The Kooikerhondje originated in the Netherlands as a duck-tolling dog. It is a joy to be around as it is friendly and well behaved. This medium dog weighs 20 to 24 pounds and stands 35 to 42 centimetres. It has a unique coat that is a combination of white and orange-red. It remains a rare breed outside of its home country.
Are considering a Kooikerhondje for your home? Learn about this well-mannered dog of Dutch ancestry.
The Kooikerhondje is a dog breed originating in the Netherlands, bred to toll ducks, basically luring them into nets and traps during the 16th century. When not busy at the traps, it usually worked on the farm to catch vermin. It rose to popularity in the 17th and 18th century, and were favourite subjects in paintings. However, during the start of the 20th century, its popularity died down and its numbers significantly dropped at the onset of the Second World War. Breed enthusiasts were able help to avoid extinction and in 1971, the Kooiker was recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club.
The Kooiker was recognised shortly after by The Kennel Club under the Gundog group but in 2013, reclassified to the Utility group. The breed is credited to have helped develop the Nova Sotia Duck-Tolling Retriever. Although more people are showing interest in owning this delightful breed as a companion dog, its numbers remain low. Only a few puppies are registered in the UK every year.
Appearance and Grooming
Kooikerhondje is a charming orange-red parti-coloured dog with an alert and gentle expression. It is compact and medium-sized with a nearly square body, which is longer than it is tall. It has a curved skull that is as long as its muzzle, a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite, a defined stop, almond-shaped brown eyes, and feathered pendant ears that are proportion with its head. Its neck is well muscled and moderately long, and body is muscular with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs. The Kooiker weighs 20 to 24 pounds and stands 35 to 42 centimetres.
The Kooiker’s coat is fine in texture, medium in length and close fitting, which can be straight or wavy and never curly. It has a shorter coat on its head, front part of the legs and feet, as well as a well-developed undercoat. Finally, its tail is well feathered. According to KC standards, the accepted colour is white with patches of clear red-orange; white blaze is preferred.
Taking care of a Kooikerhondje’s coat is generally easy as it does not have any special grooming requirements. Since it sheds steadily throughout the year, brushing once or twice a week is needed, which becomes frequent during the spring and autumn when it sheds more. Attention should be given to its feathering and longer hair to remove tangles and avoid matting. It can be bathed as needed, about 3 or 4 times a year so its natural oils won’t be stripped off. As for other grooming aspects, brush its teeth two to three times a week to avoid tooth and gum problems and check its ears for wax build-up, redness and foul odour. Also trim its nails when you hear clicking sounds on the floor because overgrowth can be uncomfortable and cause cracking.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Kooikerhondje is an alert, even-tempered dog that is a joy to be around. It may have been bred to be a duck-tolling dog but it is friendly, well-mannered and good-natured. As a great companion, it loves being with its owners especially in outdoor activities. It has a tendency to be shy around strangers but warms up to them later on and is never aggressive. As a gentle dog, it loves children of all ages, although owners should supervise all interactions to prevent any untoward incidents when play becomes rowdy. It gets on well with other dogs it grows up with but cats and other small animals are a different matter. Its prey drive will compel it to chase.
The Kooiker is highly trainable thanks to its intelligence and people-pleasing nature. That being said, it still needs to be handled gently yet firmly and taught who the alpha male in the family is so it knows whom to turn to for guidance. As a sensitive breed, it does not respond to harsh training. It actually loves getting one-on-one attention with positive reinforcements so trainings are easy.
Although there are certain breed predispositions when it comes to temperament and intelligence, they should only serve as a guide since each dog is unique. Other factors contributing to its overall characteristics are environment, training and socialisation.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Kooikerhondje is 3/4 to 1.5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Keep in mind that the amount of food depends on the breed’s age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. If you are unsure about amount and timing, consult your trusted veterinarian.
Typical calorie needs of adult Kooikerhondjes per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 630 calories daily
- Typical adults: up to 700 calories daily
- Physically active/working dogs: up to 780 calories daily
Medium dogs aren’t necessarily difficult to feed since they do not have any special food requirements. Like most breeds, the Kooiker thrives on a diet rich in protein. Always choose trusted brands with limited ingredients. Read the labels and stay away from those full of chemicals that are difficult to read.
Health and Exercise
When properly cared for, the Kooikerhondje can live up to 15 years but certain illnesses could hinder this possibility. You need to be aware of them so you can immediately seek help if you notice some signs and symptoms. Be wary of kidney issues, eye disorders, Hip dysplasia, Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy, Von Willebrand's disease, Patellar Luxation, Polymyositis, and Epilepsy.
The Kooiker was bred as a working dog but is actually not a high-energy dog. However, it requires at least one hour of exercise daily to be happy and healthy. It loves being outdoors with its humans, may it be walking, trekking or playing interactive games. If its exercise needs are not met, it can become destructive.
Cost of Ownership
The Kooikerhondje is a rare breed outside the Netherlands. If you are looking to own one in the UK, you have to be on a waiting list and prepare to pay no less than £900. Insurance costs for this breed will be around £25 to £45, depending on location, premium or whether the dog was neutered/spayed.
Prepare to spend around £200 for basic equipment as you take your puppy home, which will include its bed, toys, collar, leash, bowls, and others. Food costs will be around £30 to £40 a month. Another important and costly expense is veterinary care, which can reach up to £900 a year for regular check-ups, vaccinations and flea/worm treatments, and neutering/spaying.
Kooikerhondje Breed Highlights
- The Kooikerhondje is a charming breed that is alert, friendly and well behaved.
- Because of its gentle and even-tempered nature, it is suitable for families with children of all ages.
- It is great for families that are active and spend a lot of time outdoors.
- It is recognised by The Kennel Club but it is a rare breed in the UK so obtaining one is a challenge.
- It needs at least one hour’s worth of physical and mental activities daily.
Are you sure the Kooikerhondje is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
Dog Breed Selector Quiz