Home > Dog Breeds > Keeshond


Life span

15 Years


20 Kg


Utility Dogs

Keeshond Overview

The Keeshond is a medium-sized Spitz-type breed with a characteristic luxurious double coat of silver and black with distinctive harness markings, a lion-like ruff, and spectacles. The breed also has small dark triangular ears and a curled tail. The Keeshond is one of the German breeds and is closely related to the other German spitz-type dogs such as the Pomeranian. It was originally used to guard barges in Holland which earn him the nickname the “Dutch Barge Dog”. It was originally called the German Spitz or Wolfspitz but later renamed to Keeshond in 1926 in England. The Keeshond is a short, compact dog with a wedge-shaped head, a medium-length muzzle with well-defined stop and small triangular ears similar to that of a fox. The tail is well feathered and curled over the back. Male Keeshonds are more muscular than females. The Kennel Club of UK sets the ideal height for males at 46cms and 43cms for females while the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) sets the standard height at 48.9cms. The average weight is between 14kg to 18kg.

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Keeshond Characteristics

Size InformationIntelligence
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Size InformationExercise Needs
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Size InformationDogs Health
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Size InformationChild Friendly
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Size InformationApartment
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Size InformationShedding
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Size InformationGrooming Needs
  • 3
Size InformationBarking
  • 4
Size InformationAlone
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Size InformationTrainability
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Size InformationEnergy Levels
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Size InformationDog friendly
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History & Origin

The Keeshond was originally known as the German Spitz or more specifically, the Wolfspitz. It was named after the 18th-century Dutch Patriot Cornelis “Kees” de Gyselaer, leader of those who rebelled against the House of Orange. “Hond” is the Dutch word for dog. In the Netherlands, all German spitz-type dogs are known as “keeshonden”, from the toy Pomeranian to the Wolfspitz or Keeshond. The first standard for the Wolfspitz was written in 1880 in Berlin and after almost two decades, the Club for German Spitzes was established and the breed standard revised two years later, specifying the characteristic colours that we know today. The Nederlandse Keeshond Club was organized in 1924 while the Dutch Barge Dog Club of England was formed in 1925 through the efforts of Mrs. Wingfield-Digby and was accepted into the Kennel Club of UK in 1926 when the breed name and the club were renamed to Keeshond.

Keeshond Temperament

Described by avid breed fans and owners as a confident, alert, and friendly dog. It has a playful tendency, lightning fast reflexes including a very strong jumping ability. The Keeshond has a very alert disposition and has a very loud, distinctive bark which makes it an excellent watchdog. It is a friendly breed, eager to please its owners and learns very quickly, or to put it in another perspective, learns both good and bad things easily. Because of its athleticism and quick learning abilities, the Keeshond excels in dog sports such as agility events and obedience training and can be successfully trained as a guide dog for the blind. It is also very innate and compassionate and can be an excellent comfort dog for the sick and elderly. It loves children and most of the time prefers to be with its human family and tends to be very clingy.

Keeshond Training

It is an easy dog to work with, as far as training goes. The Keeshond shows a high level of brightness both in working trials and obedience training. It ranks high in Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs” owing to its excellent working/obedience intelligence. The very affectionate Keeshond is an excellent pet for a first-time dog owner who has no prior experience in dog training. However, consistent and fair handling is a must, as with other dog breeds because a harsh training method will do no good to a Keeshond. Timidity also runs in the blood and it is also important to train the Keeshond to respect but not fear the owner and the family. Socialisation from an early age plays a key role in raising a well-balanced adult Keeshond.


The profuse double coat of the Keeshond needs regular brushing in order to stay neat and healthy. Spending an hour a week on meticulous brushing will keep the coat in pristine condition and free from mattes and tangles. The coat will naturally keep itself clean by shedding dirt when dry and does not have a strong doggy odour unlike other breeds, so bathing frequently is not necessary. The coat should also not be shaved as this helps protects the dog from the harmful rays of the sun and other skin irritants. However, there are some owners that like to clip their dog’s coat during the summer season.


In general, the Keeshond is a very healthy breed with a typical lifespan of 12 years to 15 years. There are some hereditary health issues seen in some Keeshonden but these are uncommon in the general population. Among them are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, canine epilepsy, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and hyperthyroidism. There are some Keeshonden that have been known to suffer from Von Willebrand’s disease but are very rare.

Keeshond Exercise Needs

Exercise is one of the key activities that must be remembered when owning a Keeshond. This intelligent breed has the tendency to entertain itself by inventing its own activities when bored, often being destructive like digging or chewing on anything it can sink its teeth on. It needs a lot of attention from the owner and requires a lot of activities, like daily long walks in order to remain happy. An hour of daily exercise is enough to channel a lot of its excess energy.

Children and other pets

The Keeshond is a very adaptable and friendly breed that loves children and prefers to be close to its human family whenever possible. It generally gets along well with other dogs and will often enjoy chasing or be chased by other house dogs around the yard or garden. It is a gentle, easy-going, and loveable dog and gets along well with other household pets including cats. It does not hold bitterness with other animals and it is a hard-to-provoke dog which makes it a wonderful addition to the family.