Keeshond Breed History
The Spitz-type breed descended from Samoyed, chow chow, elkhound, and Pomeranian lines. The breed was named after Dutch patriot Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer, who led the Dutch against the House of Orange during the French Revolution. De Gyselaer’s own dog, Kees (pronounced Kaze), became the symbol of the patriots during that time and has appeared at many political events and in cartoons. Unfortunately, many owners disowned their pets when the patriots lost, fearing association with the defeated party. Keeshonden were also known as the Dutch barge dog because of their watchdog responsibilities on the Rhine River. As the barges grew in size, the need for such a little watchdog decreased. At one time, this handsome breed almost disappeared, but with the help of Baroness van Hardenbroeck, they were built up again in the 1920s. The Baroness pushed for the breed to be dubbed the German Spitz. Shown in Victorian England as the “overweight Pomeranian,” the breed was finally given its official name in 1925. The AKC recognized the keeshond as an official breed in 1930, and it is now the national dog of Holland.
Keeshond Breed Appearance
The Northern-type keeshond has a strong and sturdy body, which looks square-proportioned. The breed has a long neck with pointed, erect ears, a pointed muzzle and a curled, medium-length tail. It has a fox-like expression, due to its curious smile and to the markings around its eyes that resemble glasses. Its oblique eyes, bearing a strong resemblance to its ancestor, the Samoyed, are a chestnut color. They are well-balanced and move boldly and briskly. Its coat is long and dense colored in a mixture of gray, black, and cream with a pale undercoat. Its hair stands out among its long and straight coat, giving this compact dog a big appearance. Usually, its feet and legs are cream, and its coat is very thick around the neck and on his thighs. Its coat will lighten with age into a pale gray or cream.
Keeshond Breed Maintenance
It is very important to brush the keeshond’s coat daily. First, brush with the grain then as you comb, lift the hair and brush against the grain and then lay it back in place. Bathe only when necessary. Its coat sheds heavily in the spring and fall. During this time, it is very important to keep up with the brushing. Fleas can become a problem for the keeshond, but good up-keeping and proper grooming can prevent this problem. Moderate exercise is important and can be met with a nice walk or backyard games. Do not overfeed your pet, as this breed has a tendency to easily gain weight. It does not make a good apartment dog, but will do well in an urban setting if properly exercised. The keeshond requires access to a medium-sized yard with a tall fence that cannot be jumped. The kees does not do well in the heat and can live outside in cooler climates. Because of its social needs, this friendly dog prefers to be inside the home with the family.