|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
The Keeshond is the super dog that you don’t expect… and that you may have wanted for a long time.
The Keeshond is also known as WolfSpitz or Dutch Barge Dog and it is an old Dutch breed. It was the dog of the boatmen on the canals: this is the origin of its great agility, its love for water and its tendency to be a watchdog. Since this breed was a symbol of the Dutch, when the Dutch lost the civil war, the dog was also persecuted. It was even on the verge of extinction.
A distant descendant of the Samoyed, the Elkhound, the Chow Chow, and the Pomeranian, this dog is not skilled at hunting, but it is an excellent watchdog. After being on the verge of extinction, the breed came back with all its strength in 1920. It was named after the Dutch patriot Kees de Gyselaer, who used this dog in patriotic battles.
Germany obtained recognition of this breed before the Netherlands by including it in the German Spitz group. Therefore, in the FCI countries it is considered as a variety of the German Spitz, whereas in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia it is a separate breed, with its own standard. Dogs imported from the United States have the name Keeshond in their pedigree and the FCI recognizes them as such.
Keeshond: Wolfspitz or Dutch Barge Dog
In Group 5 of the FCI, the Keeshond is part of the European spitz, not the Nordic spitz. However, Nordics have a great problem-solving ability. It is a dog that shows cleverness and creativity when facing problems.
We should also mention that it was selected over the centuries to guard barges and live in close contact with people in limited spaces. It has excellent learning abilities and a great need to be close to humans and to interact with them. One of its nicknames is “velcro dog“!
That’ s interesting by the way! This dog, which has a “wolf” looking, actually has the high hierarchy and body communication ability of wolves, hence the name Wolf Spitz. It is a kind of ancestral dog that, unlike Nordic dogs, does not eat small animals and does not show any desire to escape or become independent on its own.
This breed still maintains certain wolf behaviors. For example, it has the ability to live in a pack establishing roles within the group. It also shows certain natural and typical pack attitudes. For example, when one of the female dogs gives birth, they all cooperate as much as possible: they clean the puppies even if they are not their real mothers. They also play and take care of them. The birth mother let’s all the other female dogs behave like this, just as the she-wolf of the litter would do in the wild.
The Keeshond is a lively, energetic, cheerful, intelligent, playful, and attentive dog. It loves being indoors, as well as being outdoors. In the big green meadows is where it can burn off its energy and have fun with children. It is a lively, courageous, and fearless breed. This is the reason why it is believed to have been used in combat in the Netherlands. In addition, it is a very faithful dog; it is what we usually say the true “man’s friend”, as it never betrays you, especially in times of need.
Docile and tame, the Keeshond is easy-to-train. It sometimes has a bold temperament. It is an excellent watchdog. It will defend its territory and owner. It is always very grateful to those who take care of it.
Keeshond: Characteristics and Use
Males are 17-19 inches (44-48 cm) tall, while females are 15-19 inches (39-44 cm) tall. Their average weight is 55-66 lbs (25-30 kg). It is very similar to the Samoyed. A mixture of gray and black is the characteristic color of this breed.
You can do a little bit of everything with a Keeshond, as it is a dog that always seeks its owner’s companionship. The Keeshound is always alert and on guard. In Northern Europe, where they are best known, many masters use them in agility and obedience competitions as well as for tracking people. In addition, this dog breed is used for therapy dogs, as they love to interact with people, to be petted and pampered. Other breeds would be nervous in these situations. This allows them not only to withstand, but also to appreciate all kinds of attention.
Keeshond: Why is it a rare breed in many countries?
There are mainly two reasons for this:
- The true Keeshond is more extended in the United Kingdom, the United States and Northern Europe. In countries like Australia, South Africa, India and neighboring countries, the German Keeshond was more popular until at least fifteen years ago. German Keeshond excelled as watchdogs, but they had a more timid and impetuous nature.
- The second reason this breed is not as popular is that people often mistakenly believe that this animal’s coat will require exhausting grooming and that their homes will be covered with hair.
There may even be a third reason. Although they are bright and easy-to-train dogs, if they fall into the wrong hands, they may become very difficult to handle or even overly shy if they were trained harshly.
Nowadays the breed is expanding: Registrations have skyrocketed in the last few years.
Brushing plays a fundamental role in grooming the breed’s coat. It should be done thoroughly, from the root of the coat to the tip; otherwise, the undercoat will become tangled and gradually matted. But it is not necessary to brush it daily. Once a week, for thirty minutes, will be enough to have a well-groomed dog.
On the other hand, baths should be frequent only if you take it to shows, as this favors dog’s re-shedding for longer periods of time. In case the dog does not participate in exhibitions, a bath every two or three months is more than enough.
Like all breeds in group 5, their coat is odorless and collects little dirt, and if it does, it is easily removed when brushed.
The shedding of the Keeshond’s coat is intense, especially in females. During the shedding period, the undercoat is almost completely replaced, so it is necessary to intensify the frequency of brushing during this process. In fact, the undercoat is so dense that if it is not brushed, it does not fall to the ground. Contrary to what you might imagine, you will find little hair at home as almost all the hair remains on the dog! This causes the hair to tangle, damaging the coat and the skin, which stops breathing.
The curious aspect is that its hair has no odor and given its particular texture, it is very suitable for weaving. The Keeshond produces a wool similar to cashmere.
The Keeshond adapts well to apartment life, but it may gain weight if it does not exercise. Its ideal environment is the countryside. It loves cold weather and hates high temperatures due to its double coat. The average lifespan of this breed is between 13 and 15 years of age.
Keeshond: Price, Breeders, and Puppies for Sale
They have a very funny way of playing that makes them look like cats… and like cats, they love heights and balancing, an activity they have probably inherited from their ancestors in barges.
A Keeshond puppy costs between 1100 and 1600 dollars, about 800-1300 English pounds. The price is high because it is considered a rare breed. It is essential that you buy a dog from a reliable breeder so that you can be sure that your puppy has been:
- Bred for good health and temperament;
- Well-selected (this means that its parents were chosen without genetic diseases);
- Properly socialized, so that it is not too fearful or too aggressive;
- Vaccinated and well-groomed.
Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- Berger Picard
- Colombian Fino Hound
- Skye Terrier
- Ibizan Hound
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Spanish Water Dog
- English Springer Spaniel
- Welsh Corgi