The Keeshond, is a medium-sized breed of dog originating in Germany. Its closest relatives are the German Spitzes such as the Großspitz, Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz or Pomeranian. Originally it was called the German Spitz, or more specifically the Wolfspitz. The name was changed in 1926 in England to Keeshond, where it had been known as the Dutch Barge Dog. It was named after the 18th century Dutch Patriot, Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer. He was the leader of the rebellion against the House of Orange. The Keeshond became the rebels’ symbol, and when the House of Orange returned to power, the breed almost became extinct.
The Keeshond stands 17-18 inches tall and weighs 30-40 pounds according to AKC breed standards. This dog is sturdily built and has a typical spitz appearance, neither refined nor coarse. The head should be well -proportioned to the body and is wedge-shaped when viewed from above. The muzzle is medium in length, well-proportioned to the skull, and should be neither coarse nor snipey. The eyes of the Keeshond should be dark brown, medium sized, and almond-shaped. They are set obliquely and should not be too wide apart or too close together. The ears are small and triangular in shape, carried erect and mounted on the head. His tail is moderately long, well fathered, set on high and tightly curled over the back. The coat should cover the body abundantly. The hair is long, straight, and harsh standing well out. The undercoat is thick and downy. The colors of the Keeshond are a mixture of gray, black, and cream, and may vary from light to dark. The hair on the outer coat is black tipped.
This breed has quick reflexes, a strong ability to jump and tends to be very playful. They are fast learners and very eager to please. As being a good obedience dog, they have been successfully trained to be guide dogs for the blind. As they prefer to be close to their family members, they are excellent family dogs and they love children. Generally they get along well with other dogs. As the Keeshond is empathetic and very intuitive, they are often used as comfort dogs. They do have a tendency to become clingy towards their owners, and if the owner is out or behind closed doors, they may sit and wait for their owner to reappear even if other people are present. This breed is known for their loud, distinctive bark, and for this they make popular watchdogs and will alert their owners to any new visitors. They are not however, aggressive towards visitors, and the normally will welcome them once the family has accepted them.
The Keeshond is generally a very healthy breed, the average lifespan of the breed is 14-15 years. Though congenital health issues are not common, some are known to occur in the Keeshond Breed. These include: hip dysplasia, luxating patellas (trick knee), epilepsy, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, primary hyperparathyroidism, and hypothyroidism and Von Willebrand’s disease.