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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Keeshond


Origin: Netherlands

AKC Group: Non-sporting

Height: 17 - 18 inches (Male)

Weight: 35 to 40 pounds (Male)

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Kees (KAZE) are gentle and quiet dogs that need daily exercise. They're usually suspicious of strangers, but they get along well with other pets and children. Kees are sometimes hard to housebreak.

Male height: 
17 - 18 inches
Male weight: 
35 to 40 pounds
Harsh with a thick ruff around the neck. Longer hair on the chest, legs, stomach and tail. Brush or comb twice a week, daily when shedding. Tail curls over back; ears prick up.
Shaded mixture of gray and black with creamy legs, feet, and tail. Black tip on tail. Markings form spectacles around the eyes. Puppies are born black; adult color isn't reached until 18 months. Eyes are dark brown; nose is black.

Spitz-type dogs have a long history in northern Holland, dating back to the Vikings. Keeshond are of the same stem stock as the German Spitz, but the Dutch seemed to especially like and adopt the large, wolf-gray type. Although known for centuries, he acquired his modern name from Cornelius (Kees) de Gyselaer, a Dutch patriot at the time of the French Revolution. His loyal dog came to be called a Keeshond and was a symbol of the common and middle-class Dutch Patriot Party that followed de Gyselaer. With the eventual defeat of de Gyselaer's cause, his dog fell into disrepute and the breed dropped from sight among the urban and upper classes. In 1920, nearly 150 years later, Baroness van Hardenbroek took an interest in the breed and began her search for good specimens, which she found among the bargemen, farmers and truckers of rural areas. With the renewed interest that the Baroness stirred when she began breeding, the Keeshond again was seen throughout Holland and was introduced in the 1930s into the United States and England. Never a dog affected by fads or crazes, the Keeshond has continued to have a steady and loyal following throughout the world.

Outgoing and family oriented, the Keeshond is sometimes called "the laughing Dutchman." Joyful, cuddly and gregarious, it is no wonder they are the centers of attention in their homes. They enjoy and thrive on their family's affection and want to be part of all activities.
At home: 
As long as they are given enough attention and exercise, Keeshonden can live happily just about anywhere, from city to country. This is not a breed that can be left alone all day. Denied attention, the intelligent Keeshond will quickly become bored and can turn into a problem barker. Keeshonden are alert and have great hearing, so they are good watchdogs - but they do like to use their voices. Their heavy coat means that they may get overheated in hot weather, so constant access to cool water is essential during those months.
The Keeshond loves going for walks several times a day. This gives him the opportunity to exercise and explore. Nimble and sturdy, the Keeshond is a fun-loving companion who will happily accompany you wherever you want to go.
The Keeshond is a good eater who should be fed a high-quality food twice a day. Be careful not to overfeed or succumb to his imploring eyes when it's your turn to eat. Keeshonden are persistent, and a begging habit is hard to break.
The independent Keeshond can prove a training challenge. He needs a lot of motivation to follow directions. If he gets it, he will be quick to learn what you want him to do and glad to comply. Repetition and patience are essential. Socialization is also critical for the Keeshond so that his natural self-confidence can bloom.
Keeshonden are wonderful with children. They don't have the prey drive that many other spitz-type dogs have, so they can get along very well with other dogs, cats and small pets.
The average life span of the Keeshond is 12 to 14 years. Health problems may include heart disease; hip dysplasia; skin problems; and thyroid problems.
Fun fact: 

When the Keeshond first came to the United States, he was known simply as the "Dutch Barge Dog."

Grooming blurb: 
When you see how much fur the Keeshond has, you may think that he's a high-maintenance dog. In truth, he is not. He does need to be brushed several times a week with a pin brush to stimulate the growth of new hair and distribute the oils in his skin and coat, and he does shed heavily a couple times a year - in general, though, his grooming needs are not overly extensive.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.