The Keeshond dogs were originally used for companionship on Dutch barges and riverboats.
Dutch Barge Dog
Common nickname: “Kees”, “The Smiling Dutchman”, and the “Dutch barge dog”
Body: Square build, short, straight back sloping upwards from the hindquarters to the withers, deep, powerful, well-ribbed chest, and well-sloped shoulders.
Coat: Long, straight, dense, and harsh, with a thick, downy undercoat.
Color: Striking blend of grey, black, and cream.
Ears: Small, triangular-shaped, erect, high set, and hung close.
Eyes: Medium sized, almond-shaped, dark brown with black rims, and obliquely set (outer corners higher than inner corners).
Feet: Small, round, tight, and cat-like with hair between the toes.
Head: Proportionate to the body, wedge-shaped, medium length with well-defined stop, deep, narrow muzzle, strong jaws, black nose and characteristic spectacles (a fine black line going upward from the outer corner of the eye to lower corner of the ear).
Legs: Forelegs are straight, well-boned, and feathered. Hindquarters are muscular, profusely feathered down to the hocks, and hocks are slightly bent.
Neck: Moderate length, not too thick, and well-set to the shoulders.
Weight: 35 – 45 pounds
Height: 16 – 18 inches
Tail: High set, Medium length, tightly curled with black tip, and carried upward over the back.
Recommended for novice dog handlers
Good with children and other pets
Hearing is acute and sensitive to loud noise
Eats small amounts at a time throughout the day
Sheds year round, fully sheds two times annually
The Keeshond is a non-aggressive dog with a clever, somewhat devilish, personality and strong-willed. He’s a friendly, outgoing, and playful dog who thrives on the attention and companionship of humans and enjoys being with other dogs. If you are under-the-weather, the Keeshond will be their to comfort you with compassion until you are well again.
AKC Standard says he is “A well-balanced, handsome dog of medium size, with alert carriage and intelligent expression, the Keeshond is a hardy breed, with a coat easily cared for by brushing. One of the most affectionate and lovable of all dogs, for centuries they have been bred as ideal family companions and sensible watchdogs.”
Keeshonden shed profusely during shedding season which is two times annually and more lightly the rest of the year. His fur is thick and clinging and will stick to your close, furniture, and carpets. If you are a clean freak this is not your best choice of canines.
He is a sociable breed who requires human interaction. He is quick to learn but can be stubborn. Training should be fun but not repetitious or he will become bored and loose focus. Be gentle, use lots of praise and treat-type rewards. Unless properly trained as puppies, he may become an avid barker.
AKC Group: Non-sporting Group
Used as companions on Dutch Barges and Riverboats.
Care and Grooming
Exercise: Moderate exercise is sufficient with a casual daily walk and some playtime.
Grooming: Brush three to four times weekly with a short-bristled brush to prevent the coat from matting. Bath two to three times yearly.
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 Years
Luxating Patellas – dislocated knees
Von Willebrand’s Disease – bleeding disorder
CERF – for the eyes
OFA – for the hips
Country of Origin
Netherlands – 1500s