One of the most common things I am asked about is a Kooiker’s temperament. The information found on the web differs greatly from the perfect family pet, to a dog that cannot be trusted at all with other dogs, men, children or strangers. Having lived with the breed for 30 years, and seeing how characters have been drastically shaped by life in quarantine, waiting to be 14 months, then 10 months to be imported, to the newer 15 week rule and dogs bred in the UK itself I am going to add my thoughts to the other information out there.
You must always remember what any breed was originally breed for before bringing it into your home. When not working the eendenkoois Kooikers were expected to keep farms free of rats. As such, expect a little bit of that fiery terrier temperament. But equally, Kooikers were companions, and generally in nearly all of the old paintings are depicted with children. They want to be those happy social little dogs, some of them just need a little help and guidance through the first months.
I think a discussion I had with a Kooiker breeder that sums up my feelings perfectly. She said just because a Kooiker can be snappy, this is not an excuse and they shouldn’t be allowed to be snappy.
Yes any Kooiker if left to its own devices can become very dog aggressive. I have even seen some that become over protective of their family and can be untrustworthy of strangers, but not all out aggressive to people. I always feel that you get back what you put in. With correct training and long lasting socialisation (through to 18 months as a minimum) Kooikers can really enjoy meeting strange dogs, people, children, cats, and just being part of any normal family activities. Personally I attend 2 different ringcraft classes until 18 months, as well as plenty of visits to family, friends, shops, beer gardens and parks. For me the type of class doesn’t matter (as long as all training is done via positive reinforcement), but I attend 2 different classes so that the dog meets two sets of dogs and people in different locations. If you cannot offer your new puppy committed socialisation every week for 18months- 2 years then I am afraid that a Kooiker is not for you at this time. If you can then you are in for an adventure!
I should note that even if you do all the socialisation correctly some kooikers can still not be happy around strange dogs. Some of this maybe down to nurture. Meet the mum of your puppy, is she social, is she relaxed around other dogs. Her influence over puppies from 4-8weeks is often drastically underestimated. Sometimes a social Kooiker may have a bad experience which will make them wary of meeting strange dogs. This can be overcome, but should be done with advice from someone used to working a complex breed such as a Kooiker.
For me, my Kooikers adore children of any age, they have always shared a bed with family cats that they may not necessarily live with, they like to meet dogs when we are out on walks, they come camping, come on holiday, come to the pub, love car rides and make us laugh every day. In short, I would never be without one!