- 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.
- 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.