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, Canada and Scandinavia, where it is still relatively unknown.
These dogs are around 35 to 40 cm (14 to 16 inches) high at the withers with a nearly square body that is slightly longer than their height at the shoulders. Kooikerhondjes can weigh between 10 to 14 kg (22-31 pounds). They have long, hanging ears with wispy tips (called earrings) that are set close to the head and upright, feathered tails. The breed has a waterproof coat that does not require clipping, with a well-developed undercoat.
They have shiny bicoloured coats, often predominantly white and chestnut. The fur is medium long and either slightly wavy or straight. For conformation showing, dogs with black ear tips and white tails are preferred. Tri-coloration occurs, but is not a recognized variation.
Kooikers are intelligent, alert, active, agile dogs, generally with a benevolent nature. However, they can be extremely territorial and will bark at strangers. They are usually good swimmers and can generally adapt to different levels of exercise. They have a need to work, and enjoy obedience, fetching, and agility tasks.
Kooikers have good appetites and a tendency to put on weight easily. They have a relatively small genetic base, so hereditary diseases were earlier somewhat prevalent. These included:
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