Drentsche Patrijshond


Drentsche Patrijshond is a versatile spaniel-type hunting dog from the Dutch province of Drenthe. Called the Dutch Partridge Dog (or “Drent” for Drenthe) in English, approximately 5,000 dogs are registered with the breed club in the Netherlands, and breed clubs operate in Belgium, Denmark, Scandinavia and North America. The Drentsche Patrijshond bears some resemblance to both spaniel and setter types of dog. An excellent pointer and retriever, this dog is often used to hunt fowl and adapts equally well to the field or marshes.

Happiest when working alongside a hunter, the Drentse enjoys the company of humans in the great outdoors. Several brisk turns around the park will satisfy it as well. Although it will come home and quietly assume its position on its bed, it should not be mistaken for a sedentary dog- the breed will suffer if insufficiently exercised.

The province of Drenthe three hundred years ago was unusual, in that it allowed the common gentry the right to hunt. The local mayor, the farmer, and landowners in general developed dogs to support their pursuit of various small game. Unlike many other hunting breeds, which were developed by, and for, the elite or nobility only to hunt, the Drentsche Patrijshond was expected to hunt all game, and also pull duty as watch dog, child playmate, etc. Some were even used to pull the dog-carts of the day. For over 300 years, the Drentsche Patrijshond type has been an all-around dog.

Perfectly suited to the walk-up (upland) hunter, the Drent is thorough, in order to find all the game on the smaller plots available in Drenthe. It hunts with good speed, within reach of the gun. As with most European versatile breeds, the Drentsche Patrijshond points and retrieves, and will hunt both birds and small mammals, including rabbit, hare and fox. Today, the Drent is a favorite gun dog throughout its native country of the Netherlands, with approximately 5,000 dogs registered with the breed club.

The origins of the Drentsche Patrijshond are in the 16th century, from the Spioenen (or Spanjoelen) which came to the Netherlands through France from Spain, and is related to the Small Münsterländer of Germany and the Epagneul Français of France. In the Netherlands, these dogs were called partridge dogs. The presence of the partridge dogs had been visible for centuries, as in the 17th century painting The Hunter’s Present, c. 1658-60, by Gabriel Metsu. In the painting, the partridge dog leans against the hunter’s knee, as the man is handing a woman a partridge, which was a double entendre at the time. The dog in The Hunter’s Present is a very large, stocky dog that could possibly pull a cart; showing the range of the early type, a much smaller, lighter dog of the same type is shown in another painting by the same artist, The Poultry seller, 1662. This painting also involves a woman being offered a bird, regarded with suspicion by her dog.

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