A family who live on the outskirts of Tring have become the proud owners of one of the rarest dogs in the world.
The Manners family welcomed Stabyhoun dog Helmer three weeks ago and say he has settled in well.
The Stabyhoun breed originated from the Netherlands and is one of the world’s rarest breeds with only 34 in the UK and 6,000 around the globe.
Helmer, who is just over two months old, joins Lene Manners and her husband Andrew, plus their two children Max, five and Freya, three.
Mrs Manners said: “We didn’t take this decision lightly as this is the first pet for our family.
“Andrew and I spent months researching dog breeds, comparing personality traits, size, and temperament to make sure he’d be the right fit for our family.
“The puppy application process was comprehensive and included us meeting a couple of the Stabyhoun already living in England.
“We immediately loved them all so didn’t mind waiting for the right puppy even though they are rare.
“In addition to being gentle with children, Andrew and I wanted an active dog that would enjoy a range of outdoor activities, and also one that is known to get along with other dogs when our friends visit.
“He has been absolutely brilliant, a real people dog and friendly with all the other puppies.
“Even though he is only a young puppy, he is so well behaved and learns everything really quickly.
“We thought we might need to invest in a pet gate to stop him going upstairs, but Helmer listens when we say ‘no’ and doesn’t even try when we are not looking.
“He truly is a wonderful little character and we are delighted that he has joined our family.”
Until changes in import rules in 2012, it was not possible to bring the puppies into the UK so the breed had never been introduced.
It was bred as an all-round family and farm dog – required to work alongside the farmer during the day and to live inside the family home alongside children and other pets.
Helmer is one of seven puppies and his siblings are part of a project by the UK Stabyhoun Association to introduce the breed into this country.