The Kooikerhondje was originally both a working dog and pet. They were much in evidence around Duck Decoys, but were generally used as all purpose working dogs; guard dogs, rat and mice catchers, mole hunters and of course pets. The Kooikerhondje is essentially an intelligent, active and agile dog of spaniel type with a very happy character.
At home the Kooikerhondje is very adaptable, and his behaviour ranges from the modest to the very playful and fun loving dog that he is. Kooikerhondje will bark if strangers approach their territory, and they are very alert. Off the lead the Kooiker can show his agility and his speed. They love water and are usually excellent swimmers. They are extremely adaptable and versatile, taking as much or as little exercise as suits you. They are equally happy to go for a slow stroll around the block, or go for a long hike around the fields.
Their adaptability is demonstrated by the number of dogs performing a variety of different activities in this country. We have Kooikers working as PAT dogs, Prevent-a-bite dogs, show dogs, working dogs and several who are showing their keen ability at both obedience and agility. The Duck Decoy at Boarstall in Oxfordshire has a working Kooikerhondje. Kooikers make ideal duck decoy dogs as they easily lure the ducks into a chute trap by teasing them with their white feathered tails.
The Kooikerhondje is an attractive medium size dog varying height between 14 – 16 inches (35 – 40 cms). The colour varies from orange to deep chestnut red plates on a white background, with black tips known as earrings, on the ears.
The earrings should preferably be long in mature adults. The legs are lightly feathered. The tail is well feathered and should be predominantly white. The coat is of medium length and is thick. The eyes are almond shaped, dark brown in colour with a friendly expression. The ears are set close to the head, with the distinctive black ‘earrings’ being a particular feature.
Coat and grooming
The coat is waterproof and does not contain a lot of dirt. Once the coat dries, dirt can simply be brushed out.
Maintenance is very easy, there is no requirement to strip or clip a Kooikerhondje. A regular brushing with a good quality brush is all that is required. During the moulting season it is essential to brush them daily to keep the house free of hair. The coat is naturally waterproof due to the grease contained on the hairs, and this grease will be lost if you bath your Kooikerhondje too often. They are naturally very clean and do not need baths very often.
Kooikers are usually greedy, and can very easily put on weight, so it is best to keep a watchful eye on the waist line. Most Kooikers should weigh between 20 – 25 lbs (9-11 kgs) There is no recommended food. They will eat what you provide. However, you should provide a balanced healthy diet which meets the nutritional requirements of a small to medium sized dog. If in doubt, consult your breeder or Veterinary surgeon for advice.
Character and Temperament
Kooikers get on well with other dogs and cats provided that they are introduced to them when they are very young. They are not friendly to all and sundry and are reserved towards those they do not know. However family and friends will get a very enthusiastic welcome. They like plenty of exercise so do not ration them to a walk a day whilst leaving them shut up for the rest of the time. They are intelligent and eager to learn and sensitive to the tone of voice, which means that a tough approach is not necessary, however the handler must be firm otherwise over leniency will bring out the breed’s dominant trait.
Orange-red parti-coloured dog with a nearly square body with length slightly more than height at shoulders. High head carriage. An untrimmed coat with well feathered tail.
Temperament friendly, good natured and alert. A sporting and companion dog whose purpose is to work as a duck decoy and control vermin. Self-confident, keen, swift and tough.
Head and Skull
Skull moderately curved. Length of skull and muzzle approximately equal. Stop clearly visible in profile but not too deep. Muzzle slightly wedge shaped, not too deep. Well filled under the eye. Lips close fitting and well pigmented. Nose black.
Deep brown, almond-shaped, surrounded by orange-red hair. Black eye rims. Friendly and alert expression.
Medium sized, set just above eye level; pendant, carried close to the cheeks without fold, never flying. Well feathered, black tips (‘ear rings’) which develop with age, highly desirable.
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaw.
Well muscled, of moderate length. A slightly heavier coat around the neck is highly desirable.
Well laid shoulder with upper arm well angulated and of approximately equal length. Elbow lies close to the body. Strong, slightly sloping pasterns. Forelegs straight; of sufficient bone, moderately feathered.
Length of body from point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly longer than height at withers. Strong, level back. Chest reaching to the elbows with well sprung ribs. Sufficiently developed forechest. Slight tuck up.
Strong and well muscled, moderately well angulated and hind legs parallel when viewed from the rear. Slightly sloping croup. Hocks well let down. Well feathered to mid-thigh.
Small, compact and slightly oval.
Tail set follows line of croup, reaching to the hock Carried at or above the level of the back. Never curled. Well feathered with white plume.
Flowing and springy with good extension and rear drive.
Medium long, slightly waved or straight; not curled, close fitting. Hair texture not too fine, well developed undercoat. The coat on the head, front part of the legs and the feet should be short. Well feathered tail, moderate feathering to underline and back of legs: never below the hocks.
Patches of clear orange-red on white with orange-red predominating on body. White blaze preferred. A few black hairs intermingling with the orange-red colour and slight ticking are acceptable but less desirable. A black tail ring where the colour changes to white is permitted.
Height: Dogs 37 – 42 cms (14 ½ – 16 ½ ins). Bitches 35-40 cms (14-16 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be regarded as a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.