Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, also called a Kooiker, originated in the Netherlands. The literal translation for Kooikerhondje is “little cager hound.” It is a small spaniel-type breed of dog that has Dutch ancestry.

The Kooiker is a small, orange and white sporting dog. Very loving and cheerful, the Kooiker is able to adjust to situations very easily. Kooikers love to be around their families and play. They do well in smaller spaces but do well with a yard too. As long as exercise is regular, playing with their owners means a happy, healthy Kooiker.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje image

Strong, affectionate, sturdy, and delightful, these are words that describe the great pet that is a Kooiker.


The Kooiker was created in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Kooikers were the most popular during the 17th and the 18th centuries and can be seen in paintings from famous painters like Rembrandt.

The Kooiker was bred in Holland as a duck decoy dog. They used their tails to lure the ducks to the Eendenkooi (a duck trap). Aside from working the traps, Kooikers also caught vermin around the farm to keep it free and clear from critters.

Kooikers, like many other breeds, almost went extinct after Wrold War II until Baroness van Hardenbroek van Armmerstol rescued the breed by working to expand its numbers.

Although the breed is still mostly unknown in the United States or Canada, the Kooiker has been accepted into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service, which allows for recording of a purebred breed without it being a member. Once the Kooiker becomes recognized in the American Kennel Club, it will be labeled in the Sporting Group.


The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is considered a medium-sized dog. The average height of a male Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is 15 to 17 inches, while a female is between 14 to 16 inches in height. The weight average for a Kooiker is 20 to 40 pounds.


The Kooiker is happy and lively as well as intelligent and attentive. As a whole, the Kooiker breed does not trust strangers from the off. It takes them time to warm up to someone they don’t know, but once they do, they will be friends forever. But this is not an abnormal trait, being cautious is normal for most breeds.

Kooikers are also well-behaved animals and love to please their owners. They are not a breed with aggression or with any anti-social behaviors either. Early socialization is important for this breed just like any other.

They are also good watchdogs, although they are not loud or barky. Kooikers love to be with people and play with their owners. The Kooiker loves to be around children and other dogs as long as early socialization happens. It may be more difficult if they don’t grow up without socializing with other pets or children when they are young.


The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje lives an average of 12 to 14 years. There are few diseases that the Kooiker may be prone to, although some of them are not as prevalent now as they had been in the past. The illnesses include the following:

von Willebrand's disease, Cataract and other eye diseases, Patellar luxation, and Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy.

Of this list of diseases, von Willebrand’s disease has all but been phased out due to the hard work of many breeders who now have Kooikers for breeding without this gene. Also, Patellar luxation is not a concern in most locations at this point, but it is still monitored constantly.


Kooikers have a medium energy level, which means they can survive in an apartment as long as they get exercise like a walk or playtime. The most ideal environment; however, is to have a fenced in back yard for running.

The Kooiker is calm breed indoors, which means you don’t need to worry too much about barking. Also, Kooikers have a good appetite and enjoy eating, which means they can put on weight easily. Make sure to keep their diet regulated and constant to keep them in healthy condition.

Kooikers shed like most breeds, but it is not difficult to take care of. Regular brushing is all that is needed, and it will help keep the coat in good quality as well as keep the shedding under control.


Here is a link to Kooikerhondje Club of the USA. Please check your local area for other rescues near you or to learn more about this breed.


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