Keeshond | Information & Dog Breed Facts


Last Updated on September 30, 2020 by Pets Feed

The Keeshond is a dog included in the breed of German spitz dogs, as well as four other breeds, which the International Cynological Federation (FCI) groups under one standard, but with differences for each. The breeds included in this group are: keeshond, large spitz, medium spitz, small spitz and Pomeranian.


Despite the large list of advantages, this breed is still not widespread in the world, this is a rare, expensive type of dog.

In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet, we will share with you all the information relating to Keeshond only, despite the fact that the FCI groups all these breeds as one and considers them of German origin, the Keeshond and the Pomeranian are considered by other organizations to be breeds with their own standards. According to other canine societies, the keeshond is of Dutch origin.

Origin of the Keeshond

It is considered that this breed, which has been used as a companion dog since its creation, is of Dutch origin (Netherlands) and in the 18th century was known as “the people’s dog”. Chow chow, elkhound, samoyed and the pomeranian come from their relatives. They are called keeshond because at the beginning of the French Revolution, a patriot named Gyselaer who had a dog of this breed, called him Kees and made it a symbol of the Dutch homeland, and thus gave his name to this breed.

The Keeshond were introduced by Mrs. Wingfield-Digby for the first time in the United Kingdom, but were not popular again as a breed until 1920 when they arrived in the United States. Thus in 1930, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club.


Characteristics of the Keeshond

The Keeshond is a medium-sized dog, with characteristics reminiscent of other Nordic and Spitz breeds. The main difference from the rest of the spitz breeds is their size and the color and density of the coat, but in terms of body shape they are very similar in general.

Particularly striking is his two-layer coat, in various shades of gray and black, and with a mask on his face which can be more or less closed. It shows a proportional head with the rest of the body, with a long, pointed snout. The ears are small and held on the head in a triangular shape, and the tail is of medium length and usually appears on the back. The eyes are oblique, brown or black and show a very particular expression of alert.

From the amount of hair he has, it may seem that his legs are short, but this is only an effect of the fur, the reality is that he is perfectly proportioned. Its profile is square, with a strong and deep chest, and an abdomen not too long.


The size of the Keeshond according to the breed standard is approximately 49 centimeters at the withers, and its weight is approximately 30 kilos. The measurements may vary slightly depending on the specimen and its sex, but they should never stray too far.


The Keeshond coat is the traditional Nordic breed, made up of two different layers. The inner layer is very soft and dense, with woolly-looking hairs that increase and decrease depending on the temperature and the time of year. The outer layer has very different hairs, long and stiff, but also soft to the touch and quite abundant. Only on the head, on the ears and on certain parts of the legs, the hair is short and soft, achieving a great contrast with the neck and the back, where the hair reaches its greatest length.

As for colors, the Keeshond does not have much variety. The color accepted for its coat is greyish, wolf-like, although the shades of gray may vary from one specimen to another. The black mask which forms around his eyes and which generally reaches his muzzle is particularly remarkable. Also, on the neck area, a darker collar is formed, very striking and characteristic of this breed.


Temperament of the keeshond

Always alerted, the keeshond is a watchdog by nature, always warning his family of anything he considers abnormal. It is a friendly dog, it likes the company, is happy and affectionate (it often receives the qualification of “Dutch smiling”).

Although there are size differences, all German Spitz, from the keeshond to the Miniature Spitz, share the basic characteristics of temperament. This breed of dogs is cheerful, alerted, dynamic and very attached to its human family, but also reserved for strangers.

If the puppies are well socialized, the keeshond can tolerate strangers and strangers without problem, but conflicts can arise with other dogs of the same sex. They generally get along very well with other animals in the house, just like with their humans.

Although he has been well socialized, this dog is generally not a good dog for very young children, because his behavior is reactive, so he can nibble if he is mistreated in one way or another, even involuntarily. On the other hand, the keeshond is a good companion for older children who know how to take care and respect a dog.


Keeshond Health

The average life span of a Keeshond is 15-16 years. It mainly depends on the conditions of detention and veterinary care.

The owner must vaccinate the dog according to the established schedule, conduct regular deworming and treatment for skin parasites.

It is recommended to show your Keeshond annually to specialists in a veterinary clinic. Such preventive examinations will help to detect health problems in time.

Initial treatment is known to be much more effective than fighting an advanced disease.

Keeshond puppy
Keeshond puppy

It is also important that the owner is aware of what diseases his pet is predisposed to. The Keeshond specifics are outlined below:

  • Epilepsy – accompanied by seizures, convulsions, cannot be treated, but a person can control seizures with the help of medications and proper treatment of animals, reducing their number.
  • Hypoadrenocorticism is an endocrine pathology.
  • Allergy – often occurs on food. Therefore, it is important to carefully, gradually introduce new foods into the diet or change the type of dry food.
  • Dysplasia – contributes to the development of arthritis, is characterized by intolerable pain, lameness.
  • Cataract – an eye disease, greatly impairs vision, up to blindness.
  • Knee dislocation is an inherited genetically bilateral pathology.
  • Hypothyroidism is a lack of blood of Keeshond circulating thyroid hormones.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy – develops immediately in two eyes and always leads to complete blindness.
  • Diabetes mellitus – is not completely cured, but requires control, the right diet and medicines.
  • Obesity – comes from overeating, malnutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. It leads to malfunction of the digestive tract and to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Von Willebrand disease – develops in the presence of a defective von Willebrand factor in the blood or its deficiency in the blood.

