Cheshire couple and business owners, Donna O’Keefe and Darren Dronfield, have become the proud owners of ‘Ella’, one of the first Stabyhouns to arrive in the UK.
Considered to be amongst the world’s rarest dog breeds, the Stabyhoun finds its origin in the Netherlands.
About the size of a small labrador, it was originally bred as an all-round family and farm dog, required to work alongside the farmer during the day and to live in contented harmony with children and other pets inside the family home.
UK Stabyhoun Association president, Christina Savage said: “I was born in Denmark where my family had a lovely female Stabyhoun named Blijke. She was a truly wonderful family dog; loving, gentle and very child-friendly.
When the UK import rules changed on January 1st 2012 it became possible to bring puppies into this country. It opened the door for me to get a Stabyhoun again. I then wanted to introduce this amazing dog to other families in England.”
The role of the UK Stabyhoun Association is to manage the introduction of the Stabyhoun to the UK and to implement a controlled and closely monitored breeding programme, to protect the health and temperament of the breed.
Consequently, obtaining a Stabyhoun puppy is not a rapid or straight forward process as Donna explained “The first step is to meet up with a Stabyhoun, to give it a cuddle and to ensure you feel comfortable with the breed. Then, a ten page application form has to be completed before a telephone ‘interview’ is arranged. Assuming all goes well, a puppy will be allocated for you in due course.”
Christina added: “With the help of experienced breeders in Holland we are able to source Stabyhoun puppies for people in England. And if we are very lucky, a litter might be born here in the UK next year.
“We took the Hull to Rotterdam ferry before driving to meet the breeder just south of Amsterdam.” said Donna. “We then drove down to Calais with Ella for the short return crossing via Eurotunnel. We had to avoid the need for Ella being kept in a shipboard kennel for a much longer ferry return crossing which may have been to stressful for her.”