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Keeshond Fanciers, Inc.

The Keeshond

This outstandingly beautiful breed has been known in Europe for centuries. It is best known in Holland from which the present name originated in the 17th century. The name is pronounced "Case-hond" which literally means the dog (hond) of Kees (Case). Kees is a shortened version of the name Cornelius.

The Keeshond was previously known as the Dutch Barge Dog, as it was frequently seen on the barges traveling the canals and rivers of Holland. The Keeshond was the symbol of the Patriot faction in Holland during political unrest in the years immediately preceding the French Revolution.

In the late 19th century the breed was developed in England from imports obtained in both Holland and Germany. In 1930 the Keeshond was first Keeshond was registered with The American Kennel Club.


A medium sized dog, growing to a height of 17-18 inches, weighing about 35 pounds, covered with a dense coat of real fur, which is waterproof and odor free. The overall color should be silver with the presence of black tipped hair, a large ruff around the neck, a tail curled well over the back and cream legs and feet, which altogether creates a very eye-catching dog with the colors merging and blending slightly differently in each specimen. An added attraction is the presence of markings around and at the comers of the eyes, which are called spectacles.


The breed has many endearing qualities and foremost is its devotion, companionship and friendly disposition. At the same time it is renowned as a guard dog, being extremely alert and quickly raises the alarm in the event of any anticipation of danger to its family, or family property. It has not been conditioned to attack, and lacks the belligerence and aggressiveness found in some breeds of guard dogs. An extremely clean, hardy and healthy breed, and one, which is readily adaptable to owners of all ages. It thrives on affection and demonstrates its own affection for humans by extending a paw quite readily and is frequently seen to be resting its paw on its owners knee or arm. Some of the breed can smile and this skill is fascinating to behold.


The coat consists of two layers, a soft thick undercoat through which grows the longer, harsher guard hairs, both coats inhibit dirt from penetrating to the skin. This means bathing is rarely needed and because bathing often softens the coat, it should be done only if necessary and about a week before a show. While the puppy still has its puppy coat, it is best to brush it daily with a slicker brush. With your Keeshond standing, sitting or lying quietly on the table or floor, place your free hand on the dog's body, flattering a portion of coat with your slicker or pin brush, begin brushing the flattered coat upwards and outwards from the skin. Using a long, flowing motion, begin your brush stroke at the skin and continue just past the ends of the hair. Continue, slowly moving your free hand down and brushing the flattered hair up and out. Brush the entire coat in this manner. If necessary after brushing, carefully comb the coat to separate and remove any loose hair. The adult coat starts to develop at about six months of age, and when that is through, a weekly brushing and combing is all that is required to keep the dog looking attractive.

In hot and humid weather when most Keeshonden lie in the grass or their personal dirt dugouts, or if they are shedding, is the time when a bit of extra care and possibly a bath may be in order. Before bathing be sure to brush the coat thoroughly from the skin out with a pin brush and use a wide toothed comb to get out all loose hair. Always place cotton batting in the dogs ears before bathing and make certain the interior of the ear is cleaned and dried well when finished. After bathing dry the coat briskly with towels, then using a blow dryer, finish drying the coat, at the same time brushing and combing the hair to stop matting.

Check the dogs toe nails and dewclaws every few weeks or monthly and trim if necessary. After clipping the nails, using scissors, carefully trim the hair on the bottom of the feet so that they are flush with the pads. Then, using your scissors carefully cut the hair around the sides of the feet, shaping the foot to resemble a cat's paw.


Collars and metal choker chains quickly damage the lovely ruff on the Keeshond. With gentle persuasion and coaxing by name, most puppies will soon adapt to walking on a leash, preferably being a one-piece leash. If you plan to show your dog or do obedience training, always walk it on your left side and endeavor to teach it the heel command. Instead of teaching your puppy to sit, it is preferable to teach a show dog the word stand. An ideal time to teach this is when you're ready to give the puppy it's meal, either on a plate or from the hand. It is also the best time to teach the word "heel", by coaxing the puppy by name with a small piece of food in the fingers.


Last updated June 2017