Kooikerhondje: Everything You Need to Know

The good-natured Kooikerhondje hunting dog breed makes an affectionate family companion. Suspected to be an ancestor of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, they hail from Holland and were used to lure ducks into traps for hunting or tagging. They still serve as hunting dogs, but also excel at other dog sports such as flyball.

Although these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of shelters or rescues. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if you want to bring a dog home.

Kooikerhondjes have plenty of energy, so they’ll need lots of exercises. Make sure your pooch gets enough daily walks, and consider training them for dog sports competitions — or just for fun. Couch potatoes beware! These dogs will be much happier if you can provide the mental and physical stimulation they crave.

No, the name doesn’t translate to cookie dog, although he no doubt enjoys them as much as any other breed. Originating in the Netherlands, this cheerful spaniel appears in paintings dating back to the sixteenth century. He served as a hunting dog, luring ducks within range so they can be shot or tagged, much like the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. In fact, the Kooiker is thought to be the ancestor of Toller.

Friendly, good-natured, and alert, the Kooiker is an excellent family companion with watchdog skills as well as athletic ability that makes him a natural at games such as agility and flyball. As a retriever, he also loves playing fetch, especially in the water. His exercise needs are adaptable: A long, 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 Kooiker to cats or other dogs when 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 Kooiker is smart and willing to learn, so take advantage of those traits and begin training early.

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

The thick, medium-length Kooiker coat is straight or has a slight wave. The color ranges from orange to deep chestnut red on a white background. On the ears are black tips known as earrings. Light feathering adorns the legs, and the predominantly white tail is well feathered.

A good brushing every week — more often during shedding season — should keep your Kooiker’s coat in good condition. The coat is naturally waterproof and will stay fairly clean on its own. Bath your Kooiker only if he’s gotten into something smelly, as bathing can actually interfere with the coat’s dirt-repelling powers.

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