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The Kooikerhondje or Kooiker Hound, is a small spaniel-type breed of dog of Dutch ancestry that was originally used as a working dog, particularly in duck hunting and tolling. Kooikers were popular in the 17th and 18th century and appeared in the paintings of Rembrandt and Jan Steen. The breed is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States and Canada, where it is still relatively unknown.



A Brief Description of the Kooikerhondje

The Kooikerhondje is a medium-sized dog, similar in size and appearance to a spaniel. The Kooikerhondje’s coat is somewhat thick, is of medium length, and is for the most part bi-colored with white and chestnut red being the most common color type. The Kooikerhondje’s most distinctive physical features are the black tips of its long, feathered ears, known as the earrings. They are desirable for breeding and showing purposes. In addition, the Kooikerhondje’s legs are often moderately feathered, while its tail is ideally heavily feathered with white fur. Its muzzle is fairly thin, like a spaniel’s, and ideally forms a perfect “scissor jaw” with the upper teeth only slightly overlapping the lower teeth. The Kooikerhondje’s eyes are dark and tend to have an alert expression.


Two male kooikerhondje puppies playing in a field in Finland.

Two male kooikerhondje puppies.

The Kooikerhondje was bred as an all-purpose dog: members of the breed can be invaluable as hunters or decoy dogs for duck hunting, and the breed was initially developed with these purposes in mind. But the Kooikerhondje’s friendly yet watchful temperament also makes it ideal as a watchdog or simply as a family companion. Kooikerhondje can be easily trained without much harshness on the part of the trainer, allowing dedicated Kooikerhondje owners to train their dogs for virtually any purpose they have in mind–on the condition, of course, that you keep your dog happy by providing plenty of exercise, a healthy portion of food, and lots and lots of the personal attention these friendly dogs so crave.