Let’s Talk Breed Education!
A SPORTING BREED UNIQUE IN PURPOSE AND HISTORY The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
BY DEBORAH BEAN AND BETTY DALKE WATHNE photos provided by the authors
J udging dogs requires more than a general knowledge of the structure of dogs, their movement characterstics, or even the main points of each breed’s standard of perfection. Instead, it requires some knowledge of the history and traditional work of each breed. Breed standards seek to describe dogs whose conformation and temperament are perfectly adapted to the work for which they were originally bred. With this in mind, it is critical that we use historical records to accurately describe the past and the present, and to plot the future of the breed.
invention consisting of a pond with multiple catching arms or “pipes” that extend from the pond, terminating in hidden cages. The literal translation of the Kooiker’s name is “The Dutch Duck Trapper’s Little Dog,” and the Kooiker worked in partnership with his handler to lure ducks from the pond into the pipes for capture. In his 1886 work, The Book of Dutch Decoys , Sir Ralph Payne-Gall- wey notes, “The sprightlier the dog works, the better, so long as he is absolutely mute and obedient.” The modern development of the Kooikerhondje is thanks to the Baroness Van Hardenbroek Van Ammerstol, who rescued the breed from the brink of extinction. As part of her silent resistance to the Occupation during the Second World War, she undertook
FORM FOLLOWS HISTORY AND FUNCTION The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, often called “Kooiker” for short, is a lovely orange-red and white parti-colored spaniel with sable ear tips called “earrings.” Well-known and established in the Netherlands by the 1500s, the Kooiker appears in the paintings of numerous Dutch masters of the age, Jan Steen being especially fond of the cheerful appearance of the striking little dog. The Kooiker’s long history is intertwined with its unique meth- od of capturing ducks for the table. Prior to the development of accurate fowling guns, elaborate man-made duck decoy trapping systems were built, called Eendenkooi . The Eendenkooi is a Dutch
THE NEDERLANDSE KOOIKERHONDJE
backs—called mantles—are acceptable, but are less desirable. Eye and head patches must fully cover the eyes and ears, with the color ideally ending at the corner of the mouth with coloring on the cheeks. Our breed standard describes the color of the dog precisely and then closes with this statement: “Color should be a consideration only when all else between two dogs is equal.” The markings are of less importance than the structure beneath. The earrings are highly desirable, but not mandatory. They can be profuse or sparse, long or the same length as the rest of the ear. Young dogs, especially, will just be growing their earrings. No dog should be penalized for lack of earrings. Ears are set on a line from the nose through the eye, but never above the top of the head. Tufts of hair that stick up above the ear are anoth- er characteristic of the breed and should never be trimmed away, as are the whiskers adorning the muzzle. The ear leather itself should easily cover the eye on the same side of the head. This gives correct ear size and prevents small or overly large ears from creeping in. Coat is an area that is a pride of the Kooikerhondje. This weather-resistant coat, with its functional undercoat, has no ten- dency towards matting or snarling, thanks to the texture. This texture is apparent even in young dogs. Most bitches carry far less coat than the males, and may have sparse coats after a season. Males tend to have full, dense ruffs, longer tail and leg feathering, and more hair in general. An important working feature of the breed is the tail. The tail vertebrae should reach at least to the hock joint. Short tails are less visible to the ducks following the dog in the traps and are considered a severe fault. The Kooiker in motion carries that white-plumed tail above the level of the back, but never forward over the back or tightly curled. In keeping with the dog’s sprightly work in the Eendenkooi, the movement of the Kooikerhondje should be light, effortless, and flowing. Think of a bubbling brook as it wends its way across a meadow. So too should the Kooikerhondje move about the ring—with ease and joy in every step.
