13 Fun Facts About the Kooikerhondje: Netherlands’ Duck-Hunting Dog

Unearth these fascinating facts about the Kooikerhondje, the Netherlands' famous duck-hunting dog. Delve into their captivating history and discover rare insights below!

Dec 4, 2023byNikita Hillier

Kooikerhondje duck hunting dog


The wonderful Kooikerhondje dog is a spirited, agile, and kind breed from the Netherlands. This breed has a very long history as a quick-witted duck-hunting dog. The Kooikerhondje (pronounced koy-ker-hond-jay) has a charming personality and happy demeanor, even if their name is a mouthful!

These dogs have a very interesting history, which makes them not only very cute but also captivating and interesting. In this blog, let’s take a detailed look at the Kooikerhondje dog together.


13. The Breed Is Centuries Old

kooikerhondje dog panting up close
Image Credit: The Spruce Pets


This dog breed has a very illustrious history. In fact, the history of the Kooikerhondje dates all the way back to the 16th century in the Netherlands where they were loyal hunting companions. These dogs have long been used as quick, clever, and agile duck hunters.

Their incredible skills made them invaluable helpers and led to them becoming a very beloved breed amongst those needing clever hunting companions. Funnily enough, their name (as discussed later), while difficult to pronounce, actually reflects their function.

This breed is very unique and has plenty of skills, making it popular amongst outdoorsmen.


12. Its Name Means “Duck Hunter’s Small Dog”

kooikerhondje dog standing up in forest
Image Credit: Zooplus

As noted, this dog breed has a very interesting and unique name. “Kooiker” is a Dutch term signifying a duck decoy cage, while “hond” means dog.

They have long been used to assist hunters by luring ducks into traps. This is why their name so perfectly encapsulates their role in history as decoy dogs. The name is not only a huge testament to their long-held place in the history of the Netherlands, but also a crucial reminder of their important role in duck hunting.


11. They Are Usually Reddish-Orange and White

kooikerhondje dog staring at camera
Image Credit: Dogtime

Kooikerhondje dogs are very well known for having a unique yet striking appearance. They are very easy to recognize thanks to their distinctive coat, which is most commonly a rich shade of red or orange. They also have intricate white markings and a gorgeous, feathered tail.

They have medium to long coats that require a fair bit of grooming to prevent common skin problems in dogs and maintain their lustrous shine. These dogs are thought to have this reddish-orange coloring to pay homage to the Royal House of Orange in the 1600s. A Kooikerhondje was thought to save the life of William of Orange, a powerful king.


10. These Medium-Sized Dogs Have High Energy Levels

kooikerhondje dog hair blowing in wind
Image Credit: Dogtime

Despite being popular hunting companions, the Kooikerhondje is quite a lot smaller than people imagine. They are still a decent size, weighing in at around 20 to 24 pounds––pint-sized when compared to other hunting dogs, like bloodhounds. Their height at the shoulder is around the 13 to 15-inch range.

In saying all this, their moderate size is very good for their purpose. It allows them to have very good versatility and allows them to adapt to different living environments with ease.

Many dog owners wonder how much exercise these canines need. They require a large amount of regular exercise and mental stimulation. A good level of exercise will ensure you have a happy, healthy, and mentally stimulated pup on your hands. An under-stimulated pet will often end up with common behavioral issues in dogs.


9. They Are Very Playful

kooikerhondje dog standing still
Image Credit: Brit

The Kooikerhondje dog is very lively and playful, making them ideal for active families. They are very well-loved by people due to their playful and interactive nature. As outlined above, they are always brimming with energy and happiness, which is easily channeled into enthusiasm for just about anything.

They adore interactive play, such as trick training, agility exercises, and even some breed-specific sports. As loyal, loving, and vibrant dogs, they fit in very well with their families and like to live in harmony. They are a delightful addition to active families who can keep up with and nurture their zest for life.


8. Kooikerhondje Are Social Butterflies

two kooikerhondje dogs at competition
Image Credit: Washington Post

This dog breed has long been celebrated for its social demeanor. They love socializing with both people and other dogs, thanks to their affectionate and easygoing nature. Kooikerhondje thrive when they are able to create strong bonds with their human and canine friends.

Often, they seek as much interaction and closeness as possible. Many people actually call them “velcro dogs” because they’re velcroed to their owners’ sides. Their affectionate nature makes them an exceptional choice for families who are looking for a devoted companion. With some guidance, they make great first-time pets for kids.

As a family member, they integrate seamlessly into the home. You just need to socialize them well to ensure that they play nicely with others. This is not specific to the Kooikerhondje, but a good rule of thumb for anyone bringing a new dog home.


