The Wetterhoun dog breed so rare the first ever litter has just been born in the UK

  • Watch Louisa Britton's report

A Dorchester family has welcomed an extremely rare litter of puppies - the first ever to be born in the UK. 

Wetterhouns are one of the world’s rarest dog breeds, with an estimated worldwide population of around 1,000. 

The breed is originally from the Netherlands, having first appeared more than 400 years ago.

A few years ago, Nicky and Mike from Dorchester joined a program to introduce the breed to the UK.  

The litter of eight puppies, born on 5 April, is the first ever to be born in the UK and triples the current population.

The puppies are some of the rarest in the world as the breed was badly affected by the Second World War Credit: ITV News

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."

The couple bought their first Wetterhoun, Aafke, back in 2020 and she has since been through and passed a series of health and conformation tests.

Last summer, Nicky began scouring the whole of Europe for a suitable male for the puppies she hoped would be born in the UK.

She found the perfect match in six-year-old Wetterhoun Jappie, who lived more than 450 miles away in Heteren, West Holland.

Mum Aafke was brought to the UK as a pup herself three years ago Credit: ITV News

Hannah Woods, the breeding advisor for Wetterhouns in the UK, said: “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.

“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 given the green light.

"This is a comprehensive process that helps ensure puppies are healthy, and it promotes genetic diversity across the population."

Although there is already a waiting list for these special puppies, Nicky is looking for a very particular home for one of them.

She said she is interested in hearing from people who might be up for the challenge of having their own litter of Wetterhoun puppies one day to continue to breed a healthy population.

Anyone who might be interested in a Wetterhoun puppy should contact Jane Moss at the UK Stabyhoun Association on