the recovery of the breed. She sent peddlers out from her estate with a photograph of the dog and a snippet of cloth to help identify dogs of the correct orange-red color. In this way, she found Tommie, a bitch from Friesland, who became the foundation of the breed. The breed was recognized by the Raadvan Beheer, the Dutch Kennel Club, in 1971. In the United States, the Kooiker was added to the Foundation Stock Service in 2004, the Miscellaneous Class in 2015, and was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club on January 1, 2018. NOTES ON EVALUATING THE KOOIKERHONDJE Dutch breeders and judges will tell you, first of all, that the Dutch are practical people, not fancy and not given to display. While the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is striking in that it is a parti-colored orange-red dog with dark eyes and pigment, it is still a working spaniel with moderation being its hallmark in all ways. For this reason, the breed should be seen and evaluated in a natural, untrimmed coat. This is how they are supposed to look. The only allowed trimming is on the feet for tidiness. The breed is slightly off-square, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock. The elbow should be at the midpoint between the withers and the ground. Bone is strong, but not coarse, and the males are distinctly masculine and the bitches feminine. Size is strict—the “hond-JE” part of its name means “small dog.” Exhibitors know the importance of keeping the breed at the correct size lest a tendency toward “big- ger, heavier, and hairier” overtake the breed. The Kooiker is always examined on the table in the United States. The eyes of a Kooiker can melt the hardest of hearts! Oval, dark, shining with intel- ligence, they are a striking feature of the breed. They should be neither round nor protrud- ing, but softly set in the middle of the face with nice distance between. Dark eyes and pig- ment makes for a striking face in this breed. Few other red-patched dogs have this depth of color. It is all because, in reality, this is a sable dog as is attested by the presence of black feathering on the ears and, occasionally, a black tail ring where the color changes from orange-red to white. Sometimes, black hair can be intermingled within the red patches as well. Small amounts are permitted, too much is a fault. The standard calls for the chest, belly, and the majority of the legs and tail to be white. Color should predominate in patches on the torso only. Patches are more important than the amount of coverage, according to the Dutch breed experts. Kooikers with solid red
Bibliography David Hancock, Gundogs, Their Past, Their Performance and Their Prospects (Crowood Press 2013) Andrew Heaton, Duck Decoys (Shire Publications 2001) Janny Offereins-Snoek and Diana Striegel-Oskam, Amazing Dutch Dog Breeds (Raad Van Beheer 2018) Ralph Payne-Gallwey, The Book of Duck Decoys (1886) J. Whitaker, British Duck Decoys of Today, 1918 (Burlington Publishing Company 1918)
MB I S R B I S G C H B WAT E R B O U N D E V E R Y T H I N G H A R V E Y V D G O L D E N G AT E OA OA J C G C HARVEY “ B E S T O F B R E E D 2 0 1 9 WE S T M I N S T E R K E N N E L C L U B D O G S H OW ” F I R S T A L L - B R E E D B E S T I N S H OW I N T H E H I S T O R Y O F T H E B R E E D F I R S T S P O R T I N G G R O U P W I N N E R I N T H E U S A WAT ERBOUND
-AKC Judge Doug Johnson speaking on the Sporting Group final cut at the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show “Final ly the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje. . . He, too, is to be celebrated and we are to learn from him what this breed should look l ike. I am grateful to have him on the night and only wish I had one more placement for him!”
