The Kooikerhondje: A Complete Guide

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The Kooikerhondje is a good-natured hunting dog that makes an affectionate family companion.

Known to be an ancestor of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, it originates from Holland and was primarily used to lure ducks into traps for tagging or hunting.

He still serves as a hunting dog but also excels at other dog sports such as flyball.

This cheerful Spaniel appears in paintings dating back to the sixteenth century. His primary function was to lure ducks within range so that they can be tagged or shot.

Friendly, good-natured, and alert, the Kooikerhondje is an excellent family companion with watchdog skills, as well as athletic abilities that make him a natural at games.

He also loves playing fetch, especially in the water. His exercise needs are adaptable.

A long, slow stroll around the block or a strenuous hike will suit him equally well. Just be sure he’s conditioned first before you start him on any heavy exercise.

Introduce the Kooikerhondje to cats or other dogs while he’s young and he’ll get along fine with them.

Expect him to be reserved toward strangers but eagerly welcoming of friends and family.

The Kooikerhondje is smart and willing to learn, so take advantage of those traits and begin training early.

Kooikerhondje Puppies – Before You Buy…

A small brown and white Kooikerhondje on the grass
The Kooikerhondjes are agile, intelligent, and friendly.

What Price are Kooikerhondje Puppies?

The average price of Kooikerhondje puppies is $600 to $800.

How to Find Reputable Kooikerhondje Breeders?

Purebred dogs end up in shelters and rescues every day. You can check adoption resources first if you want your own Kooikerhondje puppy.

Because the Kooikerhondje is not as recognizable as some other breeds, it may be difficult to find one.

If you choose to contact a breeder, get to know the breeders so you can be sure they are not operating a puppy mill.

To find reputable breeders, do a check online or get in touch with the local breed club for referrals. You can also contact friends or family for recommendations.

3 Little-Known Facts About Kooikerhondje Puppies

  1. The origin of Kooikerhondjes dates back to the 1500s. Ancient family portraits show a small hunting dog known to be the Kooikerhondje. This breed’s ancestor is believed to be a Spaniel.
  2. The breed was developed to work in duck decoys during the 1600s and trained to weave in and out of duck blinds.

Ducks were interested in the weaving behavior and would follow the dogs, who lured them into a pen or trap, after which they were brought to a market.

  1. The breed nearly went extinct in the 1930s. But in 1939, it was revived by Baroness van Hardenbroek.

Physical Traits of the Kooikerhondje

The thick, medium-length Kooikerhondjecoat is straight or has a slight wave. The nose is black, and the eyes are dark brown and almond-shaped.

The color differs, from color orange to color deep chestnut red on a white background.

The ears have black tips that are known as earrings. Light feathering adorns the legs, and the predominantly white tail is well-feathered.

A good brushing every week should keep your Kooikerhondje’s coat in good condition. The coat is waterproof and will remain clean by itself.

Bath your Kooikerhondje only if he’s gotten into something smelly, as bathing can interfere with the coat’s dirt-repelling powers.

A close up of a Kooikerhondje's face
The Kooikerhondjes are affectionate and cheerful.

How Big is a Full-Grown Kooikerhondje?

Kooikerhondjes stand at 14 to 16 inches at the shoulder and weigh 20 to 25 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Kooikerhondje?

The life expectancy of Kooikerhondje is 14 years or longer.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Kooikerhondje        

If there’s one word to describe the average Kooikerhondje, it’s “friendly”, provided that he knows you well.

Kooikerhondjes are very reserved with people or animals that they don’t have experience with, which can sometimes lead to barking problems or other antisocial behaviors.

Once Kooikerhondjes have had the opportunity to make your acquaintance, however, he will enthusiastically greet you, be entirely willing to learn from you, and will soak up any attention that you’re willing to give.

Unfortunately, they don’t have the same enthusiasm for getting to know other dogs or pets. They won’t always take well to other animals that they are not familiar with.

There’s a flip side to this general friendliness, of course.

They are also quite sensitive to the tone of people’s voice and to being touched; qualities that make them good watchdogs but can sometimes be problematic when he is primarily used as a family pet.

If a trainer is careful and willing to spend a great deal of time with the Kooikerhondje in its youth, their sensitivity to human beings will be lessened to some extent.

Its enthusiasm for its friends and family makes it one of the more charming breeds in existence.

Children can easily upset the Kooikerhondje if they’re to shouting or roughhousing with the dogs.

Harsh trainers can undo important training work and make the Kooikerhondje much less useful and friendly.

Once a Kooikerhondjegets to know his owners and trainers, he grows loyal to the point of legend.

The Kooikerhondje’s Diet

Kooikerhondje puppies between eight and twelve weeks old need 4 bowls of food in a day. Feed Kooikerhondje puppies 3 to 6 months old 3 meals in a day.

