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Information About the Keeshond Dog Breed

Priyanka Athavale Mar 5, 2020
An adorable dog with a very loving personality and endearing nature, the Keeshond displays the true characteristics of a companion dog. Here are some facts about this wonderful breed.

All smiles!

If you have noticed a Keeshond's face, then you will realize that it has a tendency to pull its lips back and display its teeth. Although it looks scary, this is actually the dog's way of conveying its happiness! This expression has earned it the nickname Smiling Dutchman.
The name is pronounced as case-hawnd. Its plural is case-hawnd-en.
The Keeshond is a dog that you can't easily forget, because it is so adorable, inside and out. The paragraphs that follow provide some detailed information about this breed. However, first, let's take a look into its history. The Keeshond is a spitz breed that was originally called the Wolfspitz, before it underwent a name change.
It is also known as the Dutch Barge Dog. It is related to the Chow Chow, Pomeranian, Samoyed, and Norwegian Elkhound among others.

It was a popular breed in Holland in the 17th and 18th century, when the Patriots were trying to overthrow the Prince of Orange.
Their leader, Cornelius de Gyselaer, owned a Keeshond named Kees. This made the breed very famous among the masses. However, when the Patriots were defeated, its image declined and many dogs were killed. Some survived on boats and farms.
The breed was later revived by Baroness van Hardenbroek, who worked to get it recognition in Europe again. Similarly, in England, the breed was introduced by Mrs. Wingfield-Digby, and in America by Carl Hinderer.
The Keeshond slowly picked up from there, and the first Dutch Keeshond Club was formed in the 1930s. Now let's move onto some more facts about this popular pooch.

What a Keeshond looks like

The Keeshond is what you can call fluffiness personified! This is a medium-sized breed that stands between 17 and 19 inches and weighs about 30 to 40 pounds. Here are some of the breed specifications.

Physical Traits

Its ears are upright (when alert) and dark in color. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark-colored. One unique feature about this dog is its 'spectacles', where a thin, black line runs from the outer corner of each eye to the inner corner of the ear; this feature is a tell-tale sign of the Keeshond.
Its tail is curled, and lies flat on the back; it must appear to blend into the fur. The muzzle shows a prominent stop on the forehead, and the skull must not be dome-shaped.

Coat, Colors, and Patterns

The coat is double, with a harsher topcoat that stands outward, and a soft and dense undercoat. It covers the entire body, and never parts down the dog's back. Males have a more prominent mane than females, which covers the neck, chest, and shoulders. The coat colors are a combination of cream, gray, and black.
The outer coat has black tips, which give the dog its distinct shading. The feathering on the hind legs, known as 'trousers', the mane, and the tail, have a lighter shade. The tail also has a black tip. The feet are cream-colored.

What is its temperament

One very important thing to note here is that if you want a dog that is independent and will do its own thing most of the time, then the Keeshond is not the right breed for you. This is a dog that needs its family around, almost all the time. It is a total people person; as it was bred to be a companion dog, that is what it does best.
So expect your Keeshond to be a part of all the family activities, right from game nights to a picnic.

This dog has a superb temperament; it is very sweet, extremely loving, friendly, social, optimistic, and brimming with enthusiasm.
It loves all people, the little ones and the adults. Its loving nature is why this breed is used in therapy and as 'comfort dogs'; comfort dogs keep company to people who are doing stressful work.
You are probably thinking that all these personality traits must make the Keeshond one lousy guard dog. Well ... yes, you thought right. But, it is a good watchdog and barks to alert its family of anything.
A dog like this craves company, it cannot be left alone for long periods of time. Do not keep a Keeshond alone in the yard or another room. If it is deprived of its family, then it can turn into a compulsive barker.
Some Keeshonds are born timid; early socialization with other animals and different people is very important. This gets the dog used to the world around it.

Training methods

This is a very intelligent breed that is known to be a little mischievous if bored. Get your pet some activities to do so that it will not resort to self-invented games like digging, chewing, or barking. Training a Keeshond is quite easy, as this breed is always eager to please its owners.
You will need patience though, and a lot of gentleness. If your dog does not perform a command, try again. When he/she does get it right, shower lots of praises so that he/she knows what is expected and what can fetch treats. Never lose your temper or raise your voice; training will be easier if you create a positive image about it in your dog's mind.

Diet and exercise needs

Draw up a diet chart with the help of your vet, for your Keeshond. Refrain from overfeeding your pet no matter how much you feel like; it happens, don't worry. The reason is that this breed is prone to obesity, which can further lead to joint problems and other health issues.
You will also have to check for any food allergies that your dog may have. Providing good-quality dog food 2 or 3 times a day, or alternating it with other foodstuffs is something you and your vet can decide on.
This is not a highly active breed; it is inherently a companion dog, and does not have any special inclination towards any particular activities like herding, swimming, or retrieving. A brisk walk twice a day is more than sufficient.

How to groom

The Keeshond does shed quite a bit. There comes a time, twice a year, when it 'blows' its coat, which means getting rid of the undercoat and growing a new one. Hence, this dog needs to be brushed a few times a week with a good brush. You may be tempted to shear your Keeshond's coat, but it is not advisable.
This is because the coat protects the dog from both the heat and the cold, and also from injuries. Some experts even advise getting a different breed instead of shearing the coat of a Keeshond!
Apart from brushing, this dog's ears need special attention. Check them every week for any out-of-place signs like dryness, redness, etc. and clean them with a vet-recommended ear cleaner. Also get your dog into the habit of having his/her nails clipped and teeth brushed, so that it will be easier for you to handle these activities when he/she grows up.

Common health issues

Although every dog has a different genetic make up, there are some common health issues that are found in many individuals in a breed. This does not mean that your dog will necessarily be affected by any of them, but there is a chance.
These health problems are hip dysplasia, epilepsy, allergies, progressive retinal atrophy (eye issues), diabetes, seizures, patellar luxation (slipped kneecap), Addison's disease (underproduction of adrenal hormone), and Von Willebrand's disease (problems in blood clotting).
You can always consult your vet about how to be prepared for any of these illnesses. Also check the medical history of both your pup's parents, if available. The average lifespan of a Keeshond is 11 to 15 years.

A suitable abode

The best part about owning a Keeshond is that it can live anywhere. In the olden days, these dogs lived on boats, so there definitely won't be a problem keeping one in an apartment or a house with a yard. A yard is good for your dog to hang out in for a while, but given the breed's temperament, he/she will be mostly indoors, keeping you company.
The Keeshond is an absolutely adorable dog to have as a pet. It is loving, sweet, and eager to please. Such breeds are very rare to find, so if you can handle the grooming and other requirements, then this is a really good dog for you.