7. They Are Brilliant Nanny Dogs for Children

kooikerhondje dog white background
Image Credit: Hundeo

Kooikerhondje dogs have also been known as nanny dogs for a long time. This is because they are equipped with a patient, kind, and gentle disposition. This makes them excellent companions for children and those who rely on service, therapy, and ESA dogs.

These canine cuties have a very high tolerance and plenty of patience. They also understand boundless curiosity when it comes to young family members. Often, these dogs will match the energy levels of young family members and will actively engage with them.

However, as you would with any dog breed, it is very important to always keep an eye on children when they are with dogs. This way, you can ensure everyone plays safely and harmoniously.


6. Kooikerhondje Are Remarkably Intelligent

Kooikerhondje, the intelligent dog


There is no denying that these dogs are incredibly intelligent. The Kooiker’s sharp-wittedness helps it learn quickly and pick up new tricks with ease. On top of that, its quick wit and cleverness allows it to excel in new challenges.

Kooikerhondje also have a very strong desire to please, which makes it perfect participants for trick training, dog sports, fun activities, competitive obedience trials, and agility. The more mental stimulation a dog has, the more it thrives.


5. Kooikerhondje Are Agile and Precise

Agile Kooikerhondje


Kooikerhondje dogs, which have long held a role as the best duck decoys in the world, have had precision and agility bred into them. They have had to work hard to perform their roles in dense marshes and thick wetlands where duck hunting took place. This is why they have had to learn to navigate with dexterity.

This has also helped them develop a keen sense of direction with the ability to make controlled yet swift movements when needed. Nowadays, these traits have allowed the breed to become proficient in many different sports, hunting, and working stock.

If you want a dog that is quick, clever, and enjoys running alongside its human, these guys should be your top choice.


4. Kooikerhondje Are Loyal to the Human Pack

Kooikerhondje, loyal to humans


As you’ve probably guessed this far into the blog, Kooikerhondje dogs are insanely loyal. Beneath the silliness, they are very protective of their families, usually only barking when there’s a perceived threat.

This makes them fantastic watchdogs. They are always alert when they notice any unusual activity or potential threats in the immediate area. As naturally vigilant dogs, they always provide their families with an added layer of security.

While they haven’t traditionally been known as guard dogs, they thrive in this role due to their natural protective instinct.


3. Kooikerhondje Are Easy to Keep Clean

Kooikerhondje are easy to keep clean


The grooming needs of these dogs are pretty fuss-free. They keep themselves very clean and will only need a quick dust-off if they do get into some dirt or mud. In fact, they have a dense double coat, which keeps them nice and protected in wet and muddy conditions.

Having a double coat makes their fur naturally efficient for shedding debris or dirt. By brushing your dog regularly, especially when they are shedding, their coat will remain in beautiful condition. Pair this routine with healthy dog food brands, and you’ve set yourself up for success. You can even DIY some meals for your dog!


2. They Have Undergone Preservation Efforts

kooikerhondje dog in grass
Image Credit: Pinterest

Back in the 20th century, this breed was the product of a massive decline in popularity. Unfortunately, this almost wiped out the breed entirely. This decline was the result of a reduced need for their traditional hunting role due to the creation of modern hunting methods.

This breed hit the verge of extinction before people realized the issue and started making a difference. A very dedicated group of breeders and Kooikerhondje enthusiasts recognized just how valuable this breed was and took it upon themselves to revive it. Their hard work paid off, and thanks to careful breeding and preservation initiatives, they had great results.

The breed was successfully saved right from the brink of extinction. From there, they have had a resurgence to become hunting dogs and cherished family companions again.


1. They Are Very Adaptable

kooikerhondje dog at dog show
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Thanks to their breeding, Kooikerhondje dogs are adaptable to various types of living environments. While they originated in the Dutch countryside as avid duck hunters, they can easily adapt and thrive in urban settings. However, they must be kept mentally stimulated and fit.

You cannot keep a Kooikerhondje in a small space without meeting their exercise requirements. They truly thrive in environments where they can access open spaces for running, playing, and having fun. They deeply appreciate having a clean, clear outdoor space to let their energy burn.

If you’re an active person, you will be very well-suited to owning one of these beautiful canine companions. Before bringing your new friend home, however, be sure to read up on how to select an ethical dog breeder. This ensures that you get a dog that’s genetically healthy, well-socialized, and conforms to the breed’s standard.

Nikita Hillier
byNikita Hillier

Nikita is a huge animal lover who has grown up on a farm with many different animals, from dogs and cats to horses and cows! She has a lot of experience in the equine industry and is even in the process of studying for an internationally accredited Equine Sports Massage Certificate! In her spare time, she enjoys writing and spending time with her beloved animals!