The Markiesje (also known as the Dutch Tulip Hound or the Hollandse Tulphond) is a small, black companion dog that hails from the Netherlands. Some say it’s an ancient breed; others say it was developed as late as the 1970s. Some say it’s named after the Marquise de Pompadour; others say it’s named after a basket. Either way, what we know for sure is that its gentle, friendly disposition and happy-go-lucky nature make it an incredible pooch to have around. Find out more as we reveal ten things you didn’t know about the Markiesje.
1. They’re an ancient breed… possibly
How the Markiesje came to be is something of a hotly contested topic. Some people claim it’s an ancient breed, citing the small black dogs that regularly pop up in paintings from the 1600s as evidence. According to them, the breed was bought to the Netherlands in the 16th century as companion dogs to soldiers during the Eighty Years’ War with Spain. Others claim the dog in the paintings is a spaniel, suggesting the two breeds may share a common ancestor. Ultimately, there are too few records from the period to confirm either way. What we do know is that the breed we know today was developed by Mrs van Ederen and Mrs. Westenbrink-Koning in 1979. After introducing other breeds like the Chinese Crested to widen the gene pool, the two breeders created the foundation for the modern Markiesje.
2. Their name is a mystery
The name ‘Markiesje’ (which is pronounced mar-kees-ye) is just as much of a mystery as the breed’s origins. As nationalpurebreddogday.com writes, despite having the instincts of a retriever or gundog, the Markiesje’s small size has always made it more of a companion dog than a working one. With its lapdog proportions, this is a dog that can fit easily into a basket…something which has made some wonder whether its name may in fact derive from a small, similarly named reed basket used in the Netherlands. Others suggest they were named after the French word for a pointing dog (‘marqueur’) while others still have suggested that King Louis XV’s mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, gave the dog its name after she was painted by Francois Bouche with a small, black dog at her feet.
3. They’re prone to dandruff
According to dogbreedinfo.com, the Markiesje is prone to dandruff, something that’s no easy thing to disguise considering its jet black coat. To nip the problem in the bud, a gentle, medicated shampoo should be used. Other than that, the Markiesje is relatively low maintenance. Their single-layer coat is easy to care for and low shedding; it will, however, need to be brushed regularly with a firm bristle brush to avoid any mats or tangles forming. Like all dogs, their teeth will need to be cleaned a few times a week, their nails should be checked and trimmed when necessary, and their ears and eyes should be checked and wiped with a soft cloth to present infection.
4. They’ve been recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club
Recognition isn’t everything in the dog kingdom, but it doesn’t exactly hurt either. So far, the Markiesje has been shunned by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but welcomed with open arms by the American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI), the Dutch Kennel Club (DKC), and the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).
5. They have black coats
If you like choice, you might need to keep looking. Beautiful though the Markiesje is, it’s somewhat lacking in variety, at least in the coat department. Every Markiesje’s coat is uniformly soft, silky, smooth lying, and black. Occasionally, they might have a few white markings on their chest, collar, belly, legs, and tail, but you’ll never see a Markiesje that isn’t primarily black. If you meet a breeder who tries to convince you otherwise, talk with your feet: whatever else that yellow pup is, a Markiesje it isn’t.
6. They’re tiny
The Markiesje might have the instincts of a gun dog, but it certainly doesn’t have the dimensions of one. Although they’re considered a companion dog rather than a lap dog, they’re still small enough to curl up on your knee. According to wagwalking.com, the average male Markiesje measures 13-15 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 12 and 14 pounds. The average female stands 12-14 inches tall and weighs 11 to 13 pounds. Asides from their tiny stature, other notable features include a body that’s slightly longer than it is tall, large, almond-shaped eyes, and high set, medium-sized triangular ears with plenty of feathering.
7. They get on well with kids
Markiesjes are known for their friendly, affectionate natures. Although they love attention, they don’t demand it, making them particularly easy to get along with. Gentle and playful, they make great companions to kids. Although interactions with small children should always be supervised, they tend to be remarkably trustworthy. While every dog is different, the breed generally adjusts well to a host of different environments, with very little propensity towards separation anxiety or other social problems.
8. They make great watchdogs
Small and cute though it may be, the Markiesje isn’t afraid of working for its living. Even though its size makes it a less-than-popular choice for hunting, it still has the instinct to retrieve small game or birds. Although its friendly disposition makes it a poor choice of guard dog, its alert nature makes it an excellent little watchdog.
9. They need lots of exercise
Despite their small size, the Markiseje requires plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. At a minimum, they need around 1 hour of vigorous activity each day. If you can throw in a few games of frisbee or tug of war on top of their walks, so much the better. Due to their athleticism and intelligence, they make excellent candidates for agility training. Although their size suggests they’d make good pets for people living in small apartments, their high activity levels (not to mention noise levels) are more suited to family homes with fenced-in yards.
10. They’re known for their good health
No dog is invulnerable to health problems, but by and large, the Markiseje is a remarkably robust, healthy little dog that’s free of any genetic health conditions. Provided any sign of trouble is spotted and remedied promptly, most Markisejes can expect to live for between 12 and 14 years.