Keeshond: the breed


The keeshond belongs to the Canis familiaris palustris (swamp dog). This type of dog has existed since the Stone Age. All over the world there have been pictures and remains of the breed. The current breed, the ‘Keeshond’ originates from a German breed.
The Keeshond become popular in the 18th century because of the Dutch patriotic leader Kees de Gyselaer in the uprisings in Holland against the royal family after the French revolution. He owned a dog named Kees and this dog became a symbol as the dog for ordinary humans.
The breed almost disappeared when the royal family had their power back because the breed had received a rebel image. In the 1920’s Barones van Hardenbroek started breeding with the dog because it was almost extinct.
The first standard for the breed was published in 1880 in Berlin, but has been revised in 1901. The breed was only recognized in 1930 in the AKC (American Kennel Club) and in 1997 in the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale).


The keeshond has a height between 40cm and 55cm. It has the typical spitz appearance, neither coarse nor refined. They have a wedge-shaped head, a medium-length muzzle with a definite stop, small pointed ears, and an expressive face. The tail is tightly curled and lays on the back of the back.
The coat is a double densed coat with a thick ruff in the neck. The tail is well plumed, and feathering on the fore and hind legs adds to the soft look of the breed. The coat is shown naturally and should not be wavy, silky, or long enough to form a natural part down the back. The top layer should be smooth, and the under layer should be woollen. The color is a mix of grey, black, and cream. The top coat is tipped with black, while the undercoat is silver or cream (never tawny). The color can range from very pale to very dark; but it should neither be black nor white. The ruff and “trousers” of the hind legs should be a distinctly lighter silver or cream. The eyes are always dark.
Because of the thickness of the coat it is required to regularly brush the dog. Some say once every other day, but once a week is sufficient when the dog isn’t shedding.


The keeshond is a happy-go-lucky dog. When he isn’t happy-go-lucky, most of the time he’s sick.
He always wants to be in the area of his owner. When strangers approach or people come to the house, he will always announce it. Barking is like a second nature to him. Other animals are no problem for the keeshond. He can get along with them just fine.
The keeshond is a very intelligent dog and easy to train. When you’re playing a game with him, try to put in a lot of variation, otherwise he will get bored. The keeshond is known for being good jumpers. They can jump quite high from a standstill.