The Kooikerhondjie or simply known as Kooiker is a small, spaniel-type dog of Dutch ancestry. The breed’s name literally translates to “little cager hound” or “little caging hound” because the dogs were used to lure ducks into cages. They are bred to love the outdoors and so they need to be taken outside as much as possible. However, since they were originally bred to chase ducks, they should not be allowed to roam in an open area. As pets, they are often described to be cheerful, well-behaved and alert. They are also intelligent but are still quite difficult to train.  
The Kooiker has an average life span is 12 to 14 years and due to the breed’s small gene pool, hereditary diseases are prevalent such as von Willebrand’s disease (a blood clotting disorder) and Hereditary Necrotising Myelopathy (a fatal neurologic disease). These dogs have good appetites and have the tendency to gain weight easily. Regular exercise is needed to keep their weight down. 
The breed was developed in 16th century Netherlands to lure ducks into cages or traps called “kooi” and the dogs were also used to keep homes and farms free from vermin. It is widely believed that the breed is a predecessor of another tolling dog breed, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Unfortunately, the breed almost went extinct after World War II – it even came to a point where only 25 dogs remained. If it wasn’t for Baroness Van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol, the breed would have been wiped out. The Baroness rebuilt the Kookerhondjie by writing down a detailed description of the dog and have a salesman travel around to look for dogs that fit the criteria. Through her efforts, the Kooikerhondjie was saved from being extinct.