Small Dutch Dog Breeds

Kooikerhondje (koy-ker-HON-dje): This beautiful, small dutch dog breed is a resurgent favorite, thanks to its gentle nature and elegant appearance. Originally used to lure ducks into traps, the kooiker is also a spirited and loyal companion. It has a silky, white and red coat accented with black “earring” tassels and a plumy tail. “Kooikers are a little fierce when defending their territory or chasing prey, but they’re happy and affectionate with people,” says Betty Dalke Wathne, who has owned two kooikerhondjes for nine years. “They’re intelligent, eager to please and good-natured, with a cheerful and easygoing demeanor.” Go here

Smoushond: Friendly and Adaptable

Markiesje (MARK-ehs-je): Known for their plush, foxlike double coats in a mix of grays, blacks and browns, this small dutch dog breed looks more like a large spaniel than a dog. It has a distinctive, lionlike ruff and the characteristic “spectacles” markings around its eyes that make it look like it’s wearing eyeglasses—and it always wears a smile. Originally bred as barge dogs to accompany Dutch canal boats, these affectionate companions are natural watchdogs, alerting their owners if anything seems amiss.

Stabyhoun (sta-bee-ohn): These versatile, medium-sized dogs can do it all—hunt fowl and larger game; herd sheep and other livestock; and serve as service animals for the disabled. They’re intelligent, easily trainable and excel in canine sports, but they need plenty of exercise, especially running and hiking.

These sturdy, adaptable dogs generally lead long, healthy lives. Because they were built up from a limited gene pool, they’re at risk for some hereditary conditions such as polymyositis (an autoimmune disorder that causes muscle weakness) and hereditary necrotising myelopathy (a nerve disorder that can cause paralysis). However, with genetic testing and responsible breeding practices, these rare diseases should be reduced.

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