Keeshonden are very easy to live with. Happy, cheerful and bursting with energy, they love everyone—children and other pets included. Easy to train and very obedient, Keeshonden are gentle, mellow and totally fun.
- 50 - 65 pounds
- 16 - 19 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Experienced dog handlers
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- Long, bushy coat
- Alert and cautious
What They Are Like to Live With
Keeshonden were bred to guard river barges along the Rhine, and those instincts survive to this day. They are extremely alert, protective and cautious—little things can easily get them barking. Keeshonden, in this sense, make excellent watchdogs.
These dogs form deep bonds with their masters; so deep that they develop an almost human-like understanding of emotions and moods. If you’re having a really bad day, or if a family fight ensues, your Keeshond will probably sense the tension and react in some way.
Things You Should Know
Keeshonden need lots of attention and family time. If neglected, they can get very emotional and distraught. During family gatherings or when company comes over, make sure your Keeshond feels like part of the gang.
Keeshonden can easily adjust to apartment life, but they need several vigorous walks every day. Ideally, they should have a fenced yard to run around in. Due to their bushy coats, they prefer cooler climates. On hot days, make sure they get plenty of shade and, if possible, air-conditioning.
A healthy Keeshond can live as long as 15 years. They are considered a healthy breed, but common issues could include hip dysplasia, heart and eye disorders. Their thick coats need daily brushing, and they shed pretty heavily in the spring and fall.
The Keeshond comes from Arctic stock with traces of Samoyed, Chow Chow and Pomeranian. For many years, they worked on Dutch riverboats along the Rhine River, winning the hearts of the working class for their sturdiness, intelligence and resourcefulness. During an 18th century rebellion against the Dutch royal family, the Keeshonden became a mascot for the patriots. When the rebellion failed, the Keeshond suffered a serious drop in popularity. A small group of diehards maintained the breed and, years later, the Keeshond returned to popularity.
The Look of a Keeshond
Keeshonden are small dogs covered in long, thick coats with manes around the neck, looking a little like their ancestor the Samoyed. Their wedge-shaped heads have medium-length muzzles and erect, triangle-shaped ears. They have dark, chestnut eyes with thin rims that look like glasses, and their long, straight coats—always looking newly blow-dried—usually come in mixed patterns of gray, black and white. Overall, Keeshonden have an alert and eager posture.
Talk About Keeshonds
Outgoing and friendly
This dog is known for being attached to one person, but the breed is also very friendly towards all people and dogs who happen to be nearby. While they are eager to learn and obey, they are very empathetic and will get upset if you are upset -- even if you are not even looking at them.
If you live where it is cold and can create an artificial environment for them such as a house and yard (think barge), they will entertain you and greet you and all others with the trademark "Wooooo woooo woo." They are great and distinctive dogs for the right environment.
~Jay S., owner of a Keeshond
Loyal and smart
My experiences with a Keeshond started with an ad in a paper advertising a teddybear-like dog. I looked, I liked, and took Pepper home. I did everything wrong in looking for and getting a dog, but Pepper was so smart and taught me all the wonderful things a Keeshond is capable of. These are empathetic dogs and really look to their owner for cues on how to behave.
I can't emphasize enough just how smart a keeshond can be. Pepper was terrified of thunder, and hearing construction outside the house ran away for the first and only time in her life. Luckily she ran away to her original home and her mother! Once safely home, she boundary-trained herself and never again left the yard.
A Keeshond is a beautiful dog for an owner who can devote the time and attention this wonderful dog deserves.
~Karen J, owner of a Keeshond