A very attractive small/medium-sized dog, the Kooiker dog holds his head proudly and is slightly longer than he is tall, with adult dogs standing at 35-40cm and weighing 9-11kg. He has a medium-length coat that is straight or slightly wavy and is white with orange-red patches. The ears are tipped with black and have longer hair, known as 'earrings'.
- Category size: Medium
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Gundog
- Alone: Less than 1 hour
- Other pets: Low
- Stability as a guard: High
The Kooikerhondje dog breed ('kooiker's dog', also known as a 'Kooiker' dog) has been a recognised breed in the Netherlands since the 17th century, thought to descend from spaniel-type dogs that arrived in the area from Spain in the 16th century. The breed's originally function was as a decoy dog – a job that some still perform to this day. The dog would attract the ducks' attention and lure them to the kooiker (the person in charge of the hunt) and his nets. The breed has changed little over the centuries, as shown in art from the Dutch masters.
A friendly, alert and good-natured dog with people, the Kooikerhondje can be aloof with those he doesn't know but is loving to his family. He can be problematic with other dogs, so early, thorough socialisation is especially important. The Kooiker loves training and being given new challenges.
As a result of careful breeding, most previously recognised inherited conditions in the breed (such as epilepsy and slipping kneecaps) are now rarely encountered.
The Kooiker dog needs at least an hour's daily exercise. Unsurprisingly, he loves the water and will often dive into any he finds on a walk. As well as the canine sports (agility etc.), some Kooikers still work as duck decoys – either for hunting or for the birds to be tagged.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
The water-resistant coat also resists mud – once dry, it usually just brushes out. A groom through twice a week should suffice, but pay particular attention to the longer hair around the ears and to the tail and legs, as the feathering can tangle if neglected.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information