Nederlandse Kooikerhondje


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Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level:



Delightful DoersCarefree Yet CleverDiligentDevoted

Coat Color:

White And Red
Blue Ribbon

Best For

A versatile and intelligent breed, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is best for active pup parents and families who have the time to give these pups the mental stimulation and regular exercise and training they need. This active, devoted dog thrives in homes with ample space to play and explore.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Traits

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Temperament

From the minute you bring your Nederlandse Kooikerhondje puppy home, socialization is important—and will be a lifelong staple. They shower their friends and family with love and want to stay as close as possible, often lying on their feet. But they follow the “stranger danger” mentality, which is why it’s important to properly introduce them to all newcomers (both two- and four-footed). Puppy “mouthing” and biting are also 100 percent to be expected, but with proper training and socialization, they fade away as they grow up.

Your Kooiker will match you wit for wit. At times, you may look into those expressive eyes and see a challenge brewing. (Just who’s really in charge here?) Just like a parent would when a child starts testing them, a pup parent needs to stay firm and not be swayed by their cuteness. Your ultimate goal is to make sure your pup knows you’re protecting them and not the other way around.

Kooikers need to be busy, and they love it when you give them a job to do. (You can often accomplish this through involving them in dog sports such as agility, obedience and tracking.) But be warned: If you don’t give them a job to do, they will create their own. And it may involve demolition duty.

How to Care for a Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje breed is pretty—and pretty easy to care for. To control shedding, your brushing routine only needs to show up once a week on your to-do list. In addition, their au naturel, untrimmed coat will require only an occasional scrub-a-dub-dub—often in the form of a rinse-off—which is great, ’cause you’ll be spending all that extra time in training and exercising your delightful pup.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Health

Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes have a lifespan of 12-15 years and, like most any other breed, are susceptible to a few hereditary conditions. It’s a good idea to be aware of these health problems, so you can help your pup live a full and happy life. 

  • Von Willebrand Disease (VWD): This is a genetic disorder that prevents a dog from clotting blood properly, which can lead to excessive bleeding if injured. There is no cure for VWD, but genetic screening testing is available. In everyday life, most pups are asymptomatic, but in cases of trauma or surgery, blood transfusions may be necessary. 
  • Hereditary Necrotizing Myelopathy (ENM): This is a degenerative spinal disease, similar to MS in humans. An early sign of ENM paralysis in the hind legs. There is currently no cure for ENM, and the disease is fatal, but genetic screening testing is available.  
  • Luxating Patella: This condition is when the knee slips out of its groove. Depending on the severity, it may be treated through weight management, physical therapy, pain medications or surgery. 
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition when the hip joint wasn’t formed properly and causes pain and lameness. Treatment options include joint supplements, pain medication or, in severe cases, surgery. 
  • Polymyositis (PMN): In this disease, the muscles become inflamed, which causes muscle damage. Signs include lethargy, weakness, weight loss and lameness. There is no cure, but it can often be managed with steroids and immunosuppressants.  
  • Epilepsy: Seizures consistent with epilepsy can begin at 6 months to 5 years of age. Treatment is typically daily oral medication. 

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje History

The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje originated in the Netherlands, possibly dating as far back as the 1700s—you can find them in paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Steen. These plucky pups were bred for duck hunting and were called duck decoys—but not because they look like the wooden lures used by hunters today. They were (and still are) used by hunters to lure ducks through elaborate “canal cages” called eendenkooi (“duck cages” in Dutch) into traps. Kooikers also alerted their families to poachers on the property and kept the property free of vermin. It’s a similar job to that of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, the North American breed said to be descendants of the Kooiker.

Because of their heritage, Kooikers are often referred to as Dutch spaniels. The breed nearly died out after World War I, when more accurate rifles were available to duck hunters. But the breed was saved by Baroness von Hardenbroek van Ammerstol in the late 1930s, when she sought out the little dogs throughout the Dutch countryside and brought them back from the brink of extinction. The Dutch are so attached to their canine counterpart that they’ve kept a breeding registry of all the litters bred since 1942.

