Very rare puppies, first of their breed born in the UK, nearly ready for homes

When they were born in April, these tiny pups tripled the number of Wetterhouns in the UK – taking the grand total from four to 12.

Mike and Nicky Jan have been busy looking after the eight bouncing baby Wetterhouns, which are now six weeks old and are about to fly the nest for their new forever homes all over the nation.

These dogs were originally bred for hunting small game and waterfowl 400 years ago in the Netherlands.

The whole breed was almost lost forever during the Second World War thanks to Germany’s occupation of their home country, but special efforts to preserve the breed in the 1950s were able to bring Wetterhoun numbers back up.

However, there are still just around 1,000 of these dogs in the world today, with most of those residing in their native country.

Thanks to the breed’s generally fun and loyal temperament, Wetterhouns are now rising in popularity again.

Before the birth of this history-making litter, the Jans had to get their three-year-old Wetterhoun Aafke assessed by a Dutch judge to make sure she was a good example of the breed.

Then they had to travel 450 miles from their home in Dorchester, Dorset, to Heteren in Holland for Aafke to mate with a suitable dog.

Nicky, 63, a retired clinical scientist, said: ‘We are pretty much sorted now and have got a great variety of homes for the puppies all over the country, some rural and some in towns.

‘They are mostly people we found through the breed club, but I hope the dogs will become much more well-known and appreciated now.

‘They are six weeks now so they are eating solid food and learning to sit and play, and they are doing really well.

‘I think Aafke is a bit fed up now because they’re a lot, but she has done amazing.

‘We have definitely had our hands full. They have taken over the whole house and garden, and it’s a full-time job for two adults looking after them.

‘I will be sad to see them go but also happy that they all have lovely homes to go to.

‘We got our Stabyhoun and Wetterhoun because we knew they were lovely dogs with a nice nature that make a lovely family dog. But also we liked the whole idea of being part of a community and that such care was taken to make sure they have been appropriately tested and genetics looked at.

‘We became very good friends with Aafke’s breeder. And the owners of Lex, the dog we bred her with, came over to meet the puppies. It’s just a lovely thing to be involved with.

‘All three girl puppies are going to homes that will want to have puppies in the future if their dogs are suitable. And I think some of the boys’ owners will also be looking to stud them, so it will be good for the breed.’

Jane Moss, breeding advisor for the UK Wetterhoun Association, said: ‘We are hoping that in the next decade, we might see the Wetterhoun population rise to 50 to 100 in the UK.

‘This litter is brilliant news and a huge boost for the breed to continue bouncing back.’

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