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Keeshond Facts

  • Group
  • Non Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 17" - 18"
  • Weight
  • 30-45 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Silver / Grey
    • Cream
    • Black
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Rescue heritage

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

smiling Dutchmen, keeshonden, wolf spitz, Chien Loup, Dutch barge dog


The Keeshond originated in Holland.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed in the 1500's.


The keeshond dates as far back as the sixteenth century in Holland and is believed to be a descendant of the German wolfspitz. It was used as a watchdog on boats and farms during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and came to represent the Dutch Patriotic Party during the political unrest following the French Revolution. It was first imported to the UK in 1905 and to the U.S. in 1928, where it is a popular companion.

It took a national political turnover in Holland to bring the Keeshond to wide attention in the latter part of the 18th century. Holland was split between the partisans of the Prince of Orange and the Patriots, and the Patriots (principally the bourgeoisie) were led by Kees de Gyselaer, who owned a dog named Kees. Kees gave the Keeshond breed its name and became the symbol of the Patriots.


The keeshond is a well balanced, sturdy, medium-size dog. It has a foxy, wedge shaped head; small erect ears; and dark brown eyes. The plumed tail curls over the back. Its heavy coat stands out and is a mixture of silver gray, cream and black. The coat is very thick around the neck, shoulders, rump, hind legs and chest, forming a lion-like mane. There are distinctive spectacle like markings around the eyes with a line going to each ear.


The keeshond is a fun loving breed with a gentle nature. It is friendly toward almost everyone, including children and other animals. It is intelligent and eager to learn, making it highly trainable.


The Keeshond is a good swimmer and for years it was the dog-of-all-jobs on Dutch boats. Today it is used as a companion dog, adapted to city life. It is also used as a watchdog because of its notable gift for warning of danger.

Health Concerns

Cardiac disease, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism

Additional Information

The breed is adaptable and does well with a family in a city, suburban or rural home.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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