How much do Kooikerhondjes cost?
The price for a Kooikerhondje puppy in the US is approximately 2500-4000 USD. A breeder who charges more than $4000 most likely breeds for profit, in my opinion.
Are Kooikers good with other dogs?
Kooikers are generally indifferent to other dogs. They would rather observe from afar but will play and frolic with dogs in their own family. They don't like strange dogs in their faces and aren't afraid to let them know. They are prone to reactivity, and therefore it's very important to socialize them appropriately from puppyhood and throughout their life. Don't expect them to want to be friends with every dog they meet. Same-sex aggression is also common in the breed. They don't generally make good dog park dogs (although I wouldn't recommend dog parks in general). Read more about temperament HERE!
Do Kooikers make good family dogs?
It depends. They are sensitive and don't do well with loud noises and erratic movements. No ethical kooiker breeder would advertise them as "good family dogs", but this doesn't mean they wouldn't make a good companion for a family with children. Their family should be careful to teach their children how to properly interact with their kooiker, and appropriately socialize their kooiker to lots of children from an early age. They do best with older, respectful children who are taught about proper canine body language and boundaries. Read more about temperament HERE!
Are Kooikers a healthy breed?
Kooikerhondjes are a generally healthy breed, but there are a few diseases and issues that some individuals may be prone to, including VWB (Von Willebrand’s disease), ENM (Hereditary Necrotizing Myelopathy), Patella Luxation, and Hereditary eye disorders. The VHNK (Dutch Kooiker Club) runs an international health database for submissions either from local clubs or from individuals. Owners can send bloodwork directly to Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and their results for VWB and ENM get mailed back. OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) is used to score hip and elbow x-rays and as a database to submit and register all of the dog's health testing records. American Kooiker owners are encouraged to email the VHNK health committee at firstname.lastname@example.org with testing results from the OFA. Read more about health HERE!
Do Kooikers have a lot of energy?
Oh yes! Kooikers are an extremely versatile and medium- to high-energy breed that requires mental stimulation to keep their minds happy. They thrive on trick and sport training, and make excellent agility dogs and adventure companions. A well bred Kooiker should still have a decent off-switch inside the house though, but proper enrichment keeps them happiest.
Do Kooikers shed? What are their grooming requirements?
Yes, they have a soft feathered coat that sheds moderately. Like in many breeds, females shed more than males do. However, their coat is also superbly easy to manage. It dries quickly, and dirt or mud disappears without needing a bath. They also don't need very much grooming, only occasionally to prevent ear matting or when shedding gets heavy. They are shown naturally in the conformation ring and don't need any trimming or fluffing, only an optional neatening of the feet.
Can Kooikers be apartment dogs?
They are an energetic breed (as explained above), but as long as they get adequate mental stimulation and physical activity, they would do fine in an apartment or condo.
Are Kooikers hunting dogs?
You can read more about their original purpose HERE. While kooikers were traditionally used to lure ducks via an intricate trap system, they are not and have never been gundogs. They are very smart and may be trained to perform gundog behaviors like flushing birds or retrieving but they do not possess the natural instinct to do so like retrievers, pointers, or spaniels do (despite their appearance). Training Kooikers for field work may be an incredibly rewarding challenge for those that wish to pursue it. A talented dog and handler team may be able to learn and successfully execute the steps required to do well in the field, but success should not be confused with natural instinct. AKC just made Spaniel Hunt Tests available for Kooikers. Since it does not align with their original purpose, I have mixed feelings. While it will be yet another rewarding venue this versatile little breed can compete in with the right training, it also may create a market for unscrupulous breeders to advertise their kooikers as field dogs.
Gretchen Wetzel of Criterion Kooikers has trained her male, Casper, to be a field dog and has written an excellent article on both the lack of hunting instinct in kooikers, as well as the training required to make her dog successful.
Read the article HERE!
What is the best thing about Kooikers?
Besides everything?? Their devotion and love. The fact that they're always up for anything but also perfectly happy to have a lazy day with you and cuddle on the couch. They make training so fun! They're such quick learners and once they "get it", they're so happy to do it for you. Their versatility and eagerness to participate in any venue from agility to barn hunt. As long as you keep it interesting and fun, of course!
What is the worst thing about Kooikers?
Unfortunately there are a lot of bad breeders out there, especially here in the United States. Folks that should be taking the breed's best interest at heart, but aren't. These breeders might lie about what the breed is supposed to be like or market them as perfect family dogs that just need socialization to be good companions, without taking genetics into account.
Please be careful about choosing your kooiker breeder since not all are equal. A puppy from these such breeders has a high probability of ending up with serious behavioral and/or health issues.