The Kooikerhundje or Kooiker, originates from the Netherlands where it was used to lure ducks towards the hunters (known as Kooikers in Dutch) and into their wanting traps and cages; hence the name Kooikerhundje or Hunter's dog. When they weren't out with the duck hunters, they were expected to catch vermin on the farm. The breed has been around since the 16th century, but its exact origin is unknown. Like many breeds, the Second World War took its toll on the Kooikers and it almost became extinct. They are still reasonably rare, but becoming more popular outside of the Netherlands and are classed as a Spaniel type dog.
Kooikers are an affectionate breed and their kind nature makes them an ideal family pet. They are fine with respectful children, but less well suited to toddlers who won't understand the respect/treatment a dog needs. If raised with cats and other dogs/pets, they will be fine. They can be timid with strangers at first and do need lots of socialisation as puppies. Getting them used to different people, dogs, places and situations will prevent future problems - this is the same for most breeds, but more so with the Kooikerhundje. They adapt to changes very quickly and are suitable for most people, who want an active, friendly dog.
Kooikers have a strong character but can be sensitive. They are intelligent and like to learn but require consistent training to get the best out of them. They respond well to positive reinforcement, food rewards and clicker training. Harsh words will not work with this breed. They are an active breed, both physically and mentally and need to release pent up energy. Tracking, agility, obedience and general playing will help keep them calm at home. They love to be in the water and are happy just to be around you, playing and receiving praise.
Kooikerhundje are bred as working dogs and as such need an active lifestyle. They need a long daily walk and plenty to keep their active minds busy. They make good hiking/jogging partners, but aren't always reliable with recall. The hunting instinct can kick in and they'll be off, so best walked on a lead or in a safe, secure area. Once they've had a good walk, they are calm and content within the home.
Kooikers have a healthy view on life and on their stomachs, they can be very greedy, so you have to watch their weight as obesity can be a problem. Blood clotting disorders (von Willebrandt disease) is sometimes seen in the breed. Due to the small number of animals, some hereditary issues do arise, but these are slowly been excluded by reputable breeders.
Their coat can take up to 2 years to grow fully, but just needs brushing to keep it looking good, plus the occasional trim.
Kooikerhondjes have an easygoing and reliable temperament. They are good all round dogs and can adapt well to many different tasks or environemnts. It is important that training is positive and that it starts early. This combined with early socialisation will help your dog become friendly and obedient. Kooikerhondjes need plenty of exercise and enjoy agility or water based exercise.
Health problems that may affect Kooikerhondjes include patella luxation (dislocation of the kneecap), cataracts, epilepsy, blood clotting disease and necrotising myelopothy (a degenerative disease that causes progressive paralysis).
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 12 - 14 years
- Weight: 9 - 11 kg
- Height: 14 - 17"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Companion Dog
- Size: Medium
- Energy Level: Medium
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour
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