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The Keeshond is attractive, medium sized,
well balanced and sports an eye catching luxurious
coat with a plumed, curled tail. The Keeshond
is friendly, affectionate, alert and intelligent.
They are of arctic origin and are thought
to have similar strains related to the Samoyed,
Finnish Spitz, Norwegian Elkhound and the
Pomeranian. Keeshonden were used as companions,
watch dogs and also as vermin controllers
on smaller boats and barges in the 18th and
In the late 18th century, the Keeshond was
recognized as a symbol of the Dutch patriot
party which stood for the common people. The
party was led by Cornelius de Gyzelaar - nicknamed
"Kees" - who had a Keeshond as his
constant companion. This is also where the
breed took its name. The revolt lost against
the House of Orange, therefore, many disposed
of their Keeshonden because they were viewed
as being associated with the opposition.
In 1920, Baroness van Hardenbroek took a genuine
interest in reviving the breed which had lost
much of its appeal with the general public
(they were still used and owned by farmers,
captains and truck men). Her breeding program
was successful, word quickly spread throughout
Europe and ten years later, the Dutch Keeshond
Club was established.
The Keeshond breed did not gain popularity
in the US until after the end of WWII and
today they are enjoyed as the perfect all
around family pet.
The ideal height of a Keeshond is when measured
at withers is 18 inches for males and 17 inches
The weight for a Keeshond dog is 45lbs
(20kg) and for bitches: 35lbs (16kg).
The Keeshond has a plush, dense double coat.
The outer coat is long and harsh and the under
coat is thick and wooly. Thick ruff around
the neck and a plumed tail.
The Keeshonden coat has a mixture of
gray, black and cream colors which can vary
from light to dark. The tips of the outer
coat are black and the under coat is silver
or cream - but never tawny. Daily brushing
with a stiff brush is necessary to keep the
coat in good condition. Bathe only when necessary.
Keeshonden are heavy shedders - in the fall
Temperament: The Keeshond is an excellent
family pet and wonderful with children. They
love being part of the family and are not
meant to be left outside. The Keeshond is
alert and will bark at strangers making them
a great watch dog. Keeshonden are intelligent
and very quick learners. They are sensitive,
therefore training should be done in a gentle,
yet firm and consistent manner. The Keeshond
is not aggressive - it is affectionate, lively
and sociable. Keeshonden generally get along
with other dogs. Daily exercise such as a
walk or free play in an open field are recommended.
Problems: Keeshonden are generally
healthy. Some health concerns include: hip
dysplasia, luxating patellas, epilepsy, hypothyroidism
and primary hyperparathyroidism. The average
life span of a Keeshond is between 12 and
•The first Keeshond was registered
with the American Kennel Club in 1930.
•The Keeshond Club of America
was organized in 1935.
•Keeshonden are trained to
serve as guide dogs for the blind.
•Keeshonden are affectionate
and make great comfort dogs - Rescue workers
at Ground Zero were comforted by a Keeshond.
• Keeshond is
pronounced: kayz-hawnd. The plural of Keeshond
• The Keeshond is
the national dog of Holland.
is a nickname for Cornelius de Gyselaer who
led the Patriot party against the House of
Orange and 'hond' is a Dutch word for dog.
AKC: Non Sporting Group
ANKC: Group 7 - Non Sporting
CKC: Group 6 - Non Sporting
FCI: Group 5 - Section 4: European Spitz
NZKC: Non Sporting
UKC: Northern Breeds