Keeshond general features, temperament, health

Keeshond dog breed face

FCI # 97, Origin: Germany, Group 5.4 Spitz and Primitive Type. European Spitz.

Height: 17-19 in, Weight: 40-60 pounds

Grooming: High, Shedding: High, Coat: Double coat with the lighter undercoat.

Color: wolf color - shades of gray.

Ease of training: High, Energy level: High, Span of life: 12-15 years.

Breed: The story of the Keeshond's emergence in Europe, just like the history of Spitz, is not known exactly. Strong type of constitution, a rich undercoat and thick coat, a high level of socialization, and intelligence in the dogs of a Spitz type may let us to imagine a variety of conditions for the development of the breed. Anyway, dogs in the type of a modern Spitz were well known in Europe already for a very long time. In the 16-17 centuries in different parts of Europe there were often bred Spitz-type dogs of different colors and sizes.

Black and brown Spitz dogs were guarding the vineyards in W??rttemberg, the white Spitz - quite large in size - were very common in Pomerania and other provinces, and the small ones became pets. Large Spitz of a wolf color were guarding homes and fishing boats. In Holland they were called " the Keeshond", in Germany - because of their color - "the Wolfspitz".

The German Wolfspitz and the Dutch Keeshond, apparently, have a common origin, but their breeding was going on several somewhat independent directions. The Keeshond became finally a companion dog, the best friend of the whole family. The Wolfspitz, like a hundred years ago, is often sitting on a leash, guarding the master's goods and belongings. This situation of course affected the appearance and character of dogs. German Spitz is much larger, more active and sometimes, to some extent, more aggressive, than the typical Keeshond. The increasing of the dog's size was very often  worsening the exterior qualities of dogs. Many Wolfspitz sometimes are looking much simpler than the Keeshond. The International Canine Federation (FCI) does not recognize the Keeshond as a separate breed, and in all exhibitions of this organizsation both breeds are compared in the same ring. Kennel Clubs of England, America, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa are registering dogs with the name of the breed "Keeshond".

Keeshond dog breed photo

General Features: Wolfspitz and the Keeshond are two types of one breed - the German Spitz. Wolfspitz and Keeshond have a common origin, but for a long time their breeding was carried out in isolation. FCI-Standard in 1998 united them into one breed.

Keeshond has a very beautiful coat, rich undercoat makes the hair to look standing. Especially the coat around Keeshond's neck is abundant, very rich. Well feathered tail that sweeps boldly is raised on the back. The bright eyes and sharp little narrow standing ears of the Keeshond give him a very special happy and energetic expression.

Keeshond is a dog with a short, compact body and a head, that reminds you with fox. The head must be proportional to the body size, somewhat wedge when viewed from above. The transition from forehead to the muzzle is well marked. Muzzle is moderate in length, dry and not too dense. Ears are small, erect. Nose is dark. Keeshond's head, ears and legs are covered with thick short hair. The tail is tightly curled in a double ring, bent on his back. The coat above (when the tail is curled) should be white and the tip of the tail - black.

Keeshond has a "wolf" color. Lupine color - silvery-gray with black tips. Muzzle and ears are dark. Neck and shoulders are lighter. Front and hind legs of silver-gray, without black spots below the knees and elbows, with the exception of light shading on the fingers. Black tail tip, and the lower part of the "pants" - light silver-gray.

Temperament: For centuries, the Keeshond was bred primarily as an ideal family dog, companion and sensitive watchdog.

Dutch farmers sometimes use this dogs for herding the cattle and protection of the livestock. Normally, for this purpose dogs are used not alone but in a packs. Several Keeshonden have a very responsible attitude to the entrusted business and they are always ready to defend the master's properties from any intruders "to the last drop of blood."

The Keeshond usually is not inclined to vagrancy, this dogs highly value their home. Their love and devotion they give to all family members. They are very friendly and get along just well with any pets. Keeshonden are very clean, normally they are very easy to house train. Some of them tend to wash their paws - just like the cats do. Most of the Keeshonden are very happy to swim or play in the snow. Danish barge dog sleeps in each one of them, and the modern Keeshonden are very much enjoying the water rides. And even if they are for the first time in this situation, with a knowledge of the case they comfortably arrange themselves in a boat.

This breed fully preserved an excellent health, ability to adapt to a variety of conditions of life, high level of studying abilities - qualities that gave the Spitz type dogs a chance to survive through the centuries, staying close to the man. Keeshond (the Wolf Spitz) has an inherent desire to understand his owner, to guess the desired behavior, faithfulness and dedication, the desire to always be beside the owner and at the same time do not disturb him - a feature, that is so rare in the ranks of canine aristocracy.


Keeshond is a very strong and healthy dog. When the necessary preventive measures are properly carried out, this dogs practically do not get sick, very rarely get injured and even to cut their paws on the broken glass is not happening as often as with the dogs of other breeds. With the good care, proper feeding and the great love and devotion from his owner, the Keeshond may easily live a really long life. Among the Keeshonden you may often meet the dogs, who live till 16-17 years. And even at 12-14 years old the Keeshonden are still very active and rarely get sick.

Keeshonden are very easy to train. They have a lively temperament and a desire to understand their people. Because of this, it is usually very easy to teach the Keeshond any common commands, also many Keeshonden can study quite complicated tricks. You will only need enough patience to explain to your dog what you want from him.

It should be noted that the Keeshond can easily learn not only the common obedience course and become a winner in the competitions in basic obedience. The practice of working with Keeshonden shows: the range of their capabilities extends from the usual basic obedience up to the most complicated courses for protection and investigative work. For example, it was exactly the Keeshond, who became champion in the tracing trials in the U.S. in 1983. In Russia, a group of Keeshonden, trained by special techniques, was participating in many scientific researches. This dogs were used in the laboratory to identify the odors of animal origin.

Despite their relatively small size, the Keeshonden are pretty strong dogs. They can be successfully taught to tow a skier. Most of Keeshonden have the character of an athlete and they successfully show their capabilities in agility and other active work.

Keeshonden are very attractive in both - their nature, and their appearance. The emergence in a public place a pair of well bred Keeshonden, as a rule, is attracting considerable interest and enthusiastic attention. This dogs are able to bring joy to those who need it. In America, there is a special program to help people with hearing problems. The Keeshonden appeared to be the most suitable breed for solving some problems in this program. They become companions of people with hearing impairments, in time giving them a signal of any information which comes to the person, a Keeshond cares for.

The Keeshond is a very frequent guest also in psychiatric hospitals and hospices (hospital for terminally ill people). Friendly, cheerful, always positively minded, sociable Keeshond brings joy to people. He gives his love to sick children, proves that they are loved, that they can always have a companion to play. According to many psychiatrists, who are dealing with behavior management of sick children, dogs sometimes are making miracles. Treatment of nervous diseases with the use of animals is becoming increasingly widespread in many countries. And one of the most promising breeds in this regard is the Keeshond. The Keeshonden and the representatives of few other breeds such as Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever by the Association of American Physicians are permitted to stay in the therapist's office during the reception. The presence of this dogs is helping to relieve isolation and stress, that the patient sometimes has, when he is visiting a doctor.

Health problems: Generally very healthy, still in some lines the Keeshond may be prone to hip dysplasia and different allergies.

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