The Keeshond will do best in an environment where it has at least a small fenced yard to run, spin, and play in. They are relatively small dogs and will do well in small indoor spaces. It is necessary to note that due to the breed's thick coat they do not do well in hot weather. They are best in cooler climates. It can be a rather active indoor dog and therefore should receive about an hour of outdoor activity a day. Due to their separation anxiety they are not good dogs to be left outdoors alone or they will bark excessively. They are also not good to be left alone at home for long periods of time. This makes them not an ideal pet for an individual or family who spends a lot of time away from home.
The Keeshond is a very small and compact dog that bears a strong resemblance to their ancestor the Samoyed. This is demonstrated in their oblique chestnut eyes, erect triangular ears, and its medium length tail that rolls over onto its back. They attract attention because of their intelligent and alert expression combined with their unique coloration and luxurious coat.
The head should be well proportioned to the body and wedge shaped. The muzzle should be of medium length and never coarse. The neck should be moderately long and well shaped. The neck should sit well on the shoulders. The body should be compact with a short sloping back. The Keeshond exhibits a deep and strong chest that is well ribbed. The forelegs should be straight when viewed from any angle and the hindquarters should exhibit slight to moderate angulation to compliment the forequarters. The feet are well rounded and are said to be "cat like." The toes are nicely arched with black nails. The tail is set high, moderately long, and well feathered. The tail should be tightly curled over the back.
The Keeshond has a very distinctive gait. The dog should keep the tail always curled tightly over the back and move boldly. The movement is straight and sharp. The reach and drive is slight to moderate. The movements should be clean and brisk. The Keeshond is known for its "spinning." They will spin around in circles when excited.
The Keeshond has a profuse double coat. They have a very thick ruff around the neck. Typically the males of this breed will have a thicker more pronounced ruff than the females. The coat has a very soft look, which is demonstrated in its well plumed tail and the feathering on the fore and hind legs. The coat should not be wavy, silky, or long enough that a part is shown down the back.
The color of the Keeshond is very distinctive and is known for its wolf like appearance. The color is a mix of grey, black, or cream. The colors can range from quite light to quite dark. It should never be completely black or white and the ruff and trousers of the hind legs should always appear to be distinctively lighter grey, white, or cream. The Keeshond should never appear to be tawny. The tail should be either white or cream with a black tip. The ears and the muzzle should be black but some dogs develop a white ring around the nose or front of the muzzle, which is referred to as "milk mouth." It is also important that the Keeshond has proper spectacles. These are markings that extend from the outer corner of each eye towards the inner corner of each ear. The spectacles should be a very delicate but dark line. All markings should be clear and not muddled.
The Keeshond origin can be found in the Arctic or Netherlands. During the eighteenth century the Keeshond was known as "a dog of the people." The Keeshond was bred from the Samoyed, Chow Chow, Elkhound, and Pomeranian. At the beginning of the French Revolution it became a symbol for the common and middle-class Dutchmen. They were led by the Patriot Kees de Gyselaer. Afterwards the breed endured and suffered a long period of neglect. It was introduced to the United Kingdom by a woman named Mrs. Wingfield-Digby. However, the Keeshond did not become popular again until it was introduced into the United States in the 1920's. They are part of the Spitz family and therefore were originally bred to guard canal boats. It was because of this that it was named the Dutch Barge Dog. However, rather unkindly, in Victorian England the Keeshond was nicknamed the Overweight Pomeranian. Although it is known to have originated in the Netherlands it has been cited as being part of the German Spitz Family along with the Pomeranian and the American Eskimo dog.
The Keeshond is a very lively, active, and intelligent dog. Keeshonds are full of personality and become very excited about certain things. If they become excited they are known to spin around and around in happy circles. They are highly affectionate, friendly, and outgoing.
The Keeshond is an incredible family dog. They love to be involved with the family and family activities. They are excellent with children. This makes them the perfect dog for a family with children or a family who intends on having children. In fact, they are more affectionate and playful with children than with adults. They are also very well behaved and tolerant of other family pets and animals. They make fantastic watch dogs because of their keen sense of hearing. They will bark to signal the approach of unknown people or other events. This makes them an excellent watch dog. They also have a strong devotion and loyalty to the family and this will add to their nature as a watchdog.