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KOO I KERS G C H WAT E R B O U N D MA K I N G WAV E S R N B C AT C G C BREAKER F I R S T O H B I S I N T H E H I S T O R Y O F T H E B R E E D MU LT I P L E S P O R T I N G G R O U P P L A C I N G
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Show Grooming a Kooiker THE NEDERLANDSE KOOIKERHONDJE IS A DOG Natural
BY HAILEY PERKINS AND AMBER CORDUAN
B efore jumping into the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje grooming world, we should mention our background in grooming. Amber Corduan has been a professional pet groomer for 14 years, focusing on specific trimming such as feet, feathering, etc. Hailey Perkins has been a pro- fessional pet groomer for 11 years, since she was 15 years old, focusing more on complete body grooming, patterns, faces, etc. This experience greatly helps us understand the right tools for the job, how different coat types work, and what a natural, untrimmed coat means. Amber has been showing in AKC for over 15 years now and understands what the judges look for, how to properly groom a show coat, and more! In learning that we are professional groomers, we want to mention that we our- selves would never take our Kooiker to another groomer. You would never want to risk cutting off the earrings, trimming of the feathering, or “neatening” of any- thing. We would suggest, if taking your Kooiker to a groomer, that you tell them absolutely no trimming is to be done! You may find a groomer who understands showing dogs, but we would avoid groomers unless absolutely needed. You may have noticed that some breeds have become what we would call “over- groomed” in the show ring. We do NOT want our Kooikers to become like them, and in order to keep this from happening, we have to stick to our standard and groom them appropriately. We do not want to see a “fluffed-up” coat, water being sprayed on the coat before the ring, chalking or starch used, or any “marking” or changing of the coat. What follows is our process for grooming our Kooiker before a show. First, we bathe him the day before we leave. We wash his face and head (usually using blue- berry facial shampoo or puppy tearless), then we completely rinse and towel dry the head (this keeps the dog from shaking so much). Then we wash his body using gentle, professional shampoos. Some of the products we use are Fresh N Clean, Tropiclean, Earthbath, and Nzymes. After applying shampoo, we apply condi- tioner and we fully rinse the dog. We towel dry his entire body and get ready to use a high velocity dryer. This is where the process may differ depending on your dog. High velocity dryers work in a few different ways. On double-coated dogs, like German Shepherds, we use them against the grain of the coat, so backwards, up the back. This loosens any matting, and it blows out dead skin and dead coat. It pulls the coat from the skin so that the dead coat can be brushed out. For dogs like Afghan Hounds, Springer Spaniels, and Kooikers, we use the dryer with the grain of the coat to flatten the top of the coat, giving it a beautiful sheen. This method still blows out dead skin and dead coat, so we do believe this is an important part of the process. Even short-coated dogs benefit from high velocity dryers! Contrary to
SHOW GROOMING A KOOIKER
previous belief, a healthy dog on a high-quality diet will not dry out from using the high velocity dryer. We do not like to over- bathe our Kooiker, though we did six AKC shows in a row each weekend and had to bathe him before each one. (This is not ideal, but when we are scheduled like this, we had to do it!) His coat never dried, broke, looked frizzy, or suffered any damage. He took home several wins during that period as well! What we do NOT want to see in Kooikers is the dryer being used to fluff the coat. We go with the grain to shine the coat, get dead skin and coat out, and keep the coat flat and beautiful. After our Kooiker is bathed and dried, we use a slicker brush or a comb to brush his entire body, feathering, rear, earrings, etc. This should leave your Kooiker looking smooth and groomed. You should not see any separation of coat or an oily looking coat. After our Kooiker is dry and brushed, we trim his feet! We do this by doing his nails first; we clip and Dremel them smooth and short. Then we start by clippering or scissoring the hair on the bottom of the feet at the pads. We want the dogs to have protection, but they also need “grip.” You can use clippers or scissors. Just go flat against the foot and trim off any excess hair. Then we trim the hair between the pads and around the toes. We do this by taking our finger and pulling up the hair between the toes, using scis- sors to trim the excess hair. We “round” the feet. When the foot is in a standing position, it should look completely natural and round. There should not be scissor marks or an obviously groom- ing appearance. This should not alter the appearance of the dog or indicate a trim on any of their feathering. We do also check his teeth to see if any plaque needs to be scraped, but dogs on a high- quality diet usually have minimal plaque buildup, so scraping is usually not necessary.
