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Characteristics, History, and Health


The Keeshond (pronounced "kays-hond") is a medium-sized, fluffy dog breed that originated in the Netherlands and is part of the Spitz family of dogs. They were traditionally used as watchdogs on riverboats, farms, and barges. Also known as the "Dutch Barge Dog," they're a symbol of the Dutch Patriots Party, especially associated with the party leader, Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer, from which the name "Keeshond" partially originated. After the party's downfall, the breed fell out of favor for a while but saw a resurgence in the early 20th century.

Main Info
Arctic (or possibly sub-Arctic)
Alternate Names
Dutch Barge Dog
Life Expectancy
12-15 years
Average Male Height
18 inches
Average Female Height
17 inches
Average Male Weight
35-45 pounds
Average Female Weight
35-45 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black, Black & Silver, Gray & Black, Gray Silver & Black, Silver, Silver & Black, Tawny, White, Wolfgray, Wolfgray & Black, Gray Cream & Black
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Keeshonds can suffer from hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, progressive retinal atrophy, and hyperuricosuria. A specific condition for which this breed should also be tested is primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). They can also be prone to obesity, diabetes, skin infections, eye and heart conditions, liver issues, bone pain, deafness, and parasitic worm infections. As for all breeds, genetic screening is recommended to assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Keeshonds are known for their friendly and outgoing nature. They are exceptionally good with children and make excellent family pets. They are intelligent, quick to learn, and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. Keeshonds are also known for being quite vocal, often "talking" to their owners and making their needs and feelings known. They tend to be reserved with strangers but are rarely aggressive. They need a moderate amount of exercise but are equally happy to cuddle on the couch.

Fun Facts

The Keeshond is considered a Dutch symbol of patriotism. During the political struggle in the 18th century Netherlands, people showed their allegiance to the Patriots Party by owning a Keeshond. The more, the better the commitment!

Keeshonds have a distinctive "spectacles" marking around their eyes, which gives them an alert and intelligent expression.

They have a dense double coat which sheds twice a year, a process often called "blowing the coat." During these times, they can lose an impressive amount of fur.

The plural of Keeshond is "Keeshonden", which follows Dutch grammar rules.

Keeshond is pronounced as “kayz-hawnd”.