Extremely rare Dutch Wetterhoun dog breed has first litter ever born in the UK

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A rare litter of Dutch Wetterhoun dogs have been born in the United Kingdom for the first time.

A family in Dorchester has seen the birth of an extremely rare litter of puppies, so rare that they are the first ever born in the UK, ITV reports. The puppies are Wetterhouns, one of the world’s rarest dog breeds, with a total worldwide population of around 1,000.

The breed first appeared in the Netherlands around 400 years ago, and a few years ago, Mike and Nicky from Dorchester joined a program aiming to introduce the little-known breed in the UK. And with the birth of eight pups on April 5, the first ever to be born on UK soil, the population has now tripled.

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Nicky told ITV News West Country: "We are very keen for these lovely dogs to be better known, and they are very lovely family dogs. They have got their own nature, they are a little bit quirky but they are very friendly.

"They’re basically farm dogs but when we had the Second World War of course the Netherlands was very badly affected and the number of dogs declined very dramatically, so the Dutch Club started a breeding programme to make sure that the race of dogs would be preserved."

Nicky and Mike got their first Wetterhoun named Aafke in 2020, and since then she has passed numerous health tests. In 2022, they began searching around Europe for the perfect partner for Aafke in order to breed the first UK-born litter. The perfect match came in the form of Jappie, a six-year-old Wetterhoun from Heteren in West Holland.

Hannah Woods, the breeding advisor for Wetterhouns in the UK, told ITV: “With such a rare breed, we almost have to take a conservationist approach to breeding and making sure the genetics are sound is absolutely vital.

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“Before being allowed to breed from any Wetterhoun, the dog needs approval from two expert judges and has to pass a series of health tests. In addition, all planned matings are scrutinised by a dedicated panel of breed experts before being given the green light. This is a comprehensive process that helps ensure puppies are healthy, and it promotes genetic diversity across the population."

Aafke and her newborn puppies.Aafke and her newborn puppies.
Aafke and her newborn puppies. | Nicola Monks

The eight pups are desired by dog lovers and a waiting list is already in place. But Nicky is hoping to find a special home for one of them, hoping the litter can help further breed the rare dog in the UK.

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