The Kooikerhondje is a spaniel-type dog breed that hails from Holland, which was widely used during the 17th to 19th centuries as a working dog to trap ducks and other game. While relatively widely unknown outside of Holland, the Kooikerhondje is one breed that is quickly gaining popularity worldwide, including in the USA and the UK.
They are relatively small in size, and can be seen in the red and white colouration common to many spaniel breeds, with their plumed white tails giving them an advantage in the duck trapping game, by serving as a lure to ducks to follow the dogs right into pre-set traps! The breed stands up to 17” tall at the withers, and should be lithe, lean and lively in appearance.
As the Kooikerhondje grows in popularity across the world, many potential dog owners in the UK are developing an interest in the breed, and you may be wondering if the Kooikerhondje is a good choice of pet. In this article, we will cover some of the main traits and most frequently asked questions about the breed in more detail. Read on to learn more!
The Kooikerhondje is renowned for being a bright, cheerful dog with an open personality that is well-behaved and quiet within the home. They are kind, gentle dogs than tend to have a happy disposition, and are attentive to their owners and very keen to please. They are adaptable and capable of settling into a wide variety of different living situations, but can be rather shy at first with strangers. They are highly trusting of their owners and handlers, and are very biddable.
The Kooikerhondje requires a reasonable amount of exercise, with at least two relatively long, varied and active walks per day being necessary to keep the dog happy. They like to be able to play and run off the lead as well as walking to heel, and enjoy games, activities and sports.
Providing that they are properly exercised, they are calm and good mannered within the home, and are not prone to being destructive or trying to escape. They enjoy activities of all types, and are more than happy to accompany their owners out for walks, jogs and games.
As a bright, lively and energetic dog that is also very thoughtful and keen to please, the Kooikerhondje is one of the most pleasant of dogs to train, as they are quick to learn, keen to please, and intelligent enough to learn a wide range of skills.
They are able to learn and retain a wide range of commands and activities, and benefit from ongoing training and learning new things throughout the duration of their lives. Consistent, well planned out positive reinforcement training is ideal for the Kooikerhondje, and they work very hard to achieve what is asked from them in every situation.
Providing that they are well socialised when young, the Kooikerhondje can live happily with another canine companion, and they are also very personable, well-mannered and keen to play with other dogs that they may meet when out and about or at the dog park. They can often be trained to live comfortably alongside of smaller pets such as cats, and will often be very affectionate and gentle with cats that they have bonded with.
Outside of the home, the playful, inquisitive Kooikerhondje may attempt to chase smaller wildlife, but they do not have an overly pronounced prey drive, and generally, have excellent recall when properly trained.
The average lifespan of the Kooikerhondje is 12-14 years, putting them towards the top of the range for average longevity for dogs of a similar size. They do, however, have elevated risk factors for a small range of hereditary health defects, including cataracts and other eye conditions, patellar luxation, and hereditary necrotising myelopathy or HNM, which is a neurological condition.
Von Willebrand’s disease, a hereditary disorder that affects blood clotting, is also rather prevalent within the breed’s gene pool, but pre-breeding testing of potential parent dogs has gone a long way towards breeding the propensity to the condition out of the breed in some areas.
The Kooikerhondje is a very adaptable dog that generally lives quite happily within the suburban home, and they can also live quite comfortably in larger apartments, assuming that they get enough exercise. They are calm and quiet within the home and not prone to being destructive, and generally get on very well with children of all ages, and often bond strongly with the family’s kids.
They can fairly be described as a very good family dog, and one that fits well into a wide variety of living situations with ease.