Keeshond

The Keeshond is a square proportioned dog with distinct Spitz characteristics. The head is wedge shaped and well proportioned with a clear stop. Black markings around the eyes, called “spectacles,” add to the dog’s alert, fox-like expression. Ears are small, triangular and carried erect. The body is strong and compact, and the tail is long and feathered, and lies tightly curled over the back and close to the body. The Keeshond’s outer coat is long, harsh and straight, and stands straight out from the body; the coat forms a mane around the neck. Coloring is in various shades of black, gray and cream.

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Fast Facts

Non-Sporting
12 - 14 years
The Netherlands
18th century
45 lb
35 lb
17 - 19"
16 - 18"
Keeshound, Keshond, Keyshond or Keishond.
Wolf Spitz

Keeshond Photos

Keeshond Temperament

The Keeshond is a friendly, outgoing breed that is intelligent and active....

The breed learns quickly, and can be trained with relative ease so long as the owner is clear and consistent. This dog makes an excellent house pet and is very friendly toward children, and is usually quite good with pets as well. The breed is extremely affectionate and truly appreciates human companionship. The Keeshond loves to bark, and therefore makes a wonderful watchdog. One unique and rather endearing characteristic of the Keeshond is its habit of literally spinning in circles when excited.

Caring For a Keeshond

The Keeshond has a moderate need for exercise and will generally be okay with a daily walk, although a nice run or romp in a park or field will always be appreciated....

It is important to avoid overfeeding the Keeshond, as the breed can put on weight very quickly. This dog is physically able to live outdoors in moderate climates, but it much prefers to sleep inside and be around its family as much as possible. To maintain the Keeshond’s respectable appearance it is important to brush the dog’s coat on a daily basis. The breed sheds heavily twice yearly, once in the spring and again in the fall. Serious health issues are rare in this breed, though it may develop canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, patellar luxation and skin problems.

Keeshond History

A Brief History of the Keeshond

The exact origins of the Keeshond, or Wolf Spitz, are unknown, though the dog’s appearance places it firmly in the Spitz family; close relatives include the Finnish Spitz, Norwegian Elkhound, Chow Chow and Samoyed....

The breed was well known in the Netherlands by the 18th century, and was commonly employed as a river boat and barge watch dog, as well as a companion pet. The Keeshond would reach its greatest popularity and eventually face near extinction as a result of political upheaval in the Netherlands during the late 19th century. Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer, the leader of the Dutch patriot faction, owned a Wolf Spitz named Kees that was so strongly associated with the political leader that it became a symbol of the Patriot rebellion. When the rebellion was quashed and the House of Orange was restored to power, few people wanted to be seen with the rebel symbol, and the dogs began to disappear. The breed had all but vanished by the early 20th century, but luckily for the Keeshond, the Baroness van Hardenbroek began a campaign to restore the breed in 1920. The Wolf Spitz arrived in England and America during the 1920s, and was recognized as the Keeshond (in honor of Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer) by the American Kennel Club in 1930. Today, the Keeshond is a moderately popular pet in the United States, as well as the national dog of the Netherlands.