A dog with a colourful history, the Kooikerhondje derives from the Netherlands where it was traditionally utilised in tolling and luring ducks to awaiting traps, a practice that is seldom seen in modern Holland. Featured in paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, the breed was resurrected by Baroness Van Hardenbroek at the onset of WWII when it faced near extinction. A known eccentric, the Baroness would use her dogs to guide Allied soldiers through the woods to safety at the Belgian border, whilst instructing passing salesmen to look out for a dog matching the description of the Kooikerhondje so as to breed from it. Once said dog was located, the Baroness travelled to Friesland province where the farmer agreed to loan his dog for the purpose of selectively resurrecting the rare breed. The Kooikerhondje was officially recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1971.
Often referred to as the 'Kooiker Hound,' the breed falls within the 'gun dog' branch of canines, sharing its classification with the Retrievers, Pointers and Setters. The Kooikerhondje is sometimes likened to the Spaniel in appearance, possessing a medium-sized build, a proportionate body, head and legs, hanging ears and a feathered tail. The long coat is weatherproof and bicoloured, in deviations of white with orange-red markings. The unusually named Kooikerhondje derives its name from the 'Kooiker,' meaning hunter, that utilised the breed in its working practices.
Inherently vigilant and responsive, the Kooikerhondje is well suited to active family life. Highly trainable and adaptable to new situations and people, the breed makes the great addition to any home setting, providing its needs for human companionship, firm leadership and regular exercise are met. On average, a healthy Kooikerhondje will weigh 9-18 kg at maturity, with a life expectancy of 12-14 years when cared for accordingly.
Despite being a relatively healthy and long-lived breed, the Kooikerhondje is susceptible to various breed-specific and genetic diseases. Documented cases of von Willebrand's Disease, a blood-clotting disorder, are identified in the breed, as well as epilepsy, patellar luxation and optical complaints like cataracts.
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