The Keeshond is a smaller dog with a strong resemblance to its ancestor, the Samoyed. It has an amazing long bushy outer coat and soft, dense undercoat. They are excellent with children, loving and playful. These dogs love to part of the family life, they are loyal and devoted to their family and need to be included in all the activities to keep them happy. One of their most noticeable traits is their ability to guard and be a watchdog. They will warn you immediately if any intruders are around. The Keeshond is an active dog and needs exercise to burn off its abundant energy. They are a very smart breed, and sometimes can be a little mischievous. Socialising early in life, getting your dog used to meeting lots of different people, and taking them to new places will all help your Keeshond to grow into a well-rounded sociable dog. With a history as a barge or riverboat dog, these dogs adapt well to small spaces such as an apartment. They are true companion dogs, and as such, it is essential that they live inside with the family, or loneliness and boredom may turn their natural propensity to bark into an annoying intensity.
The ‘dog of the people’ as the Keeshond was known in the 18th Century, is still a well-loved companion dog. This dog became the symbol of the Dutch Patriot political party during the French Revolution. The Dutch Patriot party led by a man called Kees de Gyselaer and his dog called Kees. Combine the name Kees with the word hound, and this was where it first got its name from albeit after a few adjustments. Unfortunately, the breed then lost popularity and favor (because the rebel party was overthrown, the Keeshond bore the brunt of the lost cause, and many were destroyed). It wasn’t until a Mrs Wingfield-Digby introduced the Keeshond into the United Kingdom that its popularity slowly gained ground and then it accelerated once it was imported into the United States in 1920. There it became a popular dog, working as a watch/guard dog on riverboats, barges and farms because of its natural watchful nature and quick warning when strangers are near. The friendly Keeshond gained recognition by the AKC in 1930.
The Keeshond is an attractive animal, quite compact looking and bears a strong resemblance to its ancestor, the Samoyed. The tail is medium in length and bushy, carried proudly over the back. Erect triangular shaped ears that are set high on the wedge-shaped head give the dog an inquisitive, bright look. The muzzle is a pointed shape, the eyes are medium in size in a deep warm brown, and it has a fox-like expression due to the dark markings around its eyes. The hair coat is a long and dense and stands out from the body, but it has a deep soft undercoat. Particularly attractive is the lion-like mane around its neck and its overall soft cuddly appearance. The feet are compact and well-rounded in shape, and the legs are thickly fur coated, forming the ‘trousers’ they wear. They are a healthy breed, popular with families, and good with other pets.
While the coat on the Keeshond may look high maintenance, it is surprisingly easy to maintain. Of course, it does need a daily brushing of the long coat using a stiff bristle brush, to prevent any matting. But what better way to spend quality time with your dog? The trick is to brush with the grain of the hair first, then use a comb to lift the hair against the grain. Then lay it back in place, and you are finished. The Keeshond only requires bathing when necessary, and in summer, they love lying in the children’s paddling pool to keep cool. In summer, they do feel the heat but don’t need shearing as their coat will insulate them against the heat and suns burning rays. They need daily exercise to keep them fit and prevent weight gain, and they will happily join in the family games. If they are not getting enough exercise, you will be able to tell as they tend to spin in circles if they haven’t burnt up enough energy.