By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022



Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Kooikerhondje (hunter’s dog) is a spaniel kind breed of Dutch origin, mainly developed as a working dog with the purpose of luring ducks. It is characterized by a black tip on its long ears which is referred to as earrings, thin muzzle, a white plumed tail and a deep chestnut red or orange coat. Often thought to be responsible for developing the Novascotia Duck Tolling Retriever, it is becoming increasingly popular in Canada, Scandinavia, and the United States.

Kooikerhondje Pictures

Quick Information

Other NicknamesKooiker, Dutch decoy dog, Small Dutch waterfowl dog,
CoatDense, Straight, Medium Flat, Weather-Resistant
Breed TypePurebred
Group (of Breed)Hound, Sporting, Spaniels
Lifespan12 to 14 years
Weight20 to 25 pounds
Height (size)14 to 16 inches
TemperamentSensitive, Alert, Intelligent, Cheerful, Loving, Territorial
Good with ChildYes, if they are not noisy or rough
Litter Size5 to 7 puppies
Country Originated inNetherlands

Kooikerhondje Video


Gaining importance in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in Netherlands, it attained its name as it was used as an eendenkooi (duck trap) helping Kooiker or hunters in driving or luring ducks into the traps or decoy laid for them. After the Second World War they were almost extent until being rescued by Baroness van Hardenbroek in 1939 as a part of a breeding programme.


This intelligent, alert and sensitive breed forms a good family pet with varied temperament depending on the environment it lives in. This strong charactered breed is generally very sensitive, not being able to tolerate an environment where people generally scream a lot or are loud and vocal. Being very playful, they love swimming and splashing in water. Initially being reserved to strangers, they generally open up when being properly acquainted to them. Doing well with children of the family they generally do not like noisy or boastful children or those who handle them roughly. Though they are great watch dogs they generally bark to get attention or at a person who may seem wrong or threatening to them.



Though they do well in an apartment, proper outdoor exercise is good for their physical and mental exercise. It is preferable to keep them in a fenced area as they are good chasers, enjoying running after smaller animals like rabbits or cats. They will form a child’s best playmate because of their love for playing with a ball or fetching anything near to them, provided the former are not noisy or rough in behavior.


Though very little grooming is required for them, their long coat is to be brushed weekly whereas the shedding season requires more brushing which normally starts when the puppies reach three to four months of age. Frequent bathing may spoil the water repellant coat of the Kooikerhondje. Trimming their nails properly as well as cleaning their mouth and teeth ensures a good hygiene. On their return from an outdoor schedule, it is essential to check for tick, flies or any injuries.

Health Problems

This breed is affected by certain genetic disorders like cataract, patellar luxation (affecting the knees), Von Willebrand disease (a disorder where the blood does not clot), epilepsy and Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy (a fatal disease affecting the nerves).


A firm, controlled and patient trainer is required to train this sensitive and intelligent breed. Any kind of harshness or aggression undertaken while training the dog may have a very adverse effect even leading to spoil their relation with their owners or masters. When treated with kindness and given rewards in the form of play or food, they will do extremely well. Socialization as well as obedience training is to be imparted to them since their puppy days to help them get along well with strangers and other pets. They also are to be leash trained as this curious and active-minded breed get fascinated on seeing something new and is engrossed in looking at it forgetting everything else. Interesting training methods are to be adopted to keep them active as they tend to get bored very easily.


Good quality, proper dry-dog feed is to be given to this breed. While the puppies need three meals a day till six months of age and two meals from six months to a year, the adult dog does well with one heavy meal or two light meals. Along with dog food they can be given fruits, vegetables, cooked eggs and cottage cheese, though in small amounts as they have a tendency to be obese. Availability of fresh, clean water is essential.

Interesting facts

  • It was recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1971.
  • Paintings in the sixteenth century showed it to be a family dog.
  • Prince William II of Orange was saved from an assassination attempt by his pet Kooikerhondje.

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