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Keeshond: Breed Characteristics, Care & Exercise Needs

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About Keeshond

Country of Origin, History of Keeshonds

The word 'keeshond' is a compound word: 'Kees' is a nickname for the 18th-century Dutch Patriot, Cornelius (de Gyselaer) and 'hond' is the Dutch word for dog.

It is still not clear about the origin of the breed; many English references point to the Keeshond originating in the Netherlands. Other sources cite them as being part of the German Spitz family, originating in Germany along with the Pomeranian (toy or dwarf German Spitz) and American Eskimo dog (small or standard German Spitz). The same group includes dogs like Samoyed, Chow Chow, Ekhound etc.

The first standard for "Wolfspitz" was posted at the Dog Show of 1880 in Berlin. The Keeshond was accepted for AKC registration in 1930.

For many generations now, Keeshonds are bred as companion dogs. They easily become loving family members. Because of their friendly disposition, Keeshonds are sometimes referred to as "The Smiling Dutchman".

In an effort to produce a dog that could excel at rat baiting and rabbit coursing, Black and Tan Terriers were crossed with the Whippet.

By 1860 Manchester had become the breed centre for these new terriers, and so they became known as Manchester Terriers. Because of their demeanor, they were called the Gentleman's Terrier in Victorian times.

Keeshond Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Keeshond the right breed for you?

Is the Keeshond the right breed for you and your family?

Find out by using our Free Dog Breed Selector Tool

Check Your Keeshond's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Keeshond's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Keeshond training methods.

Is your Keeshond dominating over you?

Does your Keeshond bark unnecessarily? Does your Keeshond come to you when you call? Download a FREE Report on Dog Dominance for you and your Keeshond and learn how to control your dog.

Do you make these mistakes with your Keeshond?

Are you inadvertently snow-balling bad behavior in your Keeshond? Evaluate your Dog Training Style from our Free Tool and learn how best to deal with your dog.

Keeshond Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Keeshond needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Keeshond Calorie Calculator.

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General Appearance of the Dog

Keeshonden are compact little dogs with oblique chestnut eyes, erect triangular ears, and its medium-length tail rolled on its back. It has a cream or pale gray undercoat and a luxurious outer coat that comes in shades of gray with black tips and stands away from the body.


Its coat always appears to have just been washed and combed. The markings are quite definite and there are distinctive pale "spectacles", a delicate dark line running from the outer corner of each eye toward the lower corner of each ear.


Dogs 17-19 inches (44-48cm.)
Bitches are 10% less.


Some sources say 55-66 pounds (25-30kg.) while others say 35-45 pounds.

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Keeshond Personality Traits

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The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely intelligent, fearless, ever-active, strong, attentive, happy and well balanced versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. It is a devoted companion. It is reserved, not shy, with strangers. They can be protective and territorial.

Are they suited to families with kids?

Most of them are good with children and other animals if properly socialized.


Daily brushing of the long coat with a stiff bristle brush is important to maintain the coat and ward off doggy odor. Brush with the grain first, then lift the hair with a comb, against the grain, lay it back in place. Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary, generally once or twice a year. The dense undercoat is shed heavily twice a year in spring and fall. During the "blow," a Keeshond should be groomed once or twice a week to facilitate rapid removal of the dead undercoat.

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Free Keeshond Training Secrets

Free Course on Keeshond Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

While the SWD seems to be a very healthy breed there are some issues that the SWD have, just like all other breeds. There are cases of Hip Dysplasia in the breed, so choose your breeder carefully.

All breeding dogs should have their hips tested, either by OFA or PennHIP. There have been a few cases of PRA reported in Europe so it is advised that all breeders should test their breeding stock for PRA and other such genetic eye diseases with a yearly CERF exam. A responsible breeder will be able to produce the results in writing.

Like other Water Dogs and related breeds, they grow hair in their ear canals and can be prone to ear infections. The ears must be kept dry and clean. . Because these dogs are (as a general rule) so active and energetic as puppies, they may seriously injure themselves from too much running and jumping when their skeletal structure is still developing.

National Breed Clubs

Breed Club & Rescue Link:

Group: Northern, AKC Non-Sporting Group.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 95

Also Known As: Dutch Barge Dog, Smiling Dutchman, Chien Loup, German Spitz, Deutscher, Wolfsspitz

Train Your Keeshond To Listen To You

Get Instant Access to Your Training Now - For Free

Sign up for our Free Keeshond Mini Course to have a housebroken, obedient dog that happily comes to you every time you call.

You'll learn new commands to obedience-train your dog as well as how to housebreak your dog in 6 days or less.

You'll also learn how to eliminate bad habits like barking, nipping or biting, jumping, or pulling on the leash.Here's just s small fraction of what else you'll learn in the course:

  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

  • 3 dangerous mistakes that most Keeshond owners make when they are trying to potty train their dogs.

  • The 2 main reasons why your dog barks excessively and how to control its excessive barking.

  • How to obedience train your Keeshond to permanently end behavioral problems like Jumping, Aggression, Pulling on Leash.

  • A surprisingly easy way to teach your dog cool new tricks.

  • How to improve your dog's lifespan and keep it from getting overly heavy with a healthy and nutritious diet.

  • Getting Pro help fast - how to get access to our expert trainers when you need them most.

  • One hidden psychological trigger that all Keeshonds have... that practically allows you to "analyze" and "control" your dog's every action.

  • Priority access to the free online seminars conducted by our training experts.

Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Keeshond information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Keeshonds have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Keeshond training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

Here are a few of our experts:

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