Keeshonden are compact little animals with a strong resemblance to its ancestor the Samoyed, with oblique chestnut eyes, erect triangular ears, and its medium-length tail rolled on its back. It has a cream or pale gray undercoat and a luxurious outer coat that comes in shades of gray with black tips and stands away from the body. Its coat always appears to have just been washed and combed. The markings are quite definite and there are distinctive pale "spectacles" around the eyes. A choke chain should not be used, as it will spoil the spectacular ruff.
An excellent children's companion, lively, intelligent, and very alert. A real character that is quick to learn if their owners are consistent. They should be trained gently and patiently without a lot of jerking. Keeshond are full of personality. They can be trained to perform. Affectionate, friendly, and generally outgoing. The Keeshond loves everyone and needs to be part of the family activities. They are generally good with other pets. Socialize well to avoid them from becoming reserved or timid. For years the Keeshond was the dog-of-all-jobs on Dutch boats. Today it is used as a companion dog. They like to bark and are good watchdogs because of its notable gift for warning of danger. Teach them enough is enough, to stop barking after their first initial warning bark. Beware of overfeeding, for the Keeshond will gain weight easily. Be sure to take them for a daily pack walk to drain both mental and physical energy, to avoid over excitability, such as spinning in circles and other behavior issues. A Keeshond who spins in circles has excess energy he needs to burn, both physical and mental. Always be your dogs pack leader, remaining firm, confident and consistent. Give the dogs rules he must follow and limits to what he is and is not allowed to do. Dogs crave, and instinctually need this type of order in their lives.
Keeshond Height, Weight
Height: Dogs 17-19 inches (44-48cm.) Bitches are 10% less.
Weight: some sources say 55-66 pounds (25-30kg.)
while others say 35-45 pounds (15-20 kg.) Ask your breeder which standard they follow.
Keeshond Health Problems
Prone to hip dysplasia, skin problems and heart disease. In some Keeshonden that have unsound stifles, very demanding exercise will cause trick knee to develop.
Keeshond Living Conditions
Will be okay in an apartment although they should at least have an average-sized yard. Keeshonden prefer cool climates; they cannot withstand the heat well due to their thick coats.
This breed needs to be taken on a daily walk. In addition, they will also enjoy good run in a safe, open field each day. This breed is fairly active indoors. When a Keeshond spins in circles it is a sign he needs more stimulating exercise. See video clip of excited Keeshond spinning in circles.
Keeshond Life Expectancy
About 12-15 years
Grooming is not as troublesome as you might expect, but daily brushing of the long coat with a stiff bristle brush is important. Brush with the grain first, then lift the hair with a comb, against the grain, lay it back in place. Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary. The dense undercoat is shed heavily twice a year in spring and fall.
The Keeshond has an arctic origin. In the eighteenth century the Keeshond was known as "a dog of the people." In its veins runs the blood of the Samoyed, Chow Chow, Elkhound, and Pomeranian. At the beginning of the French Revolution, it became the symbol of the common and middle-class Dutchmen who were led by the patriot Kees de Gyselaer. The breed then suffered a long period of neglect. They were first introduced into the UK by Mrs. Wingfield-Digby and did not become popular again until 1920, when it arrived in the US. This typical Spitz type breed was used to guard canal boats. It became known as the Dutch Barge Dog, although in Victorian England it was perhaps rather unkindly named the Overweight Pomeranian!
Northern, AKC Non-Sporting