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Last updated: Aug 31 2023

The Wetterhoun (Frisian Water Dog) is a dog breed that originated in the Netherlands and was mostly used for hunting purposes. It specializes in hunting waterfowl and some small mammals in the historic region of Frysian. Their original name is Wetterhûn, which can literally be translated as “Water Dog,” some people also call them Dutch Spaniels.

These dogs are considered rare, and most of them reside in their native Netherlands. The Wetterhûn was known for hunting otters; because of that, they are also called Otterhoun (not to be confused with Otterhound).



21-23 in (55-59 cm)



55-77 lb (25-35 kg)





Life Expectancy:

13-15 years

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

This is a well-balanced breed, and they have broad heads with great noses and an incredible sense of smell. They have oval-shaped eyes and medium-long ears. 

They have a dense coat that is tightly curled and medium long. They have several colors that are allowed by the standard, and those colors are solid black or brown, black or brown with white markings, and on those white markings ticking or roan is permitted. Their tails are curled over their backs or on the side of their body.

Frisian Water Dog grooming

Generally, these dogs are not that difficult to groom and maintain. Their coat has a greasy quality as it has natural oils that make it somewhat water-resistant. That came in handy as they were mostly used for hunting in wet areas. You should brush them at least once a week, and they should not be bathed too often as that may result in stripping them of their natural oils.


Brush their teeth at least three times a week and trim their nails if they don’t wear them out naturally.

Wetterhoun - training and socialization

These dogs are fairly active and require daily exercise in order to remain fully satisfied and healthy. If their daily requirements are not fulfilled, they can develop bad and destructive behavior. They will require at least half an hour to 45 minutes of exercise a day.

The Wetterhoun has a sensitive side, so you should not be harsh to them. Use only positive training methods and never use fear, pain, or threats as a training method. Best results are achieved with loads of treats, praises, and food.

Like many other dog breeds, this breed will also need early socialization, so expose your new Frisian puppy to many different situations, people, sights, sounds, and smells as soon as possible. This process will ensure that your puppy develops into a well-balanced and a well-behaved dog.


Frisian Water Dog and children

The Frisian Water Dog, or Wetterhoun, is incredibly good with children in their own families. They are extremely tolerant and have plenty of energy to play with them.

Wetterhoun and other animals and pets

This breed has a high prey drive so they should not be trusted around small animals they could consider as prey. They can learn to get along with them under the condition that they are raised together.



Frisian Water Dog has a life expectancy of 13-15 years. They are generally healthy dogs, but they can be prone to some health problems. These problems include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia

To be sure that your dog will not develop any inherited diseases, we advise you to only buy it from a responsible and official dog breeder. Those breeders regularly perform various health tests on their breeding dogs so they can be sure that their puppies will not develop inherited problems.

Frisian Water Dog breeders

If you decide that this is the right dog for you, now it's time to find a good and responsible Frisian Water Dog breeder. Buying a dog from such a breeder will provide you with a healthy puppy who will not have health and temperament problems. These dogs became very popular, and many unethical and bad breeders started to breed these dogs to earn money without worrying about puppy health, temperament, and well-being.


Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure you will get a healthy puppy.

World Dog Finder team


Updated at31.08.2023.

Breed History

This is a fairly old dog breed that was developed over 400 years ago. The Wetterhoun we know and love today, first came to life in the northern part of the Netherlands and they were completely developed without any sort of documentation or registry. That means that we will never know for sure which dog breeds contributed to their development.

Some dog breeds were present in those areas during that time and some of those breeds were the Old Water Dog, local dogs whose breed was not classified, and other spitz-type dogs which makes them probable contributors to the development of this breed.


Like many other breeds, the Wetterhoun was heavily impacted by the Second World War. If it wasn’t for breed enthusiasts like Mr. Jan Bos, this breed would probably not be with us anymore.