The History of the Kooikerhondje
The origins of the Kooikerhondje can be found as far back as the 1500's. It is said that the little decoy dog owned by William of Orange saved his life by warning him of the Spanish Attack.
Many of the Dutch Masters painted family portraits of their much loved dog, that can be seen in paintings as early as the 16th and 17th century. It is believed that this dog originated from the Spioen or spaniel. The breed was further developed during this period to work in the duck decoys. The hunter would train his dog to lure the ducks into a trap.
The name "Kooikerhondje" comes from the name of the decoy trap "eendenkooi" and simply means "decoy dog" or "dog of decoy boss". The hunter would signal his dog to begin the process of tolling. Tolling is a method of attracting the ducks attention. Done silently, as not to scare the ducks, the dog would appear and disappear along the edge of the canal making the ducks curious with the dog's white bushy tail. This curioisty would lure the ducks all the way into the "trap" or catching pen.
The hunter would then take the captured ducks to the market. Due to the ravages of World War II and the dwindling duck stocks, the Kooikerhonje almost became extinct. But through the devotion of M.C.S Baroness Van Hardenbroek, the breed was rediscovered. She began her breeding program in 1939. The Dutch Kennel Club then officially recognized the breed in 1966.