The Keeshond is an ancient breed of dog, once a companion and watchdog on the barges and boats that traveled the canals and rivers of Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today it is almost exclusively a companion dog, although it is purebred dogs, you may find them under the care of shelters or rescue groups. Remember to adopt! Don’t buy if you want to bring a dog home. Keeshonds are lovers of people; willing to participate in all family activities, they thrive on people who expect this from their dog. They are lively, alert and intelligent, qualities that earned them the status of the most beloved dog in the Netherlands. These adaptable puppies can even make good apartment pets, but be aware that they have a tendency to bark, something neighbors may not appreciate. They also won’t enjoy being home alone for long hours of the day. If you can meet the needs of the breed, you will have an affectionate and fluffy family member.


The Keeshond is never reluctant to emit a warning bark to alert its family to strangers. His propensity to bark can be a problem if he is left alone too long and becomes bored. The best way to make a Keeshond miserable is to keep him separated from his family. He was bred to be a companion, and needs to be part of family life. If you don’t want your dog to participate in family barbecues, card games or movies, consider choosing a more independent breed.Keeping the Keeshond’s coat in good condition is not terribly difficult, but the breed sheds like crazy once or twice a year. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill or pet shop. Look for a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs to make sure they are free of genetic diseases that can be passed on to puppies and that they have a sound temperament.


The Keeshond is a close cousin of the Samoyed, the Chow, the Norwegian Elkhound, the Finnish Spitz and the Pomeranian. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Keeshond was a companion and watchdog on small boats called rijnaken on the river Rhine. The Keeshond became the most beloved dog in Holland during a time of political unrest. Holland was divided into two factions: the prinsgezinden, or followers of the Prince of Orange, and the patriotten, or patriots.The patriots were led by one Cornelius de Gyselaer, who had a spitz dog named Kees as a constant companion. De Gyselaer’s followers were derisively called Keezen by the opposing Orange Party. Eventually, the followers of the Prince of Orange overthrew the rebel party and the Keeshond fell out of favour as a representative of a lost cause; many dogs were destroyed. The breed was rediscovered in 1905 by Miss Hamilton-Fletcher (later to become Mrs. Wingfield-Digby). She persuaded her parents to take home two puppies. These dogs were taken to England and became the basis for the introduction of the breed outside Holland. Mrs. Wingfield-Digby and Mrs. Alice Gatacre aroused interest in the breed in England and in 1926, the English breed club was formed. The decline of the Keeshond in Holland continued until 1920, when Baroness van Hardenbroek became interested in the breed. The Baroness discovered that the dogs were still kept by riverboat captains, farmers and labourers. She started breeding Keeshonds and spread their story throughout Europe. The first American litter of Keeshonds was bred in 1929 by Carl Hinderer. The first Keeshond was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1930 in the non-sporting group, and the Keeshond Club of America was formed in 1935.

Breed Characteristics:
All Around Friendliness:
Health And Grooming Needs:
Physical Needs:
Vital Stats:
Dog Breed Group: Companion Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 4 inches to 1 foot, 7 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 35 to 45 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

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