The Keeshond is one of the most affectionate and friendliest members of the Non-Sporting Group. This dog has the physical appearance of a fluffy, square-shaped Northern-type breed. The coat is harsh and long, perfect for withstanding cool temperatures. These stand from 17 to 18 inches tall, and weigh from 35 to 45 lbs.
The temperament of the Keeshond can be summed up in one word: loving. These dogs are as tender and affectionate as can be, not only towards its family members but also with other dogs and pets in the house. However, do not let this soft-hearted temperament fool you — the Keeshond also makes a great watchdog and will bark incessantly at incoming intruders.
A Brief History Of The Keeshond
The Keeshond has its roots from the Netherlands, dating back to the 1700s. However, the exact history of the breed is not documented. We do know that it was widely popular in Holland since the 18th century, owned by families as companions and devoted watchdogs.
Several years before the French Revolution the breed got twisted into the affairs discussed around the political events of the time. This was due largely in part from a man named Kees de Gyselaer, who was the leader of the Patriot faction. He owned a large number of these dogs and used them in so many political cartoons that the dogs became known as Patriot symbols.
Unfortunately, since this party did not win, many owners of Keeshond dogs got rid of their pets, not wanting to have anything affiliating them with the losing party. However, the breed did survive in enough numbers to continue. By 1925 the Keeshond made its way to England, and in 1930 the breed was recognized by the AKC.
Upkeep Requirements For The Keeshond
This is a moderately active breed that can get its exercise requirements from a few brisk walks on the leash and some playtime, both in or outside the home. They are compact enough in size to make ideal house dogs, but always appreciate a romp outside. The Keeshond is an overly-social dog that enjoys interacting with other dogs and people.
With its harsh coat, the ideal climate for the breed is in cool locations. They do not tolerate heat well and can live outdoors if need be. However, Keeshond dogs are meant to be companions and should sleep inside at night with the family. Grooming requirements call for a good brushing two to three times weekly.
The average lifespan for the Keeshond is between twelve and fourteen years. There are no major health concerns in the breed. Minor health issues include epilepsy, CHD, patellar luxation, and skin problems. Rarely seen is renal cortical hypoplasia, mitral valve insufficiency, and tetralogy of Fallot. Veterinarians suggest that the Keeshond get specifically tested for knee, hip, and cardiac problems.
During the 1800′s and 1900′s, Keeshonds were used for vermin killers, guard dogs, and considered to be good luck. They worked on boats, barges, and farms in Holland. One of the leader’s of the Dutch Revolt of the 18th century, Cornelius “Kees” de Gyzelaar, had a Keeshond, which was with him at all times. Thus, this breed was known as the emblem of the Patriot Party against the House of Orange. The Patriot Party lost the fight and a lot of people killed their Keeshond, as they feared being associated with the revolt. A few of these dogs survived in Holland.
These dogs were also in Italy, France, and Germany. The revival of this breed happened when Baroness van Hardenbroek took a liking to the breed in 1920. She had popularized the Keeshond within ten years and the Dutch Keeshond Club was formed. These dogs swiftly became popular in England after their introduction in 1925. In 1930, the AKC gave recognition to the Keeshond.
Though compact, they are muscular. Their plumed tails curl tightly almost like a spring. Their ears are small, pointy, and dark. They have black markings circling their eyes. The Keeshond head is shaped wedge-like with a muzzle of medium length. Their necks are covered in a dense ruff.
Is This Your Breed?
The Keeshond is friendly and sociable to people and other canines. They look to their owner when responding to strangers to guage his response. The coat requires brushing twice each week. They need excercise each day.
The outercoat is abundant, straight, rough, and stands away from the body. The undercoat is down-like, and dense.
The Keeshond coloring is a medley of gray, black, and cream. There can be variation in color going from rich to light. The outercoat’s fur is tipped in black; the length of this tipping makes the distinctive coloring. The color of the undercoat is cream or light gray.
The gait is bold with the tail curled above the back. It is a quick and straight movement.
The Keeshond is active, agile, playful, smart, alert, and affable. They are quick to learn and good at obedience training. It is it important to train them using patience and kindness because they are are sensitive and less independent than other Spitz type dogs. Be firm in training but not harsh. They like being part of the family. They are good watch dogs.