The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
The Drent is “par excellence” for hunting a variety of game on diverse terrain. He is known for keeping in touch with the hunter; when on point, while awaiting the hunter, the dog will often look back at his hunting partner if it takes a long time to wait. His adaptability makes him suitable for all manner of game in the field as well as in the water. The Drent is also known to be a good retriever. Due to the Drent’s soft nature, forceful training methods are inappropriate. The dog is expected to bark to announce visitors to the home, and is often reserved towards strangers until welcomed. He is loyal, intelligent and a pet of exceptional value on top of being a good hunting buddy.
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The DPCNA recommends following the recommended guidelines of a high-quality dry food and to make adjustments in quantity only as needed (e.g. increase in activity should correspond with an increase in feed provided.) Drents don’t require specialized diets. Some are capable of self-feeding whereas others will eat for as long as there is food available. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The coat of the Drent is considered the be “half-long”, meaning hair on the body is short of a full curl to nearly flat, but has feathering on the neck, back of all legs, and a brushy tail. Drents have a single coat, like Setters and Brittanys and shed twice per year. Managing the seasonal change is generally handled with a comb, followed by a pin brush, finished with a boar bristle brush. Use the comb to loosen and get the bulk of the hair, which is ready to come out. Follow with the pin brush; it’ll do a nice job of sweeping up the rest. At this point you are likely to see dander, and so enters the boar brush. The boar bristles will clean that up, and will help distribute the natural oils and get the coat nice and shiny. If the bristles whiten, take the brush outdoors and pat/rub the bristles on a stone – that is all dander you don’t want in your house. This is also great for people who are allergic to dogs, as they are technically allergic to the dander on the dog. By reducing the dander on the dog, it makes the dog easier and more pleasant to be around. Usually a brief weekly grooming session handles everything pretty well. Between shedding seasons, you might be able to skip it for a few weeks, if your Drent doesn’t carry the brush up to you for the attention.
Drents are intelligent hunting dogs in need of stimulation and regular exercise, regardless of the weather. They are wonderful hiking partners, but also suitable for canicross, or any of the “joring” sports. The Drent also would be good for agility, or other “action” sport where mind and body are engaged. This breed is not suitable for sedentary lifestyles.
The Drent is known to be obedient, loyal and attentive, but on occasion, they can be stubborn and self-thinking. These intelligent dogs bore with monotonous and repetitious activities. Possibly the Drent’s greatest attribute is his strong and innate eagerness to please his boss. Due to the Drents slow emotional development and at times obstinate character, a benevolent handler is necessary with a good sense of humor. The playfulness and enthusiasm that can make the Drent easy to train are the very same qualities that can require training to take a long time to get to exam level obedience. While the standard states that the dog is “naturally obedient”, please don’t think this breed can go without training. The time and energy invested will prove to be well worth the effort.
In broad strokes, the Drent is a healthy breed. Certainly some individuals may suffer from any canine malady, but that isn’t representative across the breed as a common issue or health concern. From a genetic standpoint, the Drent has only a few hereditary diseases to know about and monitor in order to keep incidences low.
The Drent’s eyes should be monitored for the following hereditary diseases: Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Distichiasis, Entropion and Ectropion, Persistent Pupillay Membranes (PPM), and Retinal Dysplasisa. Other diseases or abnormalities which have been found in the Drent are: hemophilia, hypothyroidism, cryptorchidism, hyperuricosuria, significant reactions to poisonous insect bites/stings and the absence of certain teeth.
Like many breeds, hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia should be monitored and all breeding stock screened for. Joint dysplasia is influenced by genetics and environment, so using care during the Drents’ rapid growth period is advisable.
Amongst breed authorities, Epilepsy is considered to be the greatest current health threat to the Drent. Still, incidence rates remain undocumented and unverified; the locus of the disease in the Drent has not been located.
The most common, but usually non-problematic, is von Willebrand disease type-I (vWD-I). Despite a high incidence rate of carriers and affected dogs in the population, Drents do not present the disease in clinical terms, despite what modern science has to say about the issue. Paw Print Genetics has studied this phenomenon and their findings were validated by Cornell University. Von Willebrand disease type-I is detectable by the Paw Print Genetics DNA health panel. While the disease is of interest, it is considered to be of little threat for the Drent, yet the DPCNA is striving to lower the incidence rate in the North American population.
The breed developed from pointing dogs originating in Spain (Spioenen) and arrived in The Netherlands via France in the 16th Century. In The Netherlands, these dogs were referred to as Partridge dogs. In the eastern parts of the country, principally in the Province of Drenthe, these Partridge dogs were bred among themselves and not mixed with foreign breeds, as occurred elsewhere. Throughout its history, the breed stood on three equally important pillars: versatile hunting dog, farm yard dog, and playmate to the children. It is fundamental to the Drent breed that he hunts all upland game and water fowl, announces visitors to the home or farm (without showing aggression or fear), and is an excellent family companion, with emphasis on being an excellent companion to children. These three pillars continue to serve as guiding parameters as to what defines a Drent today. The breed was recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club on May 15, 1943.