During the Spanish occupation, the Spaniards brought hunting dogs, which in our history were known for a long time under the name Spanjoels or Spioenen. They were rather small, Spaniel-type dogs, which were mainly used for hunting feathered game. At that time the hunt was mainly done with the net or with the help of a falcon or other fenders. The Spies’ duties were diverse. First of all, they tracked down the game.
When it came to hunting with the net, after the dog had located the game, he was expected to lie down for the game. This is also where the term “laying dog” comes from. The hunters were thus given the opportunity to pull the net over both the dog and the birds. If it was hunting with a fighter bird, the dog was expected to “bump up” the birds so that they chose the airspace. The birds killed by the bird of prey were then sought out by the dog and taken to the hunter.
These ancient Spies are believed to be the ancestors of today’s Spaniels, and of various standing dog breeds. The standing dogs are said to have originated from crossing the early Spaniels with initially the Perdiguero de Burgos (Partridge dog of Burgos), a heavily built Spanish pointer, from which later a variety was developed in the various countries and regions.
In Drenthe the Spanjoel eventually developed into the contemporary Drentsche Patrijshond. The breed has been strangely uniform throughout all time. This was probably partly due to the fact that Drenthe and the surrounding northern provinces formed a fairly secluded region at the time, so the Drentsche Partridge Dog was already being bred fairly clean at the time. It is possible that some blood was exchanged with the Heidewachtel living in Germany.
Besides food for the large flocks of sheep, the Drenthe moors also provided a lot of game. It is therefore not surprising that many professional hunters were walking around at the time. The Drentsche Partridge Dog was a beloved dog with these people, not least because it was so versatile. Although a standing gundog, his job didn’t stop at promoting wildlife. To stand for means that the dogs look for the game by drift, keeping their nose and head high. Once they have located the game, they stand still, the head and neck in line with their back, the tail often up and sometimes with one foreleg pointing towards the game. Thus, the dog remains until the hunter has approached. Then he bumps into the game so that the hunter can take a shot.
In England they often use a Retriever to collect the loot, but “our Dutch are thrifty”. Why keep several dogs when one dog can do it alone? The Drentsche Patrijshond also stood his ground as a retriever. In addition, he was excellent for working in somewhat rougher areas and he was not afraid of the waterwork. The dog was also expected to guard the yard in his spare time.
The Dutch are known for their down-to-earth mentality and almost all our breeds are dogs without too much frills, a farm dog. The Drentsche Patrijshond is no exception. He had to do his job, did an excellent job and according to the Drenten it was not necessary to bring in foreign blood to improve the dog. Outside the region, the dog was also barely known, he just belonged in the Drenthe landscape. This seclusion continued well into the 20th century, when some interest in this (then still unrecognized) breed eventually emerged in the rest of the Netherlands.
Like many Dutch breeds, the Drentsche Partridge Dog really blossomed during the dark years of the Second World War. In silent opposition to the German oppressor, flower boxes full of orange marigolds and marigolds were planted and appreciation for everything that came from home, including the native dog breeds, grew enormously. As disastrous as that war was, it did result in a number of races being back in the spotlight at the time. In the middle of the war, in 1943, an inventory of the breed took place and on May 15, 1943 the Drentsche Patrijshond was officially recognized as a breed in the Netherlands.
On May 15, 1943, the breed was officially recognized by the Board of Kennel Management. This was strongly promoted by Mrs. M.C.S. Baroness van Hardenbroek from Nuenen and Messrs G.J. van Heek Jr. from Enschede and P.B.V. Quartero general practitioner in Rotterdam. The breed is related to, among others, the Heidewachtel and the Epagneul Français. On June 5, 1948, the first breed club was founded, the Dutch Association “De Drentsche Patrijshond”.
Nowadays the Drentsche Partridge Dog is no longer an unknown sight in our own country. Here he is not only valued for his hunting qualities, but in many cases is also kept as an excellent family dog. However, you still encounter relatively few Drents outside the Netherlands, although he is clearly on the rise. In the United States, the Drent is even on the list of rare breeds.