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Drentse Patrijshond

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Drentsche Patrijshond is a medium to large breed from the Netherlands bred to hunt and also serve as a working dog to remove vermin and act as a draft animal. It is a very old breed having been around for centuries but in fact was not formally recognized until the 20th century. Today it is one of the most popular gundogs in the Netherlands and is also enjoyed as a loyal, affectionate and sweet family companion. Other names it is known by include the Dutch Partridge Dog, Dutch Gundog, Drentse Patrijshond, Drentse Partridge Dog and Drent.
The Drentsche Patrijshond at a Glance
Name Drentsche Patrijshond
Other names Dutch Gundog, Dutch Partridge Dog, Drentse Patrijshond, Drentse Partridge Dog
Nicknames Drent, Drenthe
Origin Netherlands
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 40 to 65 pounds
Average height 21 to 25 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Medium, dense, feathered
Hypoallergenic No
Color White with brown markings
Popularity Not yet a fully registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Average to high
Tolerance to heat Good
Tolerance to cold Very good
Shedding Average – some hair may be around the home
Drooling Average – will be some drool especially when eating and drinking
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing High – requires daily brushing
Barking Occasional – will be some barking
Exercise needs High – needs active owners
Trainability Moderate to difficult due to stubborn streak common to the breed
Friendliness Good – requires early socialization
Good first dog No – requires experienced owner to maintain pack leadership
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate – socialization is needed as small animals are seen as prey
Good with strangers Good but wary – needs socialization
Good apartment dog Moderate – best in a home with a yard
Handles alone time well Low – prone to separation anxiety if left alone
Health issues Mostly healthy, a few issues include eye problems, hip dysplasia and hereditary stomatocytosis
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic medical needs and pet insurance
Food expenses $260 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for things like a license, miscellaneous items, basic training and toys
Average annual expenses $990 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $700
Rescue organizations None breed specific but always consider looking at local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Drentsche Patrijshond’s Beginnings

The Drentsche Patrijshond comes from the province of Drent in the north of Netherlands and has been there for hundreds of years. It is thought to have been bred in 1500s using Spioenen dogs that came from Spain through France. For many years they were known as Partridge Dogs used for sighting and flushing birds into the air for humans to kill and then they would also go out and find the downed bird and retrieve it. It is good at hunting on fields, marshes and water and is related tot he French Epagneual Francais and the German Small Munsterlander. Through the 17th and 18th centuries there are several paintings depicting the dog but because this was a time when written records of dog breeding were not kept not much is actually known about it otherwise during this time.

In the beginning when there were not hunters with guns as that had not been invented the dogs worked with people who had nets and falcons. The dog had the same job but the human would either throw a net over the bird when it was flushed out, or send a trained falcon. After some years Dutch hunters started to favor partridge hunting and other land birds similar to that. When guns came in the nets and falcons were swapped for guns. For 300 years this was the dog the Dutch sportsmen preferred to work with.

As all the hunters cared about was its working ability there was no care about pedigree or how it looks. For that reason it was long time before it was recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club (Raad van Beheer op Kynologisch Gebied) in 1943. This was during the second world war a time when the Netherlands were occupied by the Nazis and a time when a lot of dog breeds were lost forever. The opposite happened with the Drentsche Patrijshond, the Dutch held onto it and it was likely also valued for bringing in food during a time when food was short.

Drentse Patrijshond

New Lease on Life

After the end of World War II the Drentsche Patrijshond was also recognized by the FCI who adopted the standards the Dutch Kennel Club had accepted. From the mid to late end of the 20th century it gained in numbers and popularity in the Netherlands until it became its most popular gundog and also developing into the same as a companion dog. There has also been an increase in numbers in other neighboring European countries such as Germany and Belgium. In the 1960s some came to the US when servicemen serving in Europe came homes with some but it still did not become established. In 1996 the UKC gave it full recognition and in the last decade more have been imported to North America. In 2008 the Drentse Patrijshond Club of North America (DPCNA) was formed and is making steps to get the breed recognized by the AKC. Today the small numbers in the US are kept mostly as working dogs though it is becoming popular as a companion in those places in Europe where it is established.

The Dog You See Today

The Drentse Patrijshond is a medium to large dog weighing 40 to 65 pounds and standing 21 to 25 inches tall. It is similar in looks to other spaniel types and some setter types too. It has a rectangular shaped body and underneath that coat is an athletic and muscular dog able to have a lot of power and stamina and move at a fast speed. The tail is long and carried straight but with a curve at the end. Its coat is medium length but with longer feathering in places that makes it seem like its coat is longer than it really is. It is also dense and common colors are white with orange or brown markings.

The dog has a head that is large compared to the rest of its sizing and had a flat skull and a wedge shaped muzzle that has a blunt end. It is fairly broad and a little shorter than its skull and the nose at the end is large and brown. Its ears are medium length, hang down and fall close to the head. They are wide at the base and then taper a little to a blunt tip. Its eyes are medium sized, oval and amber colored.

The Inner Drentsche Patrijshond


The Drentsche Patrijshond is very driven when out hunting and has a strong prey drive but when in the home it tends to more relaxed and calm. It forms very strong bonds with its family and is described as being very loyal, sweet and devoted. It likes to spend time with its family and be included in family activities. It is enthusiastic and playful at times and laid back at others. It does have a stubborn side though, which becomes very noticeable when obedience training but we will look at that in a bit!

