Drentse Partridge Dog (Drentsche Patrijshond)

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white with brown markings, with or without spots
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • excellent gundog

  • forms very strong bonds with its family

  • even-tempered

  • friendly

  • stubborn and independent

  • excessive exercise requirements

  • not for an apartment dweller


The Drentse Partridge Dog (Drentsche Patrijshon) is a laborious and hardy sporting dog, which was developed in the Netherlands, particularly in the province of Drent. Although the history of the breed amounts to hundreds of years it wasn’t given an international approval until the 40s of the XX century. Presently the vast majority of specimens are still active or retired gundogs and primarily live in their homeland.


The first descriptions of the dog, which bears a resemblance to the modern version of the Drentse Partridge Dog referred to the XVI century. The exact lineage of the breed can be hardly traced since at that time the breeders didn’t keep any systematic records. Nevertheless the strong probability holds that its ancient ancestors were brought to the region of today’s Netherlands from France and Italy. These early dogs certainly belonged to the Spaniel group and were some of the oldest gundogs in Europe.

Different European regions differed from each other in living conditions so in each area local hunters concentrated on the development of their own variety of a hunting dog. The Dutch hunters became no exception. Their most common quarry was a partridge and other similar land birds and they started to call Spaniel-type dogs Patrijshonds, or Partridge Dogs.

By the beginning of the XVII the Drentse Partridge Dog had already been present in the Netherlands in its modern appearance. In this country hunting wasn’t considered to be the privilege of noble people and this occupation offered a meaningful source of nourishment and income for all social classes. This means that the hunting dog was also tasked to perform a wide variety of other work. Dutch farmers used it to hunt down and kill agricultural vermin as well as to pull carts. The breed also kept their homes free of such urban pests as rats and mice. Additionally the Drentse Partridge Dog provided a pleasant and unobtrusive companionship for farmer’s families and actually excelled in the role of a family dog.

Despite its wide-spread popularity among Dutch hunters the dog remained obscure to the rest of the world for over 300 years. The point is that it was almost exclusively bred for its sporting talents and disposition and its owner took little interest in the breeds’ formal recognition. The situation changed when the Netherlands was invaded by Germans during the Second World War. The prolonged German occupation stirred patriotic mood in the Dutch and some enthusiastic breeders set a goal to preserve national hunting legacy. Undoubtedly the Drentse Partridge Dog was a part of this legacy and as soon as in 1943 it was officially recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club.

After the Second World War the breed was granted full recognition by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). In 1996 the United Kennel Club (UKC) approved the Drentse Partridge Dog. In 2010 it was also placed in the AKC Foundation Stock Service (AKC-FSS), which is the first step towards its full recognition of this reputable club. In the modern days the breed is still owned primarily for hunting purposes but the number of its members, which serve as companion animals, is steadily growing.


For centuries the Drentse Partridge Dog was treated not only as a sporting dog but also as the full-fledged member of a human family. This breed usually develops extremely intense attachment to all people it loves. It’s prone to suffer from severe separation anxiety so make sure to spend with your dog as much time as possible. It is considerate and gentle with children to whom it bonds especially tightly. However the dog and a child need to learn to respect each other’s private boundaries.

Thanks to its friendly nature the Drentse Partridge Dog is usually polite with unfamiliar people. However, the dog is endowed with a pretty strong protective instinct and usually behaves slightly wary and detached in the presence of strangers. That’s why it can be trained in fairly decent watchdog, which will be able to warn its master about the approach of an intruder. At the same time the breed will most likely fail in the role of a guard dog due to its unaggressive demeanour.

A well-socialised specimen of the Drentse Partridge Dog is good with other dogs and in fact it will be grateful to spend its life alongside one or several other canine. The dog-aggressiveness meets rather rarely in this breed. Most of its history the dog served as a truly effective exterminator of such household rodents as rats and mice. The chances are pretty high that it will perceive all small pets as a prey objects. However it will get on with a home cat if they have been introduced to each other early enough.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· eye problems;

· hereditary stomatocytosis;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· deafness.


The Drentse Partridge Dog requires insignificant amount of maintenance. Its owner should brush the dog’s coat regularly and diligently. Weekly brushing will be sufficient to prevent tangling and matting of its hair.

The rest consists of some common care practices including nail clipping, ears’ cleaning and teeth’ brushing. There are no reports as far as it concerns the breeds’ shedding but it’s most probably a seasonal shedder.


The training of the Drentse Partridge Dog can become fairly time-consuming because of its natural stubbornness. Naturally it doesn’t mean that it can’t be trained but it definitely needs an experienced and patient handler, which will be able to become for this dog an unquestionable leader.

On the bright side, this dog usually begins to demonstrate hunting behaviours early in its puppyhood so it can be introduced to hunting with minimal training. It’s crucial that its trainer resorts only to reward-based techniques since the Drentse Partridge Dog responds poorly to screaming or other forms of harsh critiques during the lesson.


The Drentse Partridge Dog is first of all a working breed so it evidently has very sizable exercise requirements. To keep this dog reasonably healthy and happy its owner should invest at least an hour of his daily time in walking and playing with it. The breed tends to become a willing and tough companion for a jogger or a bicyclist but it would rather prefer to run and play unrestrained in a securely fenced area.

On the whole it isn’t advisable to keep this breed in a city apartment and it does a way better in the house with an adjacent spacious and safely enclosed yard. Remember that without proper amount of physical activity the Drentse Partridge Dog will most likely show some behavioural issues such as being extremely destructive, hyperactive, nervous or even aggressive.