Once at the show site, we do try to keep our Kooiker clean and dry. As much as we want to make sure that Kooikers remain a working breed and are able to do their job, it is still a dog show, and so, your dog is expected to be groomed and clean. The coat should look smooth and together, not separated, oily, or tangled. If you have a male, you should check their male bits and make sure they are dry and clean. No judge wants a handful of anything wet or sticky! If you have a female, check the lady parts; and if she is in season, wipe her with a grooming wipe before showing, to mini- mize dripping. Then we simply go to our ring, run a slicker brush or comb over the dog, and head into the ring. It is important to note that even those who do not show their Kooikers should be doing regular brushing, nail trims, and feet trimming. We trim the feet to avoid snowball and mud build-up, to give the pads proper grip, and to keep the house neat and clean by having less mud and water on the feet. Regular nail trims are extremely important for any dog of any breed, as the nails directly create the conformation of the feet and allow your dog to stand, walk, and run the appropriate way! Our breed is a natural dog and we want to keep it that way. In order to do this, we need to band together to show our Kooi- kers in a natural coat. We should not be fluffing them, spray- ing excessively with conditioner or water, and we should NOT be trimming anything other than their feet. We all need to work together to keep our Kooikers looking natural in the show ring. We, and many other natural Kooiker exhibitors, have already proven that we can and will win with our natural dogs. Contrary to popular belief by some professional handlers, we do not have to try to become a Golden Retriever or a Setter in the ring. This is not what our breed is!
F irst of all . . . Don’t ever take your Kooiker to a groomer or let a handler get hold of him/her. We have heard of many, many incidents of a groomer
while you are trying to grow the hair back.
with a natural, untrimmed coat.
All other grooming for the show ring can be done with
days before the show may be helpful if the coat is dirty or
ing of the coat can unbalance the natural oils and weather
Only the hair between the pads and around the toes
or her air dry. When the coat is dry, use your comb just to remove any tangles and to smooth out the coat.
up mud, small rocks, and snow balls between the toes.
erhondjes are not small Golden Retrievers, and we certain ly should not be grooming them in that manner.
appearance of the dog.
Kooiker Chronicle | Volume 16 No. 67 | October/November 2015
We do not want the Kooiker show to become a compe
When you get to the show, put the dog on a small grooming table, and comb out the coat to its natural
should lie naturally.
2. Chalk and starch being brushed onto the legs and feet
dercoat. Front legs should have moderate feathering reaching to the pastern joints.
the head, the front part of the legs and the feet should
keep them that way.
the tail. Longer hair on throat and forechest. Earrings
About the Author: Rod Beckstead is a Kooikerhondje owner and breeder
and showing purebred dogs of many breeds, with the current focus being on the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje.
UKC and look forward to doing the same in AKC as the dog gains recogni
Standard of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
General Appearance: The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is a harmoniously built orange-red parti-colored small sporting dog of almost square body proportions. He moves with his head held high; in action, the well-feathered waving tail is carried level with, or above the topline. The ears may have black hair at the tips, the so-called earrings. The dog is presented with a natural, untrimmed coat. Visible scissoring or grooming, except for neatening the feet, is to be severely penalized. Size Proportion, Substance: Size - Ideal height at the withers: Males 16 inches, Females 15 inches. Disqualification - 1½ inches under the ideal height after 1 year of age or 1½ inches above the ideal height at any age. Proportion - Skull and muzzle are of about equal length. The length of the body from the point of the shoulder (at the scapula/humerus) to the point of the buttocks should be slightly longer than the height at the withers. Length of forelegs from ground to elbow should be equal to depth of body from elbow to withers. Substance - strong bone, but not heavy. Head: The head is of moderate length, fitting in with the general appearance, clean- cut, with flowing lines. Eyes - Almond-shaped, dark brown with a friendly, alert expression. Ears - Medium size, set above eye level but always lower than the top of the skull. The ears are carried close to the cheeks without a fold. Ear leather should easily reach the inner corner of the eye. Well feathered. Black hair tips ("earrings") are highly desirable. Skull - Sufficiently broad, moderately rounded. Stop - Seen in profile