The Keeshond is one of those dogs whose name is often mispronounced. Say Kayz – Hond, not “keys hound”. The word hond means dog, and this dog is most definitely not a hound. They are spitz dogs as is characterized by their triangular shaped ears, and tail that curls up over their back.
They originated in Germany but are often known as the “Dutch barge dog” as they have been used for guarding barges in Holland. They were, at one time, known as the Wolfsspitz. Their name is pluralized as Keeshonden.
They are not your typical “guard dog”, but keeshonds do have a loud bark for their size.
Keeshonds are smart dogs but they do not respond well to punishment. Because they are smart, they are dogs that benefit most from having consistent, knowledgeable, training, as such they are not usually considered a beginners dog. It is best to get them into puppy classes at an early age for training and socialization.
If bored a keeshond can become a problem dog, and may resort to digging, chewing, or barking. These are not dogs that do well when left home alone for long periods of time – they are “people” dogs, some tend to bond to one person very strongly.
Like many spitz dogs, the keeshond can sometimes have a distrust of small children, especially if not socialized to kids at an early age. They are more likely to try to avoid children than to attack them, but can be defensive if provoked. They are usually very good with other pets.
These are playful dogs who do well at agility. They are eager to please their owner.
These dogs have a thick double coat with a thick ruff around the neck. The color is cream and black, to silver and black. The dogs should have “spectacles” around their eyes. It is not uncommon for them to develop white hairs around the muzzle, especially as they mature.
An adult keeshond dog stands around 18 inches (46 cm) tall, and weighs roughly 40 pounds (18 kg).
If you brush the dog and save the hair, it can be spun into yarn and knitted into a sweater. They do require regular grooming (at least once a week) which is often done in reverse direction to keep the dog looking fluffy. They should not be clipped as they lose their color. They have very little doggy odor and seldom require bathing.
As far as health problems go, the keeshond is generally a healthy dog, but some of the problems that are most likely to occur are: luxating patella (knee problems), cushings disease, and epilepsy. Their lifespan is usually 12 to 15 years.
Recently a keeshond dog has been featured in a Swiffer Wet Jet advertisement.
© by Author
Authors note, the keeshond dog in this last picture was one I grew up with, in this picture she is an old dog (note her white muzzle). Although she never much cared for children when she was young, as an older dog she quite liked my daughter, whom she is pictured here with.