Ask Your Breeder

There is a lot of information to consider when choosing a breeder for your Kooikerhondje puppy. In order to help you choose the right breeder, we have gathered information on what you should know, ask, and do in order to make the best selection.

The typical personality of a Kooiker:

  • What is his/her temperament like?
  • Is he/she reserved or friendly with strangers?
  • How does he/she react to other dogs?
  • Are there any situations when he/she is anxious or uncomfortable and how do you manage those situations?
  • Ask the breeder if he/she knows what personality is typical for the breed and where those traits came from historically. Kooikerhondjes are naturally a little cautious and reserved which can come across as anxious, insecure or distant. They are sensitive to noises and usually have a strong bond with their owners. They used to work one on one with their handler in the duck “kooi” in the Netherlands. This is a quiet and secluded place.


  • What health tests have you performed?
  • Can I see the results of the OFA hip x-ray, the OFA eye exam, the OFA patella exam, the Von Willebrand test and ENM test?
  • Have you done any other health testing and why?
  • What health issues do you see potentially in your dog’s pedigree?
  • What health tests and results does the breeding partner have?
  • What do you know about health issues in this breed and how common are they?
  • Look up a specific Kooiker here.

The activity level and areas of performance:

  • What types of training have you done with your dog and what results can you show me?
  • What does a typical day with your dog/s look like?
  • This will give you an idea what relationship the breeder has with their dogs and what he/she considers important and necessary for this breed.

Show or conformation results:

  • Have you ever shown your dogs at a dog show?
  • Did he/she compete against other Kooikerhondjes?
  • What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of your dog compared to the standard?
  • Again, this will give you an idea about the breeder’s knowledge and experience as well as honestly. This is also an opportunity to understand the decisions that your breeder makes when it comes to choosing breeding pairs.

 Knowledge of the breed:

  • Please explain to me what the breed was used for in the past?
  • Have you been to the Netherlands or have you seen a working duck kooi?
  • Have you been to any Kooikerhondje shows in Europe?
  • Have you had the chance to visit any breeders in Europe in person?
  • How many Kooikers have you seen/trained in your life?

Kennel specific questions:

  • How often do you have a litter?
  • Do you breed other dog breeds?
  • What is the minimum age of a stud/bitch used for breeding?
  • How often will your female Kooiker be bred in her lifetime?

Puppy Socialization:

  • How do you intend to socialize the litter and what training will the puppies receive?
  • The first weeks of life are so essential and the breeder can make a true difference in the life of any puppy. A breeder might take the extra step and do a puppy aptitude test, which will give a first impression on the temperament and drive of an individual puppy in a litter. Some breeders are devoted to socializing their puppies early around children, noises, other animals and new environments. It is even possible to start house and crate training at such a young age. Answers to those question will give you an idea how invested the breeder is into raising your puppy.

Top Ten Reasons Not to get a Kooikerhondje:

  1. Did you say no? Kooikers are generally too smart to engage in out-and- out dominance battles. Instead they sense a weak will, and exploit it. If you are unable to be firm (kind, but firm) about the rules of your household, and to enforce them consistently, you will find that the ruler of your house has four legs.
  2. They are very smart. This is a dog with brains to spare. They need to be challenged and engaged by their work. Keeping all that intelligence focused and busy is a big challenge. All Kooiker owners must be willing to do basic obedience training ideally for at least the first two years.
  3. They are sensitive. Kooikers are physically and emotionally sensitive. You have to be careful with how much pressure you apply in training.
  4. They are not everyone’s friend. Most Kooikers will greet strangers, but generally reserve true enthusiasm for their family and special people.
  5. Do you have small children or plan to have children in the future? Many Kooikers do fine with children when raised with them from puppyhood. However, others are too sensitive and reactive to live with the loud noises and unexpected movements to which young children are prone.
  6. They do not necessarily like every dog they meet. Most Kooikers do well with their “pack”. Many do not like dogs with whom they are not familiar. They require a large “personal space” in their interactions with other dogs, making dog parks inadvisable.
  7. Prey Drive. If you don’t want your cat chased, this may not be the dog for you. Most will chase anything that runs.
  8. Shedding. Kooikers shed profusely at least two times per year.
  9. They are dogs. They like to roll in smelly things and wallow in mud. They are not for the fastidious.
  10. Not guard dogs. Kooikers are generally wary of strangers and will not stand up to them. They will not guard you or your house.



The Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test

The Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test is performed at 49 days to help place puppies in the appropriate home.

The Avidog way

Waterbound litters are raised the Avidog way.

Waterbound Dogs Undergo 5 Health Screenings



Testing is available through Utrecht University of Veterinary Medicine in the Netherlands by blood sample. All breeding stock is required to be tested for the carrier status.



A DNA blood test is available to screen for carrier status of ENM through Utrecht University of Veterinary Medicine in the Netherlands by blood sample. All breeding stock is required to be tested for the carrier status.



Dogs used for breeding should be free or only minimally affected with patella luxation and should carry a valid Orthopedic Foundation for Animals’ (OFA) certificate.



Ask a qualified veterinarian to x-ray your dog and submit results to Orthopedic Foundation for Animals’ (OFA). All breeding stock should be tested.



It is important to have Kooikers examined by a board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist and registered with CERF, the Canine Eye Registration Foundation.


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