occurring in your Stabij. We recommend regular visits to the vet throughout their life to identify any issues early.


Stabijs are not prone to develop any allergies while growing up. Although this is a case-by-case basis and there is no one-size-fits-all rule in dog allergies. It is good to regularly visit your local vet to have your Stabijs checked if they show symptoms of allergies.

Wrapping up

The term Stabyhoun was derived from the Frisian language which means “stand by me dog”. Stabijs remain true to that definition. They are reliable in doing chores and being great companions at home and in the fields. They have mastered the skills of hunting and retrieving. Stabijs have unique and special quirks that make them lovable.

There are about 7,000 Stabijs left in existence which makes them precious and very rare. Stabijs with orange coats are even closer to extinction. As pet owners and lovers, it is our responsibility to make sure that this breed is protected and that new generations will be able to meet this awesome breed! Learn how you can be stewards of Stabijs and act now before it’s too late. Spread the word and promote the conservation of Stabyhouns!

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