AKC Group: Foundation Stock Service
Kooikerhondje canines have been around since the sixteenth century in Holland. They were bred to attract waterfowl with their bushy tails, then lead them along the banks of canals and into a catching pen. When the job of duck decoy waned, so did the popularity of the Kooiker breed. By 1939, it was believed that there were only 25 still in existence. Thanks to breeder Baroness von Hardenbroek, the breed came back full force. Kooikers are a rare breed in the New World, but efforts are underway to popularize the breed worldwide.
Size: 14 to 16 inches tall; 20 to 40 pounds
Color: White and red. May have black ear tips.
Life span: 12 to 14 years
Health problems: Cataracts, epilepsy, von Willebrand’s disease, degenerative muscular disorders (especially nectrotic myelopathy).
The best way to describe the Kooikerhondje breed is FRIENDLY; assuming that the dog knows you well. If he doesn’t, you may describe him as anti-social and/or loud. But when this dog knows you, he’s an enthusiastic greeter and a bit of a shadow. This attitude also applies to other animals. He does fantastic with other companions he’s been raised with. Once that bond is broken, it’s hard to him to accept a new friend. Kooikers are sensitive to human tone and touch. (This is why socialization is vitally important for this dog.) Around kids, they need to control yelling and roughhousing. A Kooiker is so sensitive that a harsh professional trainer will not succeed either. Always speak quietly to your Kooiker, but be firm when he does something wrong. His natural sensitivity to your words will make him (over time) avoid the behavior. Reward a Kooiker with play or exercise. This way you can also sneak in trick teaching or obedience tasks. Avoid using food. Kooikers have a large appetite in general and excess food can lead to weight gain and he will always expect food and won’t appreciate it when there is no food reward.
A Kooiker is a medium-sized dog, similar to a Spaniel. Their coat is somewhat thick and medium in length. Their most distinctive feature are the black ear tips known as “earrings” on their long, feathered ears. (The longer their earrings, the more desired your dog will be for breeding or showing purposes.) Legs feature feathering as is his white underbelly fur. The tail is extremely feathered. They have a fairly thin muzzle (like a Spaniel’s face) and should form a “scissor” jaw. Despite all their hair, the grooming needs of a Kooiker are light. Brush him well about once a week for most of the year; more frequently during seasonal shedding season. Brushing will remove dirt and mess. Their years of service as a duck decoy have made their coat waterproof. This cuts down on bathing needs. In fact, frequent bathing will strip his coat of its waterproof-ness. Only bathe when necessary.