Earrings and Rings, Oh My

The delightful Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is an orange-red parti-colored dog, but genetically, Kooikers are sable dogs, not true orange or red dogs. This accounts for why some these orange dogs may also have black skin pigment, black hairs on their ears (“earrings”)  black hairs interspersed in their coat,  black-tipped guard hairs. and occasionally, a black tail base ring.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, Kooikerhondje, earrings, tail, Baroness Van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol

Photo by ©Radomír Režný | Dreamstime.com

We were hard pressed to find a photo of a black-tailed-ringed Kooiker, let alone one for which we had permission to share, and so we direct you to click here to see an example of one.  The ring tends to occur where the coat color changes from orange-red to white on the tail, and per the AKC breed standard, it is permitted. Given the challenge of finding more photos of this, however, we wondered if the black ring is permitted, but not preferred? For our part, we find the black ring charming, if not a mark of a dog’s individuality, but perhaps purists prefer a coat unbroken by black – ?

There is no accounting for personal preferences even when a breed standard permits an aspect of a dog. We cite another hallmark of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje,  the distinctive black feathery hairs or markings on the tips of the breed’s ears called “earrings,” and yet Baroness Van Hardenbroek van Ammerstol, founder of the modern Kooikerhondje, suggested deleting “earrings” from the standard in early meetings to discuss breed characteristics. For those of us who find the earrings endearing, this is sacrilege!

In the Baroness’ defense, however, she was trying to achieve true coat color in those early days, and would have had no way of knowing four decades ago that the presence of “earrings” is genetically related to also having a black tail ring, and that the same genes that determine the black earrings also cause the black tail ring, and finally that Kooikers with a tail ring also tend to have more profuse earrings.

Top image: Nederlandse Kooikerhondje created from 10 to 20 individually hand cut pieces of paper in a variety of colors and patterns, combined in layers, then mounted on color stock, by Patricia Peters – CanineCutUpsiah


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