Feed puppies six months old to one year 2 meals in a day.

When the Kooikerhondje makes their first birthday, one meal is typically enough.

Sometimes, adult Kooikerhondjes might prefer two lighter meals. You must learn about your Kooikerhondje’s eating habits.

Premium-quality dry dog food provides a balanced diet for grown Kooikerhondjes and can be mixed with canned food, broth, or water.

Your Kooikerhondje may also love cooked eggs, cottage cheese, fruits, and vegetables, but these additions should be less than 10% of their daily food.

Kooikerhondje puppies should be given excellent-quality, name brand puppy food.

You should try to limit table food, though, since it can result in mineral and vitamin deficiencies, tooth and bone problems, as well as obesity.

Give fresh, potable water only, and be sure to wash water and food bowls frequently.

A Kooikerhondje sleeping on a blanket
The Kooikerhondje loves to be around people.

How Much Exercise Does a Kooikerhondje Need?

Kooikerhondjes are high-energy, high-stamina dogs.

They can seem tireless at times and require regular exercise and mental stimulation to avoid negative behaviors.

Keep yours on a leash when outdoors because they like chasing after smaller animals.

They would appreciate a yard, but they can do well in apartments if the family is active.

Kooikerhondjes were bred for duck hunting, a sport that involves lots of running, chasing, and retrieving on the part of the dog.

They still have this predilection for activity as a strong part of their genetic heritage, and you’ll have to be the one to make sure that they get all of the excitement and action that they crave.

As former decoy dogs, Kooikerhondjes thrive on games of fetching or chasing.

If you can find a park in your area, or if you live in the countryside, you can play with your Kooikerhondje by tossing a ball into the brush and waiting for them to retrieve it to burn all that excess energy.

It’s not always a wise idea to give children the responsibility for exercising a Kooikerhondje.

They get upset by unwanted touching, loud noises, or general roughness, all of which children are capable of to an upsetting degree.

If you do ask your children to exercise your Kooikerhondje, make sure they know about the dog’s sensitivity and ask them to be careful.

Although Kooikerhondjes’ loyalty rarely wavers, you don’t want your kids to upset them and lose a week’s worth of dedicated training.

Kooikerhondjes are also noted for their love of swimming.

If you have a dog park, river, lake, or another source of water nearby, you can let your Kooikerhondje drain off some of that excess energy by allowing them to swim to their heart’s content.

Kooikerhondje Health and Conditions

Because of reputable breeders and their strict breeding programs, the Kooikerhondje is a healthy breed.

Von Willebrand’s Disease is also prevalent in this particular breed.

Patella luxation occurs frequently as well. They can also be prone to eye issues, including cataracts, distichiasis, and retinal dysplasia.

Hereditary Necrotizing Myopathy has been seen in less than 0.2% of Kooikerhondjes.

Male vs Female

Both genders of this dog are very kind-hearted and good-natured – this is a breed of dog who has lived side by side with humankind for generations.

Nonetheless, there are still a few differences between the sexes it’s smart to keep in mind.

Physically, male Kooikerhondje dogs tend to be larger than females, although rarely by much – a couple of inches at most.

It’s therefore only the most experienced of dog owners, trainers, and handlers who can distinguish male from female at a glance.

There are also exceptions to the rule, but it’s in personality in which these dogs differ the most between males and females.

Luckily, both sexes have a kind temperament – it just comes out in different ways.

Male Kooikerhondje dogs are often more curious and keen to be at your side throughout your whole day.

They like to know what you’re up to and why, might sometimes bring you objects they like for reasons you can’t explain, and generally look up to you as their best friend in the world.

Females of this breed feel similarly, but can be a little coyer.

Sometimes they prefer to keep to themselves or wander around and examine their surroundings, so a female dog of this kind is not going to be in your face every day looking for attention.

Female Kooikerhondje dogs also tend to not approach other dogs or other people anywhere near as often as males of this breed do.

In fact, males of this breed seem determined to befriend absolutely everyone!

My Final Thoughts on the KooikerhondjeA Kooikerhondje standing on grass

Kooikerhondje dogs love to be around people.

They have been described as agile, intelligent, confident, affectionate, alert, cheerful, sensitive, curious, energetic, and friendly.

They can be cautious around strangers and need socialization. But they can be very quiet and work as great watchdogs.

Whenever they bark, it’s either to get your attention or to ward off intruders.

This breed can be very sensitive, especially when being roughly handled.

While they do have tons of fun with children, they may not fare well in homes with rowdy young ones.

Consistent and regular training is necessary for this active breed, but they do not take it well when being disciplined harshly. Positive reinforcement is a must.

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