Kooikerhondje, Working Dog

The Kooikerhondje or Kooiker Hound, is a small spaniel-type breed ancestry that was originally used as a of dog of Dutch working dog, particularly in duck hunting and tolling. Kooikers were popular in the 17th and 18th century and appeared in the paintings of Rembrandt and Jan Steen. The breed is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States and Canada, where it is still relatively unknown.

The Kooikerhondje was developed in the Netherlands around the sixteenth century to be a tolling breed. They were used to lure and drive ducks into koois (cages in the form of canals with traps at the ends), where the hunter could easily catch the fowl; and are named after this type of technique. The dog breed almost became extinct after World War II until Baroness van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol rescued it. The breed was only officially recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1971 and has since been imported into other countries and recognised officially. The breed is still relatively unknown in North America and not yet recognized as a breed in the USA or Canada, although it has been accepted into the AKC's FSS program. In the United States, both the UKC and ARBA recognize the dog breed.

Kooikerhondje Appearance

These dogs are around 35 to 40 cm (14 to 16 inches) high at the withers with a nearly square body that is slightly longer than their height at the shoulders. Kooikerhondjes should weigh 9 to 11 kg (20-24 pounds). They have long, hanging ears with wispy tips (called earrings) that are set close to the head and upright, feathered tails. The dog breeds has a waterproof coat that does not require clipping, with a well-developed undercoat.

They have shiny bicoloured coats, often predominantly white and chestnut. The fur is medium long and either slightly wavy or straight. For conformation showing, dogs with black ear tips and white tails are preferred. Tri-coloration occurs, but is not a recognized variation.

Kooikerhondje Temperament

Kooikers are intelligent, alert, active, agile dogs, generally with a benevolent nature. However, they can be extremely territorial and will bark at strangers. They are usually good swimmers and can generally adapt to different levels of exercise.

Kooikerhondje Health

Kooikers have good appetites and a tendency to put on weight easily. They have a relatively small genetic base, so hereditary diseases are somewhat prevalent. These include:

  • von Willebrand's disease, a blood clotting disorder
  • Cataracts
  • Patellar luxation
  • Epilepsy
  • Hereditary Necrotizing Myelopathy, a degenerative disease similar to Multiple sclerosis

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