clearly visible but not too deep. Muzzle - Should be a blunt wedge seen from above or in profile, not too deep, nor tapering too much. Well filled under the eye, creating a smooth transition from muzzle to skull. Planes (Muzzle & Skull) - Straight muzzle, almost parallel planes. Nose - Black and well developed. Lips - Preferably well pigmented, close fitting and not pendulous. Bite - Scissors bite. Complete dentition preferable. Level bite acceptable, but less desirable . Neck, Topline, Body: Neck - Medium length to balance body, clean-cut and strongly muscled. Topline - Smooth level line from the withers to hipbones with a slightly rounded croup. Chest - Reaching to the elbows with moderate spring of ribs. Underline - Slight tuck-up towards the loin. Back - Strong and straight, rather short. Loin - Short and broad, strongly muscled. Tail - Set on so as to follow the topline of the body. Well-feathered with a white plume. The last vertebra should reach the hock joint. When gaiting, carried level with the topline, with an upward curve or almost straight up. Not curling with a ring or circling over the back. When standing, the tail may be held downward. Forequarters: Shoulders - Shoulder moderately angled in order to create a flowing line from neck to back. Upper Arm - Moderately angled to match layback of shoulder blade, which is of equal length. Forechest - Prosternum - Point of forechest should be slightly protruding beyond the point of the shoulder. Elbow - Close to the body. Legs - Straight and parallel, strong bone of sufficient density and length. Pasterns - Strong and slightly oblique. Forefeet - Small, slightly oval, compact, toes pointing forward.
Hindquarters: Angulation - Moderately angulated, to match forequarters. Seen from the rear, straight and parallel. Legs - Strong bone. Upper Thigh - well muscled. Second Thigh - length equal to upper thigh. Hock Joint - well let down. Hind Feet - Small, oval, compact, toes pointing forward. Coat: Hair - Of medium length, close lying. May be slightly wavy or straight, but never curly or open. Soft, but with enough texture to be weather resistant. Functional undercoat. Front legs should have moderate feathering reaching to the pastern joints. Hind legs should have fairly long feathered breeches. No feathering below the hock joints. The coat on the head, the front part of the legs and the feet should be short. Sufficiently feathered on the underside of the tail. Longer hair on throat and forechest. Earrings (long feathered black hair tips) are highly desirable. Color: Distinct patches of clear orange-red on pure white are ideal. A few small spots on the legs or muzzle are acceptable. Chest, belly, and the majority of the legs and tail should be white. Orange red color should predominate on the head and torso and may be present as a mantle or blanket, but is less desirable than distinct patches. Some black hair intermingling with the orange-red color and a slight form of ticking are acceptable, but less desirable. A black tail ring where the color changes from orange-red to white on the tail is permitted. Coloring on the head: A clearly visible white blaze running down to the nose. There should be coloring on the cheeks, ideally ending at the comers of the mouth, and around the eyes. A blaze that is too narrow or too wide or only partly colored cheeks is less desirable. Color should be a consideration only when all else between two dogs is equal. Disqualification - Color that is black and white or tri-color. Gait: Should be flowing and light-footed, with moderate reach and drive. Limbs parallel. Temperament: Lively and agile, self-confident and with sufficient perseverance and stamina. Good natured and alert, however not noisy. The breed is faithful, easygoing and friendly to his owners and can be a bit reserved with strangers. When not luring ducks into elaborate man-made traps, the dog is expected to find and kill vermin, and to alert his family to strangers on the property. Hence he needs to be keen, swift and tough. He is a true sporting dog, being attentive and energetic and having a zest for working and with a cheerful character. Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and the functional health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work. Ears too small. Ears half-erect, "flying ears". Tail that is too curled. Hackney gait. Curly or silky hair. Open coat. Color that is heavily interspersed with black hairs in the orange-red patches. Too much ticking. Severe Faults : Anxious behavior. Distinctly low on legs, out of proportion. Blue or yellow eye(s). Undershot or overshot bite. Tail too short, vertebrae not reaching hock- joint. White color on ears, partly or completely. White hair around eyes, one or both. Disqualifications: 1½ inches under the ideal height after 1 year of age or 1½ inches above the ideal height at any age. Color that is black and white or tri-color.
Approved February 10, 2017 Effective April 1, 2017
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