Dog breed: Keeshond

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The Keeshond, also known as the Dutch Barge Dog, is a beautiful breed that originates from the Netherlands. Instantly recognised by the curly Spitz tail, the pricked-up ears and pointed muzzle, the Keeshond is a beautiful fluffy dog that one instantly falls in love with on first sight.

Origins and History:

The Keeshond breed originates from the cross-breeding of other Arctic dogs, including the Samoyed, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, Norwegian Elkhound and the Pomeranian. Although it cannot be confirmed, it is said that the Keeshond breed originates with the Vikings.

The name of the breed can be attributed to Cornelius ‘Kees’ de Gyselaer, the leader of Dutch patriots against the monarch. He had a Keeshond as his pet and this dog soon became the symbol of the Dutch middle class Patriot Party and became popular because of it and given the name ‘Kees’. However, the movement failed and there was a sharp decline in the popularity in the breed.

There soon became a great demand for the Keeshond in the UK at the turn of the 20th century. A Mrs.Wingfield-Digby imported Keeshond puppies into England and by 1925, was showing them in rings. She set up a club dedicated to them, who were then known as Dutch Barge Dogs. In 1920, Baroness van Hardenbroek travelled to Holland to create more interest in the breed, which she accomplished brilliantly.

Breed Standard:

A Keeshond should have a short, compact body, with a fox-like head. Ears should be short, pointed and dark, medium sized eyes conveying an intelligent personality. The mouth should have strong jaws with a scissor bite and black lips.

The neck of a Keeshond should be moderately long and arched, covered by a thick coat forming a large ruff. Forequarters should be well sloped and hindquarters should be well muscled, leading to well-padded and cat-like feet. Paws should be cream with black nails.

The tail should be reasonably long that curls tightly over the back and carried closely at all times. A double curled tailed is highly desirable.

Keeshond coats are generally a mixture of black and greys, with a pale or cream undercoat. The tips of the coat should be black and all variations of greys are accepted.

The ideal height in dogs is 45 cm (18 inches) and 43 cm (17 inches) for bitches.


The Keeshond is a highly intelligent dog, highly affectionate and independent. They need firm training from the beginning but will make excellent watchdogs. Great with other dogs and young children, they make wonderful pets and loyal companions.

Keeshonds will need regular exercise, an hour a day should be adequate. It is best that an owner of a Keeshond should have a fenced-in garden that is well shaded, since due to their thick fur, they do not like the heat.

Kennel Clubs:

The American and UK Kennel Clubs are a great source of information for those interested in the breed or looking for reputable breeders.


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