Lifespan: 12 - 14 years

Height: 17 - 18 inches

Weight: 35 - 45 pounds

Keeshond Traits
  • Jogging Partner

    Trait Rating: 3 of 5
  • Lap Dog

    Trait Rating: 2 of 5
  • Good with Children

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5
  • Warm Weather

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Cold Weather

    Trait Rating: 4 of 5
  • Grooming Requirements

    Trait Rating: 3 of 5
  • Shedding

    Trait Rating: 4 of 5
  • Barking

    Trait Rating: 2 of 5
  • Ease of Training

    Trait Rating: 3 of 5


  • The Keeshond is a member of the ancient Spitz family of dogs. It is actually most closely related the Pomeranian and American Eskimo.
  • The exact origin is unknown, but the breed was established in Holland as a watchdog and companion at least by the 18th century.
  • The breed later became known as the barge dog because it was used as a watchdog on barges that travelled the Rhine.
  • In the years before the French Revolution, the leader of the Patriot faction, a man named Kees de Gyselaer, appeared in many political cartoons along with his barge dog. The dog became a symbol of the movement, and known as a dog of the people. It also began being referred to as a Keeshond. When the Patriot party did not prevail, many Keeshond owners disposed of their dogs.
  • With larger barges, the Keeshond became less favored as a barge dog, and by the 1900s the breed was rare.
  • In 1920,a concerted effort, led by the Baroness van Hardenbroek, was made to revive the breed. Progress was rapid because several good-quality Keeshonden were found.
  • The breed received AKC recognition in 1930.
  • The Keeshond is the national dog of Holland.
  • The breed is often called "the smiling Dutchman."
  • The plural of Keeshond is Keeshonden.

Keeshond Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a loyal and loving companion.
  • Playful and careful with children.
  • Less independent than most Spitz breeds.
  • Good with other dogs and pets.
  • Sociable with children.
  • Learns quickly.
  • Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.

Keeshond Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a trustworthy and quiet housedog as long as its exercise needs are met.
  • Requires a moderate walk or jog every day.
  • Most Keeshonden do well in dog parks.
  • Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
  • Its thick coat provides good protection against cold weather but may make it prone to overheating.

Keeshond Grooming

  • Coat is made up of a soft thick undercoat covered by a straight, harsh outer coat that stands off from the body.
  • The coat needs brushing once or twice weekly-more when shedding heavily.
  • It needs bathing every month or so.
  • Shedding is above average.

Suggested Keeshond Nutritional Needs

  • Keeshonden have a tendency to put on weight. The thick coat can obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel the ribs to identify obesity.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.

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