Basic care

Keeshond can feel comfortable in the apartment and in a private house. But it is not recommended to keep in the outside. He is not afraid of frost, but he cannot be far from people for a long time.

The dog should have its own place in the apartment. Equip it with a couch, buy toys for your pet and teach him the basic commands and a “place” to go there. He will need containers for food, water, care products and, Of course, a collar with a leash.

In the apartment, be sure to walk your pet twice a day. The Keeshond loves to be in the fresh air, so it is recommended that you increase the number of walks as much as possible and regularly go out with him.

With regard to care, in general, it is not complicated, but the fluffy hair of a Keeshond requires a lot of attention. You will learn which procedures to take care of a dog exactly from the list below:

  • Comb the hair 2-3 times a week. During molting, comb out daily. It is recommended to use a brush and slicker for undercoat. The procedure helps to remove dead hairs, and the skin due to it receives a massage that improves blood circulation.
  • Frequent bathing is not necessary, 2-3 procedures per year are recommended. You will need detergents, sprays, conditioners intended for long-haired dogs. Between the planned baths, if necessary, to clean the hair coat of the Keeshond, you can apply dry shampoo.
  • We cut the nails as they grow back with a special nail clipper. Be sure to correct the shape of the claws once a month.
  • We clean the dog’s ears weekly, while carefully examining the presence of damage, inflammation, and excessive accumulations of earwax. Having noticed one of the above, we turn to the veterinarian, as these may be symptoms of infection. Another alarm signal is an unpleasant odor.
  • We wipe the dog’s eyes as needed, using wet wipes, and also inspect daily.

Keeshond owners recommend using an artificial way of eating. Premium dry food will provide your pet a balanced diet with the right amount of minerals and vitamins.

Homemade natural food is also not prohibited, but not leftovers from the master’s table. You will need high-quality meat products (the basis of the diet), cereals, sour-milk non-fat products, vegetables.

The owner must ensure a balanced natural diet and correctly determine the daily allowance. 24-hour access to clean, cool water is also important.

Keeshond is prone to obesity; he has the habit of eating more than required. That is why the owner makes sure that the pet does not overeat.



The Keeshond needs an hour of exercise a day; This hardworking dog will also appreciate being a caretaker and patrolling his home and garden. Make sure their barking is not a problem for the neighbors, as they may be tempted to alert you to anything they hear while you are away.

These dogs are dynamic but can release their energies with a little exercise, daily walks and play. They can adapt well to living in apartments or small houses, but it is better to have a small garden.

All of these breeds, including the Keeshond, tolerate cold to temperate climates very well, but do not tolerate intense heat much. Because of their protective fur, they can live outside, but it is better that they live inside, because they need the company of their human families.

If Keeshond lives in a private house with local territory, in the summer he can be in the yard all day, but he needs a shelter for relaxation and provide him an access to the house.

Keeshond puppy
Keeshond puppy

Training and education

The Keeshond needs not only physical activity, but also mental stimulation. Representatives of the breed are smart; they have developed intelligence.

Therefore, it is not difficult to train such a dog in many commands, both simple and complex.

The training process should not be boring. The Keeshond does not tolerate uniformity, prolonged repetition of the same commands.

The best way to train is a game form. Plan your lessons varied. Take frequent breaks during which, in the form of a game, repeat the commands the dog has already learned.

The Keeshond owner requires patience, kindness and, of course, consistency. Be sure to reward your pet for success. To do this, always keep its favorite treats with you.

This dog loves to bark loudly about and without reason. It is recommended to teach him to stop barking on command. Otherwise, conflicts with neighbors cannot be avoided, especially if you live in an apartment in a multi-storey building.


Keeshond Fun Facts

  • The Keeshond has the largest dimensions of all types of Spitz, he maximally preserved the original natural appearance of the ancestors.
  • In their homeland, the Keeshond dogs was called a “barge dog” because they were mostly kept on barges where rats were caught.
  • Keeshond has a specific gait, he walks like “on stilts”, all due to the fact that during the movement the dog almost does not straighten its hind limbs.
  • Keeshond dogs love to swim and are not afraid of water.
  • This is one of the ten smartest breeds in the world.
  • These dogs are unusually clean; they can be washed with their paw, like cats.
  • The Keeshond is called a “smiling Dutchman”, the fact is that these dogs have a special structure of the muzzle, which creates the appearance of a smile.

Keeshond Dog Breed Highlights

The Keeshond dog is still a rare species on many countries. The price of purebred puppies is quite high.

This is not a suitable dog for too busy people, he needs communication and attention, as well as long daily walks. Such an energetic dog will not be able to sit locked up all the time, such situation will negatively affect both the psyche and health.

Positive points

  • The Keeshond is known to be a very loyal, dedicated and loving pet and family companion.
  • It is generally good around children of all ages.
  • This dog is intelligent and in good hands, easy to train.
  • It is a good choice for first time dog owners.
  • The Keeshond is very adaptable.
  • This breed is generally not known to suffer from separation anxiety.
  • Friendly disposition.
  • It gets along well with other pets.
  • Not afraid of the cold.
  • A keen mind, developed intelligence.
  • Get along with the children.

Negative points

  • The Keeshond requires a lot of maintenance on the grooming front.
  • It loses a lot of hair all year round, especially in spring and fall.
  • This dog is known to be a “barker” which can be a problem with the neighbors.
  • He has a moderate sense of prey and will hunt small animals he does not already know.
  • The Keeshond is fairly independent by nature.
  • Difficult care.
  • Prone to obesity.
  • Requires daily high physical exertion.
  • The tendency to loud, often causeless barking.
  • High price.