Breed Organization Keeshond Club of America Website:
http://www.keeshond.org Native Country Holland Other Names Keeshond, Wolfspitz, Chien Loup, Dutch Barge Dog, Smiling Dutchman, Deutscher Wolfspitz Life Expectancy Approximately 12-15 Years Litter Size Average 3-8 Puppies Breed Group AKC Non-Sporting
Breed Appearance The Keeshond is a medium-sized dog with a plush
two-layer coat of silver and black fur with a ruff and a curled
tail. It originated in the Netherlands, and its closest relatives
are the German spitzes such as the Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz or
Pomeranian. Originally called the German Spitz, more specifically
the Wolfspitz, the name was officially changed to Keeshond, in 1926
in England, where it had been known as the Dutch Barge Dog.
Breed Description Head: They have a wedge shaped head, a
medium-length muzzle with a definite stop. Ears: Small pointed ears and an expressive face. Eyes: The "spectacles," a delicate dark line running from the
outer corner of each eye toward the lower corner of each ear, which,
coupled with markings forming short eyebrows, is necessary for the
distinct expressive look of the breed. All markings should be clear,
not muddled or broken. Body: Sturdily built, they have a typical spitz appearance,
neither coarse nor refined. Tail: The tail is tightly curled and, in profile, should not be
carried as so to be distinguished from the compact body of the dog. Hair: The Keeshond is a color-specific spitz type; many of the
names of the dog refer to the distinctive wolf color of the breed.
The color is a mix of grey, black and cream. The top coat is tipped
with black, while the undercoat is pale grey, white, or cream (never
tawny). The color can range from very pale to very dark, but the
Kees should neither be black nor white, and the ruff and "trousers"
of the hind legs should be a distinctly lighter grey. Coat: Like all spitzes, the Kees has a profuse double coat,
with a thick ruff around the neck. The tail is well plumed, and
feathering on the fore and hind legs add to the soft look of the
breed. The coat is shown naturally, and should not be wavy, silky,
or long enough to form a natural part down the back. Size: The Kees is 17 to 18 inches (about 45 cm) tall Weight: 35 to 40 pounds (about 16 to 18 kg).
History The Keeshond was named after the 18th-century
Dutch Patriot, Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer, leader of the rebellion
against the House of Orange. The dog became the rebels' symbol; and,
when the House of Orange returned to power, this breed almost
disappeared. In the Netherlands, "keeshond" is the term for German
Spitzes that encompass them all from the toy or dwarf (Pomeranian)
to the Wolfspitz (Keeshond). The sole difference among the German
Spitzes is their coloring and size guidelines. Although many
American references point to the Keeshond as we know it originating
in the Netherlands, the breed is cited as being part of the German
Spitz family, originating in Germany along with the Pomeranian (toy
or dwarf German Spitz) and American Eskimo dog (small or standard
German Spitz) according to the FCI.
The first standard
for "Wolfspitze" was posted at the Dog Show of 1880 in Berlin. The
Club for German Spitzes was founded in 1899. The German standard was
revised in 1901 to specify the characteristic color that we know
today, "silver grey tipped with black". In the late 19th century the
"Overweight Pomeranian", a white German Spitz and most likely a
Standard German Spitz, was shown in the British Kennel Club. The
"Overweight Pomeranian" was no longer recognized by the British
Kennel Club in 1915. In the 1920s, Baroness van Hardenbroeck took an
interest in the breed and began to build it up again. The
Nederlandse Keeshond Club was formed in 1924. The Dutch Barge Dog
Club of England was formed in 1925 by Mrs. Wingfield-Digby and
accepted into the British Kennel Club in 1926, when the breed and
the club were renamed to Keeshond.
Carl Hinderer is
credited with bringing his Schloss Adelsburg Kennel, which he
founded in 1922 in Germany, with him to America in 1923. His German
Champion Wolfspitz followed him two by two in 1926. At that time,
less than ten years after World War I, Germany was not regarded
fondly in England and America; and the Wolfspitz/Keeshond was not
recognized by the AKC. Consequently, Carl had to register each puppy
with his club in Germany. Despite this, Carl joined the Maryland KC
and attended local shows.
Carl regularly wrote to the
AKC, including the New York headquarters, to promote the Wolfspitz.
While going through New York on his way to Germany in 1930, Carl
visited the AKC offices and presented Wachter, his Germany champion,
to AKC President, Dr. DeMond, who promptly agreed to start the
recognition process, with some caveats including changing the name
to Keeshond, and asked Carl to bring back all the relevant data from
Germany. Carl also translated the German standard to English for the
AKC. The Keeshond was accepted for AKC registration in 1930.
Despite intense lobbying the FCI would not accept the Keeshond as a
separate breed since it viewed the Wolfspitz and Keeshond as
identical. In 1997, the German Spitz Club updated its standard so
that the typically smaller Keeshond preferred in America and other
English-speaking countries could be included. This greatly expanded
the gene pool and unified the standard internationally for the first
time. Now bred for many generations as a companion dog, the Keeshond
easily becomes a loving family member.
As a result of the
breed's history and friendly disposition, Keeshonden are sometimes
referred to as "The Smiling Dutchman".
Behavior An excellent children's companion, lively,
intelligent, and very alert. A real character that is quick to learn
if their owners are consistent. They should be trained gently and
patiently without a lot of jerking.
Health Keeshonden are generally a very healthy breed.
Though congenital health issues are not common, the conditions which
have been known to sometimes occur in Keeshonden are hip dysplasia,
luxating patellas (trick knee), epilepsy, Cushing's disease, primary
hyperparathyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Von Willebrand's disease
has been known in Keeshonden but is very rare. An accurate test for
the gene causing primary hyperparathyroidism (or PHPT) has recently
been developed at Cornell University. As with any breed, it is
important when buying a puppy to make sure that the parents have
been tested and certified free from inherited problems.
Advice Will be okay in an apartment although they
should at least have an average-sized yard. Keeshonden prefer cool
climates; they cannot withstand the heat well due to their thick
coats. Daily brushing of the long coat with a stiff bristle brush is