The Kooikerhondje is originally a working dog: he is the assistant of his boss, guardian of house and property, and destroyer of mice and rats. It is a kind, happy and lively dog, attentive and intelligent and always willing to work for his boss.
At home the Kooikerhondje shows a huge adaptability, he can be quiet and unobtrusive, but he can also be playful and full of live. He is always very watchful, but only comes into action when there is a good reason for it.
When he has got the freedom to move (without a leash for example) he has a high pace of movement, is light-footed, with a tale that is permanently waving.
He is quite sensitive for noise and screaming. He does not get along with everybody. In the beginning he can be a bit reserved towards strangers, children and other dogs.
He will probably flee or growl when he feels insecure, depending on his spirit. But once he has accepted someone, it is the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
Shoulderheight: 35-40 centimetres. Average long, nice contiguous growth of hair. Colour: White with orange-red. Almond shaped dark brown eyes with a friendly expression. The ears, which are long-haired, are worn against the cheeks; black hair at the bottom of the ear is desirable. Fringed tale with a white plume. Character: Friendly, but not too noisy, very fond of his own environment, friendly, kind-hearted and attentive. More characteristics.
The fur can handle fluid quite easily and does not hold a lot of dirt. The maintenance is easy; if you brush it regularly with a good hairbrush, the fur will stay in good condition and your house will stay fur-free.
Austere feeding, of good quality, will result in a slender muscular dog, who likes to be active. Depending on the gender and the size a Kooikerhondje is not supposed to weight more than 9-11 kilograms.
A male dog is normally bigger than a bitch. There is not a big difference in character. Of course a bitch is in season every once in a while.
The Kooikerhondje is always moulting, but a bitch is normally moulting more than a male dog.
A male dog is normally more firm when it comes to character, but he also tends to act like the boss. But this is easy to avoid with a consistent approach.
A Kooikerhondje is a working dog. This means that he needs a lot of movement. A dog which sits at home all the time and never comes any further than the back yard will have a huge physical and mental arrears, because he does not get the opportunity to use his muscles to the fullest, to take initiatives or to make proper use of his ability to smell.
A Kooikerhondje lives on average 10-14 years. During this period its owner is responsible for the well-being of the dog.
Play and learn
The owner has to make use of the intelligence of the dog, his attention, his zest for work and the strong bond with his master, by spending a lot of time with the dog.
Teach the dog some tricks, play seek and retrieve games with him in the garden or during a long walk. Games stimulate the curiosity of the dog and its ability to learn and confirm the bond between the dog and his master.
For a puppy, adolescent and mature dog the order of rank has to be clear; the master is the master, the leader of the pack. Only under this condition a puppy feels save, a 7 months old dog (adolescent) learns to restrain, and an mature dog knows his place in the pack (in this case: the family).
The sensitive and intelligent Kooikerhondje does not need a loud voice or a hand, but he does need a very consistent approach and determined guidance, which makes the natural overweight of the master very clear. The dog will accept this overweight quite easily, which avoids the dog from making its own decisions.
Without guidance of a boss a dog can become quite dominant. Most of the times this concerns male dogs, but there are also very controlling bitches.
The social adjustment already starts with three weeks in the litter; the period from six to sixteen weeks is the most important period for the social development of the dog. This is also the period in which it is quite easy for the dog to learn things. For shy Kooikerhondjes socialisation is one of the most important things.
A dog which feels save and confident, is a dog that can be trusted. That is why the breeder and the owner have to work together to let the dog get used to the human cohabitation with all its different aspects. Make sure that there is plenty of contact with children, adults, dogs and other animals. Let him get used to all kinds of noises. Involve the puppy in welcoming guests, invite children and other dogs to your house or take the puppy to places where you can find children and other dogs. Do not protect the puppy when he is frightened or when he is trying to walk away, but show him as a real leader of a pack that there is nothing to be afraid of. A puppy only needs 1 year to become mature, and in this year the breeder and the owner are both responsible for the mental and physical development of the dog. But in the end you will be rewarded for all the invested time, trouble and energy.
Upbringing and training
Although there are still Kooikerhondjes working in a duck decoy, most dogs will probably not be able to do that.
With the help of games, courses in relation to behaviour, obedience and agility and trace and seek games, the master can try to replace the function of a duck decoy. It is possible to go to puppy courses when your dog is nine weeks old. This is really important. The master learns to recognise his dogs' body language, the dog gets to know his master better and he learns to spent time with other dogs. The goal is to have a friendly, obedient dog which can be taken to different places by its family because he is well behaved. By the way: of course it is also possible to leave the dog home alone, if necessary. A good education in the first two years will guarantee you a great relationship with your dog for quite a lot of years