Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About Kooikerhondje

20-25 lb
10-13 years
AKC Foundation Stock Service
Best Suited For
Families with children, singles and seniors, houses with yards, hunters
Reliable, good-natured, friendly, athletic
Comparable Breeds
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Cocker Spaniel
14-16 inches
Kooikerhondje Basics

A relatively rare breed in the United States, the Kooikerhondje has always been popular in Holland. This energetic athlete has a striking orange to reddish colored coat with gorgeous feathering. His looks are very similar to those of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, one of the Kooikerhondje’s ancestors. They both performed the same duties for centuries.

Playful and affectionate, the Kooikerhondje is safe and reliable with children. His love for the water and playing fetch makes this breed a great companion for active kids. Known to breed fanciers as the Kooiker, this good-natured and friendly dog is slowly increasing in popularity. For more information about the Koikerhondje, please continue reading.

Playful and affectionate, the Kooikerhondje is safe and reliable with children.


Originating in the Netherlands, the friendly and good-natured Kooikerhondje is believed to be around since the 16th century. This athletic dog was originally bred to lure ducks into cages for hunters. Today, the Kooiker can still perform his hunting tasks as well as engage in other dog sports.


There’s no definitive information regarding the development of the Kooikerhonje however; it is believed to share the same ancestry with the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. After World War II, Kooikers were on the brink of extinction. Fortunately, Baroness van Hardenbroek van Amerstol used a base stock of 30 dogs to repopulate this wonderful breed.


The Kooiker should be fed a high-quality diet specifically designed to meet the needs of the dog’s individual activity level. Dry kibble is recommended as it will prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.

Relatively easy to train, the Kooikerhondje responds well to gentle and consistent training methods.


Relatively easy to train, the Kooikerhondje responds well to gentle and consistent training methods. Excited praise and lots of tasty treats will help keep this pleasant dog interested during the sessions. The Kooiker is a sensitive dog and will not respond to harsh words or raised voices. With kindness and regular training sessions, this breed can be trained to do nearly anything!

Kooikers do amazingly well in dog sports such as agility courses, flyball and obedience trials. Because of its intelligence and bravery, this breed also excels in search and rescue work. Several owners are working to obtain therapy dog certification for their Kooikers.


The Kooikerhondje weighs between 20 and 25 pounds and stands from 14 to 16 inches tall at the withers.


A friendly and affectionate dog with his family, the Kooikerhondje is quite reserved with strangers. Once properly introduced, the Kooiker will happily accept guests into their homes. Of course, treats and attention will speed up the acceptance process.

Kooikers are extremely sensitive dogs. They do not like to be around people who yell, scream or are at all boisterous. A calm and quiet household will suit this breed perfectly. The Kooikerhondje is playful and energetic. As athletes, they are up for nearly anything. They love to play fetch, especially if it is played near the water. After all, Kooikers love the water. They were bred to be in and around the water and still enjoy romping, splashing and swimming. Families with active kids and a pond or pool will be quite happy with a Kooikerhondje.

On the downside, Kooikers love to chase things, especially small animals. Families with cats, bunnies or other small pets should be very mindful when a Kooiker is around. If introduced to other animals when the dog is a puppy, they should get along just fine.

Common Health Problems

Because of concerned breeders and their strict breeding programs, the Kooikerhondje is a relatively healthy breed. There is a bleeding problem known as Von Willebrand’s Disease that is prevalent in the Kooikerhondje breed. Patella luxation occurs frequently as well. Kooikers are also prone to eye issues such as cataracts, retinal dysplasia and Distichiasis. Hereditary Necrotizing Myopathy has been seen in less than 0.2 percent of Kooikers.

Life Expectancy

Kooikers usually live between 12 and 14 years.


Kooikerhondjes need a fair amount of exercise. A few long, brisk walks everyday are necessary for this breed. He does need to let loose and run as well however; playtime must take place in a securely fenced area. Remember, this breed loves to chase small animals so fencing is an absolute must.

Kooikers love to play ball and will fetch nearly anything, especially if it is in the water. Kids will keep this dog playing for hours and the Kooiker will love it! If you don’t have a pool or body of water in your yard, a child’s wading pool will suffice.

A friendly and affectionate dog with his family, the Kooikerhondje is quite reserved with strangers.


The American Kennel Club writes “The Kooikerhondje is being recorded in the AKC Foundation Stock Service® – The AKC provides this service to allow purebred breeds to continue to develop while providing them with the security of a reliable and reputable avenue to maintain their records. FSS® breeds are not eligible for AKC registration. Several of the FSS breeds are approved to compete in AKC Companion Events and AKC Performance Events”. The Kooikerhondje has not been officially recognized by the AKC at this time.


The Kooiker’s coat is quite thick, waterproof and of medium length. It’s relatively straight however; it could be slightly wavy. The coat should have a white base with variations of orange to mahogany red, any of which is acceptable. The ears, legs and tail should have silky feathering and the ears should be tipped with black.

The Kooiker’s coat is not difficult to keep in good condition. Normally, a weekly brushing is all that’s needed but when the dog is shedding, more frequent brushing is indicated. Bathing should be done seasonally or when the Kooikerhondje gets dirty or begins to smell badly.


Kooikerhondje puppies are cute and spunky. They should immediately begin socializing with new people and animals. This will help to prevent shyness when he grows up. Puppy kindergarten classes are very beneficial and will be the foundation for all training sessions yet to come.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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