The Dutch Kooikerdog is an old Dutch race. On paintings made by painters from the 17th & 19th centuries, among others Vermeer and Steen, and on family portraits from the 18th & 19th centuries there are small spaniels looking very much like the present Dutch Kooikerdog.
Spain probably played a great part in the history of the Kooikerdog, maybe the dog came to Holland from there.
In the Museum of Oranje Nassau by the Castle of Dillenburg ruin there is a picture of a terrified William Oranje, just saved from a nightly attempted murder by means of the vigilant Kooikerdog lying next to his bed. Also ordinary people had the little "spy" as a housemate. Especially Jan Steen painted the dog as an animal that apparently had a great deal of freedom in the family, the proof is a painting where the rest of the families supper is being enjoyed by the dog on the table.
At a time the Kooikerdog almost died out, but thanks to the great efforts of MW.van Hardenbroek and the Baroness van Ammerstol, the "Kooiker" has been brought to honour as a Dutch purebred dog again. From the year of 1939 she was very busy finding crossbreeds that she could use for the re-breeding of the breed. To find these dogs she asked a lot of travelling people for help. For instance gypsies and pedlars. Everyone was given a careful description, and later after she had bred a few, also a whisp of hair. From the Frisian forests came a bitch that complied with all her requests, but the owner could not sell the dog. She borrowed "Tommie" for a litter. The father was "Bennie". His origin is unknown and he came from the land of the Frisian. In 1966 the breed was temporarily approved and stipulated by the known characteristics of the race
In 1971 the breed was officially recognized by the characteristics that we know today; Height at shoulder: from about 35-40 cm (14-16 inch). Coat: medium long, with a slight wave or straight. Colour: orange-red patches on white. Almond shaped, deep brown eyes with a friendly expression. The ears are long feathered preferably with black tips (earrings). The tail should be well feathered with a white plume. .
The Kooikerdog is originally a work dog. The fowler's helper, the watchdog, the mouse and rat hunter. It is an alert and cheerful dog, attentive and intelligent. In the house the Kooikerdog shows great adaptability. It is calm and modest and full of happiness. In free motion out of doors it has a fast tempo, flowing movement and a wagging tail. It is sensitive to scolding and rough words. The coat is handy; regular brushing with a good hairbrush keeps the coat in good condition and the house free from hair. During the shedding time daily brushing is desirable. Now the hair also has to be carefully combed with a not too fine comb.
The little Dutch dog is named after that trap, "the kooiker" that at one time was used for catching wild ducks in the lakes. In their country abounding in water, with bogs, lakes, streams and remains of former breaches of dikes, there still are old decoy spots for ducks. They consist of a small lake surrounded by bushes where the water birds find themselves a hatching place and a shelter in the cold wintertime. This is where the Kooikerdog due to its build and behaviour cooperates so well with the fowler. The ducks, always ready to flight, but also very curious only see the hind part of the little particoloured dog when it suddenly appears at the rime of the decoy spot. The wagging tail, a white dot in the half dark decoy spot. This is the way that the Kooikerdog traps the ducks deeper into the decoy spots where the fowler drive them into the net. For the purpose of research into passage birds, the ducks are now being equipped with rings. There are still approximately a hundred duck decoy spots. Most of them are being used for scientific investigations. In some of them the fowler still uses a dog.