An Introduction to the Keeshond
The Keeshond (plural is Keeshonden) is an extremely affectionate dog that tends to get along wonderfully with people and with other pets in the household. They are a medium sized dog, weighing about thirty-five to forty-five pounds and stand at seventeen to eighteen inches tall.
The Keeshond History – Dog of the Patriots
The world almost didn’t get to enjoy this great companion, though. It was in the late 1700s that the breed almost disappeared. The people of Holland dared to stand up to the royalists at about the same time the colonists in the New World were preparing to fight King George of England.
The Dutch commoners chose as their mascot a medium-sized dog that had served for centuries as the guard dog on barges and as a household companion. The leader of the Patriots had one of these dogs that followed him everywhere. The dog’s name was Kees.
The Patriots were not victorious and people were afraid to be seen with a dog that had stood for the rebellion, so these great dogs almost disappeared. Then in 1920 Baroness van Hardenbroek found a few of these dogs that had been kept in low profile by farmers and river boatmen. She used the fine individuals to bring the breed back.
The Baroness fought the attempt to change the name of the dog to German Spitz, and in 1925 the breed was officially changed to Keeshond (after the dog Kees, mentioned above, and the Dutch word for dog, “hond”). It is now the national dog of Holland.
The Keeshond’s Temperament
The Keeshond is very smart and such a great companion that it’s a bit of a mystery why it is not more popular in the United States. In 2006 they were ranked 93rd most popular dog by the AKC.
Like many dogs they want to be inside with their family instead of locked outdoors. They make great housedogs: playful, attentive, loving, content to take it easy, and yet ready for adventure. A daily walk and a play time is all they need each day to satisfy its needs for exercise.
They are also easily trained, friendly to everyone but yet an alert watchdog, and an excellent companion for children and adults. With their thick fur they can tolerate cold temperatures but cannot tolerate heat.
Like dogs such as Border Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, the Keeshond has a double coat to keep them warm. This coat requires brushing once or twice a week and more often when shedding.
Unlike herding and hunting dogs the Keeshond is a general, all-purpose dog. An excellent watchdog, friendly and affectionate, they are a wonderful pet for any family who is looking for a dog to share their home.