The Kooikerhondje or Kooiker Hound, is a small spaniel-type dog of Dutch ancestry,originally used as a working dog, particularly in duck hunting. Kooikers were popular in the 17th and 18th century and appeared in the paintings of Rembrandt and Jan Steen.
These dogs are around 35 to 40 cm high at the withers with a nearly square body that is slightly longer than their height at the shoulders. They have long, hanging ears with wispy tips that are set close to the head and upright, feathered tails. For show dogs, black ear tips and white tails are preferred. They have multicoloured coats, predominantly white and chestnut. The fur is medium long and slightly wavy or straight. The breed has a waterproof coat that requires no clipping, with a well-developed undercoat.
Kooikers are intelligent, alert, 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.
Kooikers have good appetites and a tendency to put on weight easily. Apart from the danger of them becoming fatsoes, there are no health problems specific to this breed.
After earlier popularity as a hunting dog, the breed almost became extinct after World War II until Baroness van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol rescued it. The breed was only officially recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1971 and has since been imported into other countries and recognised officially although the breed is still almost unknown in North America and not yet recognised as a breed in America or Canada.
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