The first Nederlandse Kooikerhondje litter was born in the US in 1999, and the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Club of the United States was formed in 2014. The breed officially joined the ranks of the American Kennel Club in 2018.

Where can you find a Nederlandse Kooikerhondje puppy? You can find reputable breeders on the AKC’s website. What’s the average price for a Kooiker puppy? You can expect to spend between $1,000-$5,000 for a Kooiker puppy. But for that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. You can also contact Nederlandse Kooikerhondje rescues, or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.


How do you pronounce Kooikerhondje?

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje may not be easy to pronounce, unless you’re familiar with Dutch. It’s pronounced ney-der-lan-dsuh koy-ker-hoon-tyeh, which is why many refer to the Dutch dynamo as a “Kooiker” (koy-ker). That nickname makes perfect sense, too: It means “decoy man” in Dutch, heralding the breed’s original job as a duck decoy.

Are Kooikerhondjes good family dogs?

Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes make good family dogs as long as they are properly socialized and trained from an early age. They do well with older kids, but need to be supervised around infants and toddlers. Because they were bred to be hunters (super-alert and aware of their surroundings), Kooikers may respond to noises and sudden movements, so early socialization is key to help these pups be well-behaved members of the family. It’s also important to ensure all children all taught how to properly interact with dogs.

Are Kooikerhondjes hypoallergenic?

No, Kooikerhondjes are not considered hypoallergenic. These pups do shed moderately, so they may not be a good choice for those allergic to dogs.

How big can a Kooikerhondje get?

While Kooikerhondjes can get pretty big: 40 pounds if they’re “oversized.” The average size of a full-grown Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is between 20-30 pounds.

Are Kooikerhondjes rare or extinct?

Yes, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje breed is quite rare. According to the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Club of the USA, there are only a few thousand of the dogs in the world. Currently, only about 400 Kooiker pups live in the US.


Top Takeaways

Life with a Nederlandse Kooikerhondje will be full of adventure, kind of like adding a toddler to your home. They are playful and active, and they love getting into things—so you’ll need a lot of patience and understanding with this pup in those early stages. Kooikers need to be useful to the people they love, so give them a job to do! And don’t be surprised if your pup figures out how to open the door for you. They’re that smart and skillful!

Expert input provided by Dr. Natalie L. Marks, DVM, CVJ, VCA Blum Animal Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, and a host of; Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH, founder of concierge veterinary practice Animal Acupuncture; Nancy P. Melone, Ph.D., is the chair of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Club of the USA Health and Genetics Committee; Rendy Schuchat, M.A., owner/founder and certified head dog trainer at Anything Is Pawzible; Eileen Koval, CDBC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, of Confident Canines LLC; Jody Haas-Wolfson, CPDT-KA, who holds a double master’s in behavior from Washington University, is Fear-Free-certified, and serves as a behaviorist-trainer and owner of ROOT Dog Training in Northbrook, Illinois; and Lucinda Paganin, Breeders Committee Chair and Vice President of Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Club of the USA.

Breed characteristic ratings provided by veterinarian Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ, a veterinarian at Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital in Greeley, Colorado; dog trainer and behavior consultant Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, in Los Angeles; and certified animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai, CABC, in Sherman, Texas.

The health content was medically reviewed by Chewy vets.

Top Nederlandse Kooikerhondje Names

These are the top Nederlandse Kooikerhondje names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!

Female Names

  • Cadeautje
  • Ilke
  • Penny
  • Fiona
  • Emmy
  • Lulu
  • Poppy
  • Wynnie
  • Dora
  • Kyla Ren

Male Names

  • Max
  • Odin
  • Remy
  • Buzz
  • Tucker
  • Monet
  • Skookum
  • Cider
  • Murphy
  • Mortimus