The Kooikerhondje

Quick Facts

- Best for experienced owners
- Best with older children
- Good with household dogs and cats when raised with them
- Medium size
- High exercise need
- Medium shedding
- High watchdog abilities
- Medium ease of training

The Kooikerhondje is a very old breed, dating back at least 400 years. Over the years, they have been known by many names; the Kooiker, Kooiker Dog, Dutch Decoy Dog, Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog and the Kooiker Hound. Unlike many breeds that evolve and change over time, the Kooikerhondje has remained virtually unchanged over the last 400 years.

The breed originated in the Netherlands in the late 16th century. They were used primarily as duck hunting dogs, but were also used as a vermin exterminator. During World War II, the breed almost went extinct, but Baroness van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol who had a soft spot for the breed dedicated herself to rebuilding their numbers.

Despite being an old breed, the Kooikerhondje only received officially recognition by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1966, and the United Kennel Club in 1996. Today, the majority of Kooikerhondjes are located in Holland, Europe and the Scandinavian countries. They are relatively rare in North America.

Kooikerhondjes are good-natured cheerful dogs. They are intelligent, eager to please and moderately easy to train. However, they can be dominant and independent, and requires a solid pack leader they can respect. They are best suited for experienced dog owners. They respond wonderfully to firm consistent positive reward focused training. They can be sensitive dogs that do not respond well to harsh treatment.

Kooikerhondjes are adaptable dogs that fit well into almost any environment, city or country, house or apartment. When adequately exercised, they are usually quiet and calm inside. They are generally reserved with stranger, taking their time to get to know them before they become friendly with them. They bond very closely with their family, and are alert and protective, making them good home watchdogs and guardians. Some can get overprotective and territorial, so early and thorough training and socialization is very important to ensure they do not become dangerous.

Kooikerhondje are playful fun loving dogs. They do well with children, when raised with them, but some find the rough housing of rambunctious youngsters a bit too much to handle so are best suited for home with older children or no children. They are good with household dog and cats they have been raised with, but can be aggressive with strange dogs. Early and though socialization with other dogs can help decrease canine aggression problems.

Kooikerhondjes are hardworking dogs that possess a great stamina and drive. They like to be active and do not enjoy a sedentary life style. When ill exercised they can be destructive and troublemaking. Kooikerhondjes require a couple for hours of exercise daily to keep them fit and happy. They love swimming, hiking and retrieving, make excellent jogging or bicycling companions. They are excellent dogs to train for agility and obedience trials, flyball, tracking and field trials, and conformation shows. Care should be taken when allowing them off lead as their hunting instincts can get the better of them and they can be off in pursuit of prey or following an interesting scent in moments.

Appearance and Grooming:
The Kooikerhondje is a medium sized dog that measures 14-16 inches at their withers and weighs 30-40 pounds when full grown. The breed has a very spaniel-like look with long hanging ears, medium length wavy coats and feathered tails. Their coats are predominantly white with red, orange or chestnut patches, and sometimes black ear tipping. Their coats are waterproof and require minimal grooming as it does not hold dirt or tat easily; usually a quick brushing once a week is enough to keep them neat and tidy. They are average shedders.

The Kooikerhondje is a hardy breed. However, due to their small gene pool, they are susceptible to a few hereditary health issues. Owners should watch for von Willebrand’s disease, cataracts, patellar luxation, epilepsy and hereditary nectrotizing myelopathy. Fortunately, due to good breeding practicing, occurrences of these conditions are rare. Perspective owners are best to buy from a breeder who does all the necessary health tests and offers a health guarantee.


Located in: Sporting