My search for the perfect Kooiker puppy took me to Kennel Cirtap's in Orby, Sweden and the home of Birgitta and Thomas Lindblad. Kooikerhondje (pronounced koy-ker-hond-ja) or Dutch Decoy Dog are part of the AKC FSS (Foundation Stock Services) program and are in the Sporting Group. They are considered a spaniel-type dog, particularly used for duck hunting and tolling, and were approved in January to compete in AKC companion events.
Birgitta picked me up at the Gothenberg-Landvetter Airpot in Sweden on Monday July 28th following a brief layover at Heathrow. After months of correspondence it was great to finally meet her in person. Her husband Thomas was wonderful as well; I've never met nicer people. :) They put me up in this cute little cabin on their property.
Except for the first day, which was stormy, the weather was beautiful but warm. I took the adult dogs on daily walks in the forest. It was quiet and serene, the rocky forest floor covered in moss, you almost expected to see a pack of wolves appear as dusk fell.
The pictures don't do it justice. I also saw some interesting wildlife. Huge hare almost as as big as a border collie, very large crow/raven type birds and these really cool slugs.
They're about 4 inches long and keep the forest floor clean. I took this picture with the macro function on my camera. Pretty cool, eh?
Birgitta and I went shopping on Friday in Boras. It's the textile capital of Sweden. We also saw the eclipse, it was pretty cool. There is a lot of controversy in the city about a 9 meter tall statue depicting Pinocchio by artist Jim Dine.
Birgitta and Thomas with all the pups. Note: you can't see River because he's giving her a kiss!
This is my boy! Ain't he just the cutest thing in the world??? And Ruby even likes him! No surprise there though. She's going to be a great big sister and show the kid the ropes.
This is Kelly, Cirtap's J-G Prinses Leopoldina, River's dam. She's a Nordic Champion meaning she's won & earned her Championship in at least three different countries. She's a very sweet, yet reserved bitch until she gets to know you, correct for a Kooiker Dog. She will also play fetch for hours unless you stop her!
This is Diko, Diko Iriot V.D. Cluster, River's sire. A very handsome dog with good bone and temperament. He comes from very good lines.
I was lucky enough to get to Sweden on Day 50 for the pups. Day 49 is actually the ideal day to do the Puppy Aptitude Test but we figured that one day later wouldn't hurt so much. Since I was the "stranger" I performed the testing and Birgitta got the whole thing on video. River and his brother, Aiko scored the best for a working dog, also having the best scores overall by the breeder as far as conformation. Now I had to make a choice...
Initially when Birgitta sent me the pictures of the newborn pups I already knew which one I wanted. Strange that after spending almost a whole week with the entire litter and getting to know each of them very well, it was still the same pup. The hardest thing was saying no to the others as they were all wonderful in their own way. Marvin grew on me as his personality developed and the shy one, Linux, had even taken on a special relationship with me. I became one he went to if he got scared. And they all changed so much in those few days. I think it's really important to get your pup between 7 and 8 weeks to get that socialization started and develop a bond with them, otherwise the breeder has to do that and if she has a large litter...not an easy thing for her to do. In the end, Birgitta said it's something you decide with your heart and Pup #2 became River.
Kelly went home on Tuesday evening (July 29th) so Birgitta and I drove her back to Katarina Blod's home. Check out these built in kennels; I thought they were pretty cool.
You can take the divider panel out too if you have a big dog or you want your dogs together. And just in case you're in a rear end collision, they also open on the inside.
River, Keela and Marvin destroy the wild flowers.
Aiko, Pup #1, finds his own flowers to eat.
Linux, Pup #4, sleeping in the shade.
Keela, the little girl, Pup #3
Marvin, Pup #5
River: "I have no idea what flowers you're talking about!"On Sunday, August 3rd, River and I made our long trip back to the states. Here he is at the airport.
River is settling in nicely and we'll have more pictures and updates soon. This weekend Ruby has an agility trial in Plano, IL and she can't wait to get out there and play again.