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Your Pet, Our Passion.


A very attractive small/medium-sized dog, the Kooiker dog holds his head proudly and is slightly longer than he is tall, with adult dogs standing at 35-40cm and weighing 9-11kg. He has a medium-length coat that is straight or slightly wavy and is white with orange-red patches. The ears are tipped with black and have longer hair, known as 'earrings'.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Quiet dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left alone with training
Generally healthy breed

The Kooikerhondje breed can suffer from:
- Patellar luxation¹
- Hereditary necrotising myelopathy which is a serious disease affecting the spinal cord which can result in paralysis.
- Von Willebrand's disease² () which is where a dog produces insufficient or faulty clotting factors which can result in uncontrolled bleeding.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

¹L. Evers, 'Inherited disorders and harmful breed characteristics in the Belgian Malinois, English Cocker Spaniel, Shetland Sheepdog and Dutch Kooiker Dog in the Netherlands', 2014, Masters thesis, Utrecht University
²B. A. van Oost et al, 'DNA testing for type III von Willebrand disease in Dutch Kooiker dogs', June 2008, Journal of Internal Veterinary Medicine 

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12-14 years
Weight:  9 - 11 kg 
Height:  35 - 40 cm
Colours:  Bright white with rich orange-red patches
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Utility


Family-friendly: 3/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 1/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Kooikerhondje is standing in the garden in a warm summer day


Friendly, alert, intelligent and good natured with people, the Kooiker can be aloof with those they do not know well, but loving and loyal to their family. Early socialisation working on keeping their attention around other dogs is vital as they can be unfriendly or even argumentative. However, they love training and being given challenges and problems to solve.  

Kooikerhondje is playing in the yard

History and Origins

Country of Origin – Holland 
The Kooikerhondje also known as Kooikers or Dutch Decoy Spaniels, have been a recognised breed in the Netherlands since the 17th Century, thought to descend from spaniel types arriving from Spain in the 16th Century. The breeds original function was as a decoy dog, to attract the attention of ducks and lure them to the hunters’ nets. As unusual as this may sound, in fact there is another breed that lures ducks in this manner, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. It is thought that game keepers noted how foxes would gambol and play to lure in curious prey, and set out to produce dogs that could do the same under their guidance. 

Kooikers still do this job today, however they are more likely seen in the show ring in the UK or as companions in the home. Only recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1971, the Kooiker is now recognised by the UK Kennel club and was added to the Utility group in 2014. 

Did you know?

Did you know?

In the UK the Kooikerhondje was originally placed in the Gundog group along with the other duck decoy breed, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. However, when they came off the import register, and after some discussion with breed clubs and breeders, it was decided to move them to the Utility group, because Kooikerhondjes do not work to the gun - instead they lure ducks into netted traps, and therefore they cannot be considered a gundog.