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BaxterBoo Blog
April 28, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Keeshond

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  • Height: "- ”
  • Weight: pounds
  • Historical function:
  • Modern function:
  • AKC classification:

Physical Characteristics:

The Keeshond, also known as the Kees and Wolfspitz, is a medium-sized dog with a plush two-layer coat of silver and black fur with a ruff and a curled tail. It has a fox-like expression with upright, pointed, triangular ears. It originated in the Netherlands,

History of the Breed:

The Keeshond is of the same descent as the other Northern arctic strains such as the Samoyed, Chow Chow, Norwegian Elkhound, Finnish Spitz and the Pomeranian. The breed was especially popular in Holland in the late 1700's. The Keeshond became a symbol of the Dutch Patriot political party and its leader Kees de Gyselaer, who owned a dog named Kees and gave the breed its name. When the Patriots were defeated, the Keeshond became rare in Holland until it was revived a century later, when it also began appearing in England and America. When it arrived in the US, it was known as the Dutch Barge Dog due to being associated with working on riverboats, barges and farms.


The Keeshond was developed as a farm watchdog, family companion, child playmate and boat dog. As it was never used for hunting or attacking, it is not surprising that the Keeshond is known for being very friendly, outgoing, and gentle, especially with children. Can be trusted with other canine and non-canine pets. Eager to please and intelligent, this dog excels at obedience and agility training.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to include this people-oriented dog in as many family activities as possible.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog does best around a family and does best in cooler climates. Enjoys at least a medium-sized yard.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The profuse coat is not terribly difficult to maintain. Simply brush a minimum of twice weekly. A heavy shedder, especially seasonally.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or jog will keep this dog mentally and physically fit. Spinning behaviors indicate more exercise is needed.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: This breed is generally healthy but hip dysplasia, trick knee, and epilepsy have been seen rarely. 

Breed Club Links: The Keeshond Club of America Perfect Pairings: Dog Agility Starter Kit

Have any stories about a Keeshond? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Alex Gorzen.

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