Bred by Hans & Janny Stevens at Stabijhoun Kennel v't Hondsdraf, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Mieke at 12 months after a swim in the local river
We first became interested in the Stabyhoun after the UK Stabyhoun Association (UKSA) held its first annual event in summer 2013 - they held it just down the road from Deborah my Aunt, who told us about it. We wanted to add another breed to our family, preferably one that was endangered and we could make a difference by breeding, but had struggled to find a breed that matches what we want in a dog.
We met our first Stabyhoun in the September, kindly introduced to us by Christina Savage, the president of the UKSA. Her Stabij (short for Stabyhoun) is called Jelske, and she was absolutely gorgeous, with such a calm, gentle demeanour which is typical of the breed. We were quite taken with her and the breed in general, so after a home assessment and an assessment over the phone from the UKSA vice-president, we were approved for a puppy! We expressed our interest in having one to breed, not just as a pet, so we were placed on a separate list of people wishing to breed, as some breeders in Holland exporting their dogs want them to go to pet homes, others would like them to be bred from and pave the way for a solid population in the UK (you can read more about the requirements for breeding Stabyhoun on the UK Stabyhoun Association website - the process is not as straight forward as breeding usually is, to make sure the population remains genetically diverse).
We were lucky not to be waiting long, a few days later Christina informed us that a litter had been born from one of the big breeders in Holland, and he wished for one of his bitches to come to England, with the intention of being bred! We were so excited, but had to wait for him to read our application and agree to letting us have one - they are very selective when choosing homes - and we were approved! We still had to wait until she was 4 months old before we could come and collect her as she had to have her Rabies vaccine to be allowed in the UK, but we watched her grow up from 0 - 16 weeks with great excitement, then on January 11th - inbetween the storms - we went over on the ferry to collect her.
The breeders were wonderful, we met all their dogs, they gave us breakfast and coffee and told us about themselves and how they got to be where they are today. The journey back was uneventful thank goodness, the Stenaline ferries from Harwich to Holland have excellent kennel facilities with a live camera linked to the cabin, so we could see Mieke was fine, and when she woke up we could take her out on deck for the toilet and some fresh air. She travelled brilliantly, taking everything in her stride, and she has been a wonderful addition to our family.
Mieke at 5 months old
We plan on breeding Mieke when she is old enough, but first she has to have an excellent hip score, and be approved for breed type and temperament by two different breed judges before we can proceed with breeding her. We are confident - her breeder sent us his best!
Enquiries about the Stabyhoun are welcome, but anyone who wishes to have a Stabij puppy must first put an application with the UKSA, and be approved by their committee before being considered for a puppy. It's a very regulated system, but one that is necessary with such a rare breed which is in high demand.