Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog (Nederlandse Kooikerhondje)

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white with patches of chestnut red or orange, black & white
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Pros Cons

  • gentle and staunch

  • smart and playful

  • needs very basic care

  • wonderful watch- and guard dog

  • obstinate and independent

  • aloof with strangers

  • requires lots of vigorous exercises


The Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog is a vivacious, industrious, vigilant and highly intelligent breed that specialises in hunting ducks and exterminating various kinds of vermin. In Netherlands its unique hunting abilities had already won it a wide-spread popularity by the XVI century. Despite the adorable personality this breed also has an independent streak and doesn’t suit well for the role of the first dog.


The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje became famous for its peculiar hunting style as early as in the late Middle Ages. A trap that Netherlanders call “eendenkooi” is set on water bodies where lots of ducks can be found. The breed literally received its name in honour of this trap. It’s also can be translated as «decoy dog» and «dog of the decoy doss».

At the command of the hunter the specimen of the Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog would begin tolling. The tolling is several cunning manoeuvres that the dog performs in order to attract the ducks’ attention. Commonly it would use its tufted tail to decoy the birds into an ambush. By the time preys would find something more interesting to follow and reach the entry of the trap, the hunter would already stand there to cut off their way to freedom with nets. This hunting method is considered to be one the most effective one since it allows to seizure an entire flock in single tolling.

The ability to lure a feathered prey without making the slightest sound is the main reason of the breed’s fame among Netherland hunters. Being both quick-witted and sly, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is also a proficient vermin eradicator and helps its human masters controlling the number of rats, weasels and other small creatures that harm properties and crops. This tireless and nimble dog usually chases these animals with unflinching determination and tenacity.

During the Second World War many individual breed members were killed or became strays. Moreover systematic dog breeding was completely abandoned. By that point the population of wild ducks in its native land shrank very substantially. That’s why in 1939 the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje appeared to be in one step from total demise with only about 25 purebred dogs in existence. Fortunately Baroness Van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol decided to change the sad fate of the breed and started special program aiming to reconstruct it. She could locate a pure-blooded bitch named Tommie in a farm in Friesland. Tommie was crossed to Bobbie and gave birth to the first litter in 1942. Sadly enough but all puppies except for one male didn’t survive. Another mating was carried out in 1943 and Tommie produced four female puppies, which were nicknamed in honour of the princesses of Netherlands.

By now the Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog returned its former glory only partially although in 1966 it was eventually granted with recognition of the Dutch Kennel Club. It’s still reckoned to be a rather rare canine variety. Nonetheless the breeds’ happy disposition has already earned it certain number of fans in the role of a companion animal.


The friendly and nice appearance of the Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog may make you think that this dog can be successfully kept as a family pet. But the character of this breed is the combination of inherent obstinacy and strong will with endless devotion to its owners. Early and extensive socialisation and obedience training are essential conditions of its peaceable co-existence with children and other domestic animals. Besides that this dog is usually endowed with heightened sensitivity, which means that it can inadequately react to loud sounds, unusual situations or rough-housing in any form. However the well-brought-up specimen loves spending time with older kids and becomes the bosom four-legged friend for them.

The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje commonly stands aloof with strangers and shows aggression at the slightest display of threat to its favourite people or territory. However it’s endowed with sufficient intelligence to discern the difference between a welcomed guest and an intruder so it always makes a very reliable guardian. This breed is also marked by excellent watchdog abilities and will inform its masters about any unfamiliar person in the vicinity of the house.

As a rule the Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog treats other canines respectfully but some of its specimens (especially unneutered males) may occasionally put up a fight with their counterparts of the same gender. So the master should always bear this character trait in mind and be always near when two dogs are getting to know each other for the first time. This breed is quite belligerent towards other streets non-canine animals and must be never released off-leash outside the safely enclosed area. Nevertheless it won’t pester those separate cats and other small pets with whom it’s reared since very young age.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· von Willebrand disease;

· hereditary necrotising myelopathy (Kooiker paralysis);

· polymyositis;

· patellar luxation;

· hip dysplasia;

· eye problems;

· epilepsy;

· kidney disease.


The Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog possesses coat of an average length, which requires rather trivial amount of maintenance. Groom your pet with a bristle brush to get rid of dead hair once or twice a week. Apply a pin brush to work out any tangles that usually form in the feathering on the legs, ears and tail of the dog. It’s also recommended to slightly water its coat with a vet-approved conditioner before the procedure. Rare bathing is quite sufficient for this dog. This breed loses its hair continually and in small portions throughout a year and more intensely twice a year for about a week.

The rest is standard care. The master should trim the nails of its Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog on a monthly basis as well as brush its teeth at least weekly. It’s also a good idea to regularly clip the bushy hair between the dog’s feet so it won’t hinder its movements.


Moderate amount of efforts is required to properly train the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje. The sharp intellect allows it to master very difficult commands and even sequences of commands. On the other hand this breed is known for its predisposition to domination so it will never respect the will of meek or indecisive handler.

Make sure to become a true leader in the eyes of your pet and you will attain great success in its training. This breed often demonstrates disobedience especially if it’s punished for every minor mistake. It’s essential to stimulate the interest of this sensitive dog only with its favourite food and encouraging words.


The Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog is commonly acquired to play the role of the hunter’s assistant and it’s endowed with sufficient energy and stamina for this job. If you intend to keep this breed as companion animal, you should provide it with a great deal of exercise for both its agile body and inquisitive mind. Ideally it should have a daily chance to play off-leash in a well-fenced yard.

Be aware that without several lengthy and brisk walks per day this dog will gradually turn into a tireless destructionist of your house, not to mention such behavioural problems as unreasonable barking or unmotivated aggression.