It needs human companionship and does not like being left alone for long periods, it can even suffer from separation anxiety. It is very needy and will be demanding of you wanting attention and to be around you all the time. It will be polite around strange people but reserved until it gets to know them. It can be protective but is not a good guard dog and it is not always reliable either as a watchdog. It is intelligent and energetic and hard working.

Living with a Drentsche Patrijshond

What will training look like?

The Drent as mentioned is intelligent but hard to train because it could be so stubborn and willful. Unlike a lot of breeds that are eager to please, these are not that way at all. It is also very sensitive so owners need to be experienced and training should involve positive techniques not scolding or physical corrections. You should use treats to motivate and reward it, encourage it and be very patient. You will also need to be very firm and consistent with it and keep the sessions short and non repetitive. It is worth noting that in terms of hunting it needs little training as it comes to it very naturally, but it does do better with personal hunting rather than competitive as it is slower than most gundogs and won’t leave them for much of a distance or time. Also make sure you give it great early socialization so it has been introduce to different people, places, sounds, situation and animals so it knows how to react appropriately.

Drentse Patrijshond

How active is the Drentsche Patrijshond?

Drents are very active dogs and will need very active owners and to be taken out to hunt regularly. It might be calm and laid back indoors but when it is out it is playful, energetic and has a lot of stamina. It can join you for a jog or hike and even a swim, it will need vigorous play sessions with you and it will need a couple of long vigorous walks a day. Expect to spend at least an hour a day exercising it. You should also give it some off leash run time somewhere safe. It is not the best apartment dog, it needs a yard to play in. If it does not get enough activity and mental stimulation it will be difficult to live with, restless and even destructive.

Caring for the Drentsche Patrijshond

Grooming needs

This dog should not need professional grooming but it does shed a heavy amount so expect lots of hair to clean up around the home, and you will want to brush it at least twice a week if not daily to keep the loose hair controlled and to remove mats and debris. Make sure you only bathe as needed and that it is not too frequent as that can damage its natural oils. Also only use a dog shampoo to clean it with for the same reason.

Its teeth need to be brushed two to three times a week at least, and its ears should be checked for infection signs like redness, bad odor, swelling and such. Give them a clean weekly too using a damp cloth or cotton ball with a dog ear cleanser. Do not insert anything into the ear as that can hurt it and do damage. Cut its nails when they get too long. It is possible it will sometimes wear them down naturally with a high level of activity but if they need trimming use proper dog nail clippers or scissors. Take care not to cut into the quick of the nail as there are blood vessels and nerves in that part of the nail. Cutting too far down will hurt the dog and cause bleeding.

Feeding Time

The Drentsche Patrijshond will eat about 2¼ to 3½ cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. It also needs access to water at all times, and it should be freshened when possible. The level of activity, rate of metabolism, age, build and health will have an impact on how much exactly it eats.

How is the Drentsche Patrijshond with children and other animals?

Drents are great family dogs and with socialization are very good with children being affectionate, calm, gentle and playful too. Children should be taught how to play and stroke dogs in a kind and acceptable way. They are usually also very good with other dogs and actually prefer to have another dog as company in the home. They are more reserved with strange dogs but are rarely dog aggressive though it can happen. Due to its high prey drive it is not a dog you can trust around other small non-canine pets, especially birds. In some cases socialization and being raised with them can help them get along with pets but they would still want to chase strange small animals outside.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Drenthe is a fairly healthy breed with a life span of 12 to 15 years. Some health issues it may face include hip dysplasia, eye problems, deafness and Hereditary Stomatocytosis.

Biting Statistics

Reports of dog attacks in North America that have done bodily harm over the last 35 years do not mention the Drentsche Patrijshond as being involved. It is not known to be people aggressive but all dogs have their breaking points and can have off days. To ensure that your dog is less likely to snap or get dragged into something make sure it is well socialized and trained, that it gets the exercise and stimulation it needs and the companionship and attention it needs.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Drentsche Patrijshond puppy will cost you about $700 but that price goes up if there is transportation involved or if you are wanting to use a top breeder. Take the time to research who you are buying from and avoid untrustworthy and ignorant breeders like puppy mills, some pet stores and backyard breeders. If you are flexible about whether your new pet is a purebred or a puppy there is the option of looking at shelters or rescues. Adoption costs between $50 to $400 usually and there are a lot of dogs there desperate for people to give them a chance.

Once you have found your dog you will need get some supplies for it including things like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and such and that comes to about $240. When it gets home there will be a need to take it for some tests and procedures at a vet as soon as possible. Things like micro chipping, vaccinations, deworming, spaying or neutering, blood tests, a physical exam and such will come to about $290.

Then the ongoing costs are another factor. Basic medical needs like shots, flea and tick prevention, check ups and then pet insurance will cost about $485 a year. Feeding it a good quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost about $260 a year. Miscellaneous items, toys, basic training and license will be another $245 a year. This gives a yearly cost starting figure of $990.


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Drentsche Patrijshond are popular in the Netherlands and some other European countries and has some numbers in North America though not large. It is not really known outside of its home land where it is a popular hunting dog and companion. It can be sweet, loving and very devoted to its owners but it is needy, it will expect lots of attention and companionship and it is hard to train. Experienced and active owners are best.

Featured Image Credit: Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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