It just might be the prettiest name for a dog breed, the Dutch Tulip Hound, and while the Dutch breed also known as the Markiesje may be new to some of you, this is a dog whose origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages when it lived in palaces, country estates and castles. Indeed, two of the children of King Willem II of the Netherlands kept the dogs, as did Prince of Orange-Nassau, and others beyond Netherland’s borderes. We know this from the paintings done of them at the time, the subjects all in the company of a small black (and white) Spioen (or Spaniel).
The breed may have its origins in the Dutch Spioen, a breed also found in the ancestries of the Drentse Patrijshond, the Wetterhoun, the Stabyhoun and the Kooikerhondje, and by the 18th century, the Markiesje was as well-known in the Netherlands as the King Charles Spaniel was in England.
The origin of the breed’s Dutch name may be as colorful as the name, itself. Legend holds that the “Markiesje” is named after one of the most famous mistresses of the French king Louis XV, Markiezin de Pompadour. Others insist that the name comes from the French word for “standing dog,” or “Maquer,” or from a breeder whose name is Van he Veluws Markizaat. In the end, however, Dutch Tulip Hound is the most lyrical.
The breed did not sail into the 21st century without struggle. In the Netherland’s Golden Age, the breed was neglected, and modern times have seen a herculean effort to restore the breed to its former glory. Happily, the Raad van Beheer, or Dutch Kennel Club has been supportive of the breed’s resurrection and quest for recognition. Much credit goes to Mia van Woerden who became possessed by the breed after having seen a friend’s. After considerable research and consultation with the High Council of Nobility, van Woerden published articles and gave interviews in which she explained her goal of reconstructing the breed. An especially fruitful article appearing in Dog World attracted the attention of people who could help van Woerden in her efforts. A breeding program commenced, and progress was being made.
Long story short, in 1979, the Markiesje Fancier’s Association was formed, and two years after it gained legal status, the first club match was held in 1986 in which thirty five Markisejes were entered. We fast forward to 1996, and England’s Kennel Club provided provisional studbook registration certificates. In 1999, the breed was officially recognized by Dutch Kennel Club.
According to the fabulous book, Amazing Dutch Dog Breeds, the Markiesje population stood at 850 dogs as of 2017, and efforts to have the breed accepted by the FCI continue.
Image by Sietske van Maanen at Dutch Wikipedia – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3219151