One of the rarest dogs on the planet has given birth to a litter of 10 puppies, which are the first of their kind to be born in the country.
Janice Vittachi, owner of five-year-old Rikje, one of just six stabyhoun dogs in the country, teamed up with a dog association to increase the population of the rare breed in the UK.
The 50-year-old, who moved to Teddington from Canada two years ago, bought her precious pooch in Denmark after finding out about the breed online.
The Teddington owner travelled to Holland for a week to impregnate her dog and, on Tuesday, August 27, helped deliver three baby girls and seven baby boys.
She said: “It all went very well although it seemed to take forever. She is doing quite well now.
“There is not much that I have to do for them but I have spent most of my waking hours counting to 10. Every now and then one will move off but mum does most of the work.”
The puppies have been named with Friesian inspiration and are called Janneke, Kike, Laanke, Mork, Ninke, Ouke, Pylgrim, Rembrandt, Sander, and Tynke.
The Danish-born dog had her first litter of eight puppies in North America, where she lived previously, before coming to England in 2011.
Her second litter of £950-a-pup pets, which doubled England’s population of the dogs, have all been sold to families who will take home their new pets in November.
There are just 3,500 stabyhouns on the planet, making them one of the top five rarest breeds in the world.
President of the UK Stabyhoun Association Christina Savage said: “The arrival of the first ever British stabyhoun litter is truly wonderful. It marks a real milestone in our quest to establish a healthy and diverse population of this amazing breed in the UK.
“Behind the scenes, this litter has been almost a year in the planning as the central Dutch Stabyhoun Association sought out the most appropriate male based on extensive genetic background checks and health records.
“The mating only went ahead when we were sure that there were loving homes waiting upon their arrival.
“Those are the core principles of responsible breeding that we ask our members to subscribe to for the benefit of every single puppy and the breed as a whole.”
For more information on the breed, visit stabyhounuk.com.