However, occasionally the Keeshond can be very timid and reserved. If they are shy and timid as puppies they should be socialized extensively throughout puppyhood so they can become more confident and outgoing around other people and animals. If proper socialization has not taken place their natural sense of caution can turn into suspiciousness and this can be hard to deal with especially if it turns into defensive biting or nipping.
Due to the Keeshond's need for companionship and desire to be part of the family they do experience separation anxiety higher than other breeds. They will display this behavior through destructive chewing and excessively barking when left alone. This can become very aggravating for the owner and neighbors.
hip dysplasia: Ball and joint problem of the hip that causes arthritic like symptoms.
Grooming for the Keeshond is considered to be moderate. They have a very thick and long double coat and this does need some care. The Keeshond are heavy shedders and therefore combing and brushing regularly is definitely necessary. The shedding will only increase as the shedding seasons occur. When brushing or coming this breed it is essential to brush the hair right from the skin. If you cannot see the skin when brushing, you are not brushing properly. The point of this excessive brushing is to remove the dead hair. When all the dead hair has been removed, the coat should be brushed or combed through without running into any snags or mats. All the dead hair should be removed before bathing the dog.
When bathing the Keeshond it is important that no water or soap gets in the dogs ears or eyes. A regular dog shampoo can be used, but it is important not to use human shampoo or liquid soap because that can cause skin irritation. The coat of the Keeshond is very thick and this can make bathing a little more difficult. It is essential that the dog is rinse thoroughly making sure that all traces of soap are gone. Soap left on the skin of the dog can cause skin irritation. The head of the Keeshond should not be washed during the bath to ensure that water and soap does not get into the eyes or ears. A waterless shampoo can be used instead.
To dry the Keeshond both towel drying and blow drying can be done. To towel dry the dog, it will take about three large towels and four hand towels. This depends on how much the dog naturally shakes off as well. When blow drying it is important for that a non-heat dryer is used. During cold weather it is essential to make sure that the dog is dried completely. When the weather is hot or humid it is also essential for the dog to be dried completely as they can develop a rash. The rash develops when the hair is not dried and then it lays against the skin for a day or so.
The Keeshond's ears need to be cleaned out as well. This can be done with Q-tips, cotton bolls, and baby oil. The oil is put in the Q-tip and then used to clean the ear. The cotton balls are used to clean out the excess dirt if there is any. The nails on the Keeshond need to be trimmed regularly because it is important that they keep their cat-like paw shape. This should be done once every two weeks. The between the pads of the feet should be kept trimmed as well. If the hair is not cut between the pads then they lose their traction.
The Keeshond needs to have daily exercise. They are very active indoor dogs and this can be reduced by ensuring that they receive enough physical activity. They will be satisfied with a daily walk. However, a nice run through the park is highly appreciated. One concern for the Keeshond is that they gain weight very easily. It is important not to over feed them. It is essential that they receive exercise to help with the weight issues as well. The Keeshond does very well in mild and moderate climates. Due to its heavy coat, it does not tolerate hot weather very well. It is important that the dog is not overly exercised in warm and hot weather. Because of their desire to be around family and involved with family activities they make excellent dogs for the active family who spends a lot of time outdoors.
Training the Keeshond can be quite the difficult task. They are independent thinkers and can have a manipulative streak in them. They often have a mind of their own and get bored with repetition. However, they are excellent at obedience and are highly intelligent. When training the Keeshond it is essential to use positive, consistent, but firm training. They do best with fairness and structure. It is important that the Keeshond knows that the owner or handler means what they say.
Keeshond training should start at a young age to reduce some of the problems that can occur into adulthood. Socialization training should start when they are very young puppies to ensure they do not become suspicious adults. It is also important for them to be taught manners at a young age so they learn not to bark or destructively chew when they get bored. They are eager to learn new things and this makes them perfect for obedience and learning new tricks. This will keep them learning new things and prevent them from being bored. Training also is a great way for the dog and owner or handler to spend time together. This will fill the dog's desire for human contact and affection.