Other names/Nicknames:
  • Dutch Barge Dog
  • Wolf Spitz
  • Chien Loup
Country/Date of origin:
  • Netherlands
  • 1500′s
  • 17 to 18 inches
  • 55 to 66 pounds
  • A delightful little companion.
  • Loyal, alert and protective.
  • Intelligent but quite stubborn.

The Keeshond is named after Cornelis “Kees” de Gyselaer, the leader of the Dutch rebels who rose up against the House of Orange in the late 18th century.  The King used the Pug as his symbol, so de Gyselaer chose his own dog to be the symbol of the revolution.  The dog became known as the dog of Kees or Keeshond.  It made the Keeshond famous.  Of course, being the symbol of a political movement can have its drawbacks, too.  When the monarchy regained power, the Keeshond disappeared from the cities.  A few of the barge captains kept it as a guard dog, and as a result it got its other name, the Dutch Barge Dog.  The present day Keeshond was first shown at a dog show in Holland in 1891.  A breed standard was drawn up in 1933 in its native land, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) did not approve one until 1949.

Body Type:
  • Typical Northern sled-dog type of medium size.
  • The fairly long, plume tail is tightly curled over the back and is not altered.  A double curl is most desirable.
  • The high set ears are small and erect.  They are not altered.
  • The bushy, double coat consists of a thick, downy undercoat and a long, straight outercoat that stands well away from the body.
  • Reflecting the dog’s oft used descriptive name, Wolf Spitz, the Keeshond is gray.  It sports a pale gray or cream undercoat with an outercoat that is a mixture of gray and black hairs.
  • The neck has a heavy ruff of longer hair and the long feathering on the legs resembles britches.
  • The feet and face have short soft hair.
  • Characteristic dark markings frame the face with spectacles.
  • Requires frequent brushing.
  • Seasonal shedding may overwhelm the owner.
Health and Wellness:
  • Tetralogy of Fallot.
  • Ventricular septal defect.
  • Renal dysplasia.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy.
  • Alopecia X.
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Melanoma.
What you should know:
  • Pronounce the name kayshond.
  • The plural of Keeshond is Keeshonden, utilizing the Dutch form.
  • Puppies are born black, or seal brown, and fade to white by four months.
  • The wolf markings may take 18 months to develop.
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