Popularly called “a dog of the people” in the Netherlands in the 18th century, the Keeshond is a cross-breed of many outstanding canine strains – Samoyed, Chow-Chow, Finnish Spitz, Norwegian Elkhound, and Pomeranian.

The Dutch patriot, Kees de Gyselaer, owned a dog that has this breed strain and named it after his name Kees.

Because of Kees’ standing and stature in the Dutch rebellion, the Keeshond dog became the rebels’ symbol against the French.

After the French revolution, this dog breed almost got extinct until a dog-lover by the name of Mrs. Wingfield-Digby introduced it into the United Kingdom in the late 1900s.

The Keeshond was later introduced in the US and became known as the Dutch Barge Dog because it excelled as a watch and guard dog on barges, riverboats, and even on farms. After a decade in 1930, this breed was finally recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Traits and Behavior

Intelligent, quick to learn, active and outgoing, enthusiastic, friendly and affectionate – these are the best and predominant traits of a Keeshond. When trained at an early age to socialize with members of the family and even other house pets, Keeshonds can be depended on to respond to being a lovable dog companion.

It only takes a firm and consistent owner/trainer to train the dog to follow commands. But if training is not properly done they usually show behavioral signs of being passive and timid. When there’s not much of an exercise regimen, their excess energies are usually confined to just spinning around in circles.

Keeshond beach background

Keeshonds are best as watchdogs as they immediately bark when they sense danger. However, they also need to be trained to stop barking only to a certain point as they can be overly excited when they become sensitive to a potential threat.

Pet Care and Diseases

Because of their thick double coat, grooming is a necessity to help the dog have shiny hair, free from dirt and matting. At least an hour a week of brushing will help. Bathing is done only when the dog is dirty; otherwise, there’s no need for regular bathing.

Feeding them must also be regulated such that if they are over-fed they will naturally gain weight and will have a problem being active and responsive to their tasks. It is therefore important that a daily exercise program such as walking and running be provided to them.

Keeshond dogs in lawn

These dogs may live up healthily as long as regular vet visits are also provided. Its cross-breed background may be a cause for congenital disorders, such as hip dysplasia, skin problems, and heart disease.


Standing at a height of about 17 – 18 inches tall and weighing an average of 35 pounds, the Keeshond breed is predominantly a spitz dog with hair covering that is neither coarse nor refined.

Keeshond side view

With a sturdy, compact body, it has a wedge-shaped head, medium size muzzle, small pointed ears, and a tightly curled tail.

Protected by a dense double coat, its neck is thickly wrapped ruff while the hair on its legs is short and smooth which looked like trousers.

The rest of its head part is covered with smooth, soft but short hair which has a velvety texture most especially on the ears.

The difference of Keeshonds from the common spitz is that their hair color is a mixture of grey and black and that its unique appearance is derived not only from its color blend but also from its “spectacles,” a marking that is of a delicate dark line which runs from the outer eye corner towards the lower corner of the ears.

This gives the dog an expressive look that is distinctly from Keeshonds.

General Information

This breed has a life expectancy of about 12-15 years. A litter may be up to 8 puppies. The Keeshond is also known as the Wolf Spitz.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Keeshonds. Click this link: http://www.keeshond.org/