Remy the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (“coy-ker-hund-jcha”) belongs to Colita Wittenkeller and her family in Greenbrae. He is only a year and a half old, but has a rather noble lineage, coming from a long line of Dutch working dogs, the kind that are commonly found hanging out in 17th century Dutch paintings by artists such as Vermeer, Steen and Rembrant (his namesake). The breed was once used by Dutch farmers to lure ducks (kooi) into a cage, kill vermin and serve as an alert for poachers. The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is a surprisingly recent addition to the AKC Sporting group, as these small, orange and white dogs weighing around 25 pounds were only added in 2018.
“We first learned about the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje breed at the Golden Gate Kennel Club’s dog show in San Francisco, January, 2018,” explains Colita. “Our then 7-year-old daughter had been lobbying hard for a family dog and after much research and consideration, we decided that the breed would be the best for our family. Kooikers are smart, athletic and loyal to their family. They are not too small and not too big – just the right size. It was important that our dog not have too strong of a prey drive and chase our cats (though he still chases one of them!). In February 2018, we reached out to two breeders in Northern California and met with each of them. There is a long wait list for Kooiker puppies, but we got lucky and were able to take him home that summer after a fairly in depth interview and meet and greet process. We couldn’t be happier that our breeder trusted us to be Remy’s family; he brings us so much joy every day!”
Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes are known for being smart, eager to please, good-natured, cheerful and easygoing. They have a sensitive side, and are particular about the dogs they befriend – (“Remy has two Golden Retriever besties that live next door and they play almost every day – he loves playing with them!”, Colita says.) The Kooikerhondjes are also easy to train. “Our Remy is very devoted to our family and does well in most all kinds of situations,” Colita says. “He is occasionally unpredictable – especially now that he is in his teenage years – but we continue to work with him on training and try not to put him into situations where he wouldn’t do well.”
Remy was bred by Susanne Martin of Golden Gate Kooikerhondjes and Sue van Dyke, owner of Remy’s mom Ati van Dyke. “Susanne has been involved in this breed since 1998,” explains Colita. “The goal at Golden Gate has been to produce beautiful companion dogs that are able and willing to compete in all aspects of canine activities. They are a small kennel with a limited but well-planned breeding program. They work on this goal with friends and other breeders and co-own several dogs that live in other locations. They follow a unique, state-of-the-art puppy rearing and development program that gives all of our pups, no matter their future, the best possible start in life. At Golden Gate, their first concern is health. Susanne is a Stanford-trained medical doctor, and her medical professional background gives her the opportunity to do educated research, planning and breeding.”
Remy’s companions at Golden Gate are true achievers. One of Susanne’s dogs was Best of Breed at the Westminster Dog Show earlier this year (Harvey – “GCH CH Waterbound Everything Harvey VD Golden Gate NA NAJ CGC”). Susanne herself recently received AKC recognition as a “Breeder of Merit”. “She feels that being an ethical breeder means to be transparent with families interested in acquiring a puppy (waiting time, expectations, pros and cons of the breed), and the willingness to stay in contact and be available when questions or issues arise, and we can vouch for her 100%!” says Colita. “We have a close relationship with Susanne, Sue and most of Remy’s littermates. We are constantly sharing information about training, competitions, eating and all things “Kooiker”.
How did Remy get his name?
Remy is our nickname for “Rembrandt”, and we thought it’d be fun to give a nod to his Dutch heritage. We always planned to call him Remy. His AKC registered name is Golden Gate Saliforth Remmel. His litter has a theme of Pacific Northwest Mountain ranges so after a bit of research on Google, we found a “ Remmel Mountain” in the Pac Northwest and it all came together.
Does he sleep in your bed at night?
No, Remy sleeps in his crate, which he loves – it’s his “den”.
Does he have a favorite place to walk?
Remy loves walking around our neighborhood and on the weekends, Remy loves to go around Phoenix Lake with us or on other dog-friendly hikes.
Tell us something unique about him.
Well, he’s a rare breed with a difficult name to pronounce so that’s always a conversation starter! I usually preface any conversation with “it’s a breed you’ve never heard of”. Remy loves to play in creeks and ocean waves at Stinson beach. He has a double-coat which is easy to care for (no grooming required, but an occasional bath is needed) and the one of the markings of a Kooiker are the long black tips on his ears, often called “earrings”.
If you want to keep up with Remy, you can follow him on Instagram.
If you’d like to enter your dog into Marin’s dog-of-the-month, please contact [email protected].
Jessica is an international writer and editor who has lived and worked in London, Dubai and Cape Town. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Jessica is the former editor of Abu Dhabi’s airline magazine, Etihad Inflight. She also worked for six years in a creative agency in South Africa, heading up publications for wineries, a luxury jeweler, and even an orchestra. She then moved back to California and decided to get serious about digital, brushing up with a course at General Assembly and launching into the role of Digital Editor for both Marin Magazine and the SF Bay section of Better.net. When she’s not checking out the latest exhibit at SFMOMA or searching out the best places to eat and drink near her home in San Francisco, she volunteers at the Marin Mammal Center in Sausalito.