Keeshond is a medium-sized dog related to the family of German spitzes. It is named after an 18th-century Dutch patriot Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer. Keeshond, as it is known today, is generally believed to have originated in the Netherlands. However, the breed is also thought to have originated in Germany, and related to the German Spitz family. The Dutch term for Keeshond is Wolfsspitz. Being neglected in the early 20th century, the breed started to gain attention in the 1920s.

Physical Features

Keeshond is not so tall a dog, reaching 17 to 18 inches in stature, and weighing 16 to 18 kg. However, it has a sturdy physique with a wedge-shaped head and small, rather pointed ears, and a fairly expressive face. The tail of Keeshond shows a tight curl. Like other spitze breeds, Keeshond carries a double coat with thick ruff surrounding its neck, more pronounced in the male dogs. The desirable texture of its coat is not wavy, silky, or excessively long so as to form a natural part down its back. The ideal color of the coat is a mix of black, cream, and gray. Black color tips the top coat while gray, cream, or white defines the undercoat. Totally black or white are not desirable coat colors for Keeshonds. Also, the tail's shape is important; the desirable shape being tightly curled over the back. The desirable color for feet is cream or light gray (but not black or white) and that for eyes is dark brown.


Keeshond tends to be very playful, particularly fond of jumping. Their learning ability is impressive and they are always eager to please their companion. Agility, intelligence, and obedience are other defining qualities of Keeshonds - qualities that make them ideal for training for special purposes. That is why they prove great family pets, not only loving to their human companions but also friendly to other dogs. Keeshond is also an empathetic dog, responding to its owner's emotions and waiting for a long time for him/her. This is why it has also been called owner's shadow.

Health and Grooming

A Keeshond puppy will live from 12 to 15 years. Keeshond is prone to a number of dog health problems including: dysplasia, epilepsy, Cushing's disease, and thyroid problems (hyperparathyroidism and hypothyroidism). Some Keeshonds also get Von Willebrand's disease. In addition, they are more prone to suffering from bloat, a condition in which the stomach twists due to eating large amounts of dry food followed by drinking a lot of water. It is important to consult a veterinary doctor on how to prevent this problem. The thick double coat of Keeshond requires regular grooming that may take at least an hour per session. Failing to regularly groom the coats may result in skin infections. Therefore, thorough dog grooming should be done at least once a week.

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