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Keeshond Dog Breed… Everything that You Need to Know at a Glance!

Have you never heard of a Keeshond? That’s OK unless you’re from Holland, in which case there might be something wrong with you because, in Holland, the Keeshond is the official national dog of that country! But let’s assume there is nothing wrong with you and that you’re not from Holland, which means that not having heard of a Keeshond is perfectly acceptable. The funny thing is that you may even have met a Keeshond or two and not even have realized it because these guys are often mistaken by those unfamiliar with the breed as a different “type” of do together.

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss the Keeshond dog breed so that if you’re ever allowed to make one of these excellent little dogs your own, you’ll know for sure if it’s a good idea.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Keeshond Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: The Netherlands (although some disagree and place this breed’s origin throughout “middle-Europe.”

Original Purpose:  Barge Watchdog

Height: 17 to 18 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 35 to 45 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Non-Sporting group

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Origin of the Keeshond Dog Breed

The Keeshond dog breed has been around for several hundred years. Evidence shows that these little guys were around in Holland in significant numbers dating back to the early 18th century. During this time, these little guys were primarily used as “watchdogs” on ships and barges throughout the Rhine River area.

Unfortunately, the Keeshond hasn’t always had an easy go of it throughout history. This is because during the French Revolution, the leader of the “Patriot Fraction” chose to use his Keeshond dog named Kees to represent his movement, which didn’t end well for him or the Keeshond breed because it was the “Patriot Fraction” that lost the war.

The excellent news is…

Later, in 1920, Baroness van Hardenbroek took it upon herself to “revive” the breed and ensure it didn’t go extinct! Fortunately for all of us, she was very successful in her endeavor, which is why we still have the breed with us today. She was so successful that by 1925, the Baroness had already expanded the breed to England and even had it “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) by 1930!

Physical Characteristics

The Keeshond looks very much like a Pomeranian. He is a double-coated breed with a woolly undercoat and a long guard coat. His undercoat is usually cream or pale gray, while his outer guard hairs are black and gray with gray tips. As a medium-sized dog, most will only reach a max height of about 18 inches, which isn’t all that big, but they are a “bit” stocky so that they can weigh up to 45 pounds.

We should also point out that his coat is relatively easy to care for, except during the shedding period when he loses a lot of hair. This shedding period lasts three weeks. It would be best if you brushed his coat twice a week.

Comparison Dog Breeds

The Keeshonden may be compared to other dog breeds such as the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Finnish Spitz, Flat-Coated Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, German Spitz, Fox Terrier, German Wolfspitz, and the Norwegian Elkhound.

Personality and Temperament

The Keeshond is a family dog and requires less exercise than some dog breeds. He is happy to move around the house, but take him for a daily walk. Keeshonds are also known for their loyalty. He is brilliant, easy to train, and good with kids and adults. He has a gregarious personality and is a people-pleaser. It is always fun to have him around.

But beware…

Keeshond Puppies are adorable, and children love playing with them. So, if you think you’ll be able to “just look” at a Keeshond puppy and not immediately take one home with you, you either have incredible self-control or set yourself up to become the proud new owner of a Keeshond puppy.

We should also point out that…

The Keeshond dog breed is adorable with children. He sees them as a part of his pack and is very protective of them. But he is not a good guard dog. He is too friendly for that. He is even familiar with strangers, although he does bark at them initially. He makes friends with anyone. That is adorable, but he is not much of a guard dog!

Potential Health Concerns

Keeshonds are generally a healthy dog breed. They have an excellent life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. However, they are vulnerable to specific health problems such as…

And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Mom of little Leif May 10, 2021, 1:33 pm

    Hey i love what you are writing and you are right with the most things you say, buuuuuuut the only Origin is the Name Keeshond. While Cornelis de Gyzelar (he was just called Kees) had his Dog, also british Kings like Georg the III. and Georg IV. had such dogs. The truth is, that these cool buddys were all over in middle-europe and are called in different countrys different names. Germany for example is calling this breed Wolfsspitz. Since 1880 the Wolfsspitz is official registered. Even the federation cynologique international did not accept the Kesshond till 1977 as an own breed cause it was to close to the wolfsspitz. I found over the years no clear country where the first dogs came from just always “middle europe”.

    • indulgeyourpet May 10, 2021, 2:33 pm

      Mom of little Leif,

      Origin is always a tough one to nail down and seeing how it looks like you’ve done a bit of research on these guys yourself, we’ve decided to update our “origin” to include middle europe as well.



  • Blitz's Memory November 10, 2022, 10:43 pm

    This was a very fun read. I loved my Keeshond, Blitz. He lived a happy and loved 15 years.

    In my experience with Blitz, they do have a favorite person that they “pick” at a young age. At six months, he walked up to me and sat at my feet, we knew that’s our pup. And even though he did love and was protective of the rest of the family, I was the only one he would lick and generally tend to gravitate to. (He was also a grandma’s boy, so even dogs turn to mush seeing grandma too!)

    I would like to really point out that each Keeshond adapts to their environment very well as well as their person. If their person is high energy, they also tend to have more energy. If their person is more laid back, they require a walk or a yard to roam in. My boy was easy going but didn’t warm up to strangers until months have gone by, and he had a resting face that looked like he was judging you. Which mimics how I am. It’s a very unique trait to keeshond in my opinion.

    Also, very important, you only need to brush them. Never shave or cut their hair. Shaving them usually leads to sunburn and possibly cancers. Cutting the hair: small trims to get them groomed is fine. But don’t cut an inch or two off as their fur grows back with different textures, and color. Always ask your groomer if they worked on Keeshond, they will love your boy and keep em looking really handsome.

    They have two other distinct looks they can display. 1. When their fur goes completely flat. It seemed like my dog was deflating from the normal puffy boy to just flat. That means danger, or if it’s someone coming up to them tnye they don’t like or they feel threatened, they will bear teeth and look like a small wolf (wolfsspitz does sum it up.
    2. The “Dutchman” smile. They naturally look like they have a giant smile on their face, even when panting. He always looks so happy in my pictures because of it.

    Keeshond become your best friend but they will act like the person they choose. So they may talk back or ignore your commands out of spite.

    Never try to outsmart them, they will act like they were doing other dog things and didn’t hear the door next to him open and ignore everything you said until something interests them. Or if you ask to stop barking sometimes they like to look at you and bark in defiance. Prepare for a big personality that charms everyone he allows to see it.

    R. I. P. Blitz, my bestest Keeshond ever

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