Keeshond book
Check out this amazing book about this breed and everything you need to know

The Keeshond is a dog that shares its heritage with various European Spitz breeds, such as the Finnish Spitz and the Pomeranian. In Holland, the Keeshond evolved and became a barge dog and used to patrol riverboats, barges, and farms. The dog became the mascot of the Dutch Patriot Party in the 1700s. Unfortunately, this honor did not help the breed’s image after the resounding defeat of the party.

The Keeshond also lost its traditional working role when ships gradually got more massive, which led to bigger dogs’ employment to guard them. Thankfully, the breed regained some of its former popularity after being officially recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club in 1933.

Breed Standard

keeshond dog breed

This breed is a balanced, medium-sized dog with distinctive Nordic breed characteristics. Keeshond’s are sturdy and short coupled with a deep chest, a straight back, and a long, high-set, plumed tail curled perfectly over the back. This dog is famous for its alert carriage and intelligent, foxlike features. The head is wedge-shaped, with dark, almond-shaped eyes and small, high-set, triangular, erect ears. Also, the feet are compact and round.

Keeshond Dog Breed Temperament

Cuddly and puffy Keeshond puppy running on a grass field

This Dog breed is a lively, intelligent, affectionate companion. Bred to be alert and vigilant, these dogs make excellent watchdogs. This dog is well-known for its loud bark, a vocal trait that needs channeling to prevent excessive barking. Instinctive and willing to please, they are quick learners. Keeshonden are also famous for their friendly nature; they get along well with other dogs and have daily contact with their owners. If you can help it, do not spoil the Keeshond, or it can become quite clingy. Also, they are excellent therapy dogs.

This dog is a mixture of many best house dogs’ traits, which includes energy, attentiveness, and playfulness. They are always ready for an adventure, yet still content to take it easy. These dogs are a great companion for any child or adult.

Breed Facts

Energy levelWatchdog ability
Exercise requirementsProtection ability
PlayfulnessGrooming requirements
Affection levelCold tolerance
Friendliness toward dogsHeat tolerance
Friendliness toward other petsFriendliness toward strangers
Ease of training
  • POPULARITY: Somewhat uncommon
  • FAMILY: Spitz
  • AREA OF ORIGIN: The Netherlands
  • DATE OF ORIGIN: 1700s
  • ORIGINAL FUNCTION: Barge watchdog
  • TODAY’S FUNCTION: Companion
  • OTHER NAME: Wolf Spitz
keeshond temperament

Activity level: These dogs love and need daily walks, runs, and interactive play within a fenced-in yard, which is enough to satisfy their exercise requirements. They have quick reflexes, jumping ability, and aptitude for dog sports such as agility and obedience.

Grooming: Keeshonden require brushing 30 minutes per week with a pin brush; bathe every 6 to 8 weeks. However, we do not recommend shaving or clipping.

  • Coat: They possess an abundant, stand-off coat that combines a long, harsh outer layer and a thick, downy undercoat. There is shorter, softer hair on the head. Males naturally carry more hair than females.
  • Color: These dogs are a mixture of gray, black, and cream, varying from light to dark. Hairs of the outer coat are black-tipped, and the undercoat is pale gray or cream. Dark markings around the eyes produce the breed’s distinguishing spectacles.


  • MINOR CONCERNS: CHD, epilepsy, skin problems, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia
  • OCCASIONALLY SEEN: renal cortical hypoplasia, tetralogy of Fallot, mitral valve insufficiency
  • SUGGESTED TESTS: hip. Knee, elbow, eye
  • LIFE SPAN: 12-14 years
  • WEIGHT: male: about 45 pounds; female: about 35 pounds
  • HEIGHT: male: 18 inches (17-19 inches acceptable); female: 17 inches (16-18 inches acceptable)

Breeders and Buying Advice

Make sure to find a reputable hobby breeder. Also, never purchase on impulse.

  • Parent club: Keeshond Club of America (; founded in 1935
  • Regional clubs: You can find local club listings on the website.
  • Rescue: The KCA lists information on its website on Keeshond rescue.

Keeshond Dog Price

Buying Keeshond dogs from a reputable breeder could cost anywhere from $1000 to $4000. If this price is a little too steep for you, you can always adopt a rescue Keeshond.

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