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AKC Meet the Breeds: Keeshond

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

A medium-sized, sturdy dog, the Keeshond possesses the characteristics of other Northern breeds -- a fox-like expression, stand-off coat and richly plumed tail carried over the back. His coloring is a mixture of gray, black and cream, with variations from light to dark and distinctive "spectacles" -- markings and shadings in the eye area, including a delicate, dark line slanting from eye to ear and expressive eyebrows.

A Look Back

Basically unchanged over the past two centuries, the Keeshond descended from the same arctic strains as the Samoyed, Chow Chow, Norwegian Elkhound, Finnish Spitz and Pomeranian. The Kees was originally served as a watchdog on riverboats, barges and farms. Especially popular in Holland in the late 1700s, the breed also became a symbol of the Dutch Patriot political party and its leader Kees de Gyselaer, who owned a dog named Kees and gave the breed its name. When the Patriots were defeated, the Keeshond became rare in Holland until it was revived a century later, when it also began appearing in England and America.

Right Breed for You?

An affectionate, good-natured companion, the Keeshond is outgoing and friendly with people and dogs, following the lead of their owners when welcoming strangers. The breed learns quickly and is energetic, requiring daily exercise. Twice-weekly brushing is sufficient.

  • Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1930.
  • Ideal size: 17 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Barge dog; companion.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.

Comments (1)

  • carick 4 Feb, 2011

    My little Keeshond, who lived to the age of 15 years, was the joy of my life. He was absolutely the Perfect Pet. We had "weekday" and "weekend" residences and he quickly learned his boundaries. We never had to restrain him in any way- he never left either yard. I loved to brush and comb him; he'd look so beautiful and proud. Neither he nor his pups were that energetic. A daily, leisurely walk and a ball game kept them quite happy. I now have a Drop-off dog but my heart aches for another Kees.