Country/Date of Origin: Netherlands/1700s
This breed originates from an ancient type of spaniel developed before the invention of firearms. In those days dogs were used as decoys and cavorted on the beach to attract waterfowl (called tolling) so that hunters could throw nets over the birds. This is most likely the foundation breed for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, which does much the same job in North America.
The breed was cherished in Holland because it is said that one of these dogs foiled an assassination attempt on Prince William II of Orange by barking and awakening him in time. In spite of royal patronage, the breed was almost extinct by the end of World War II. A group of loyal fanciers re-established the breeding stock and the Kooikerhondje gained official recognition in the Dutch Kennel Club in 1971.
FCI Group: 8 (Sporting)