Keeshond Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

The playful, affectionate nature with minimal training needed makes the Keeshond an ideal pet. Because of the Keeshond’s thick coat a hot, humid climate is not recommended.

Keeshond At a glance
The Keeshond Dog Breed

Keeshond appears larger than they really are because of its full, thick coat.


Weight Range:

Male: 35-45 lbs.
Female: 35-45 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 18

Female: 17


Upright ears (naturally).


Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average.
Longevity Range: 12-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low. Tendency to Snore: Low.
Tendency to Bark: Moderate.
Tendency to Dig: Low. Social/Attention Needs: High.

Bred For:

Barge watchdog


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Double coat, straight
Colors: Mixture of grey, black and cream
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Non-Sporting
UKC Classification: Northern Breeds
Prevalence: Common

The Keeshond (pronounced KAYZ-hawnd) is a double-coated breed. This coat consists of a woolly undercoat and a longer guard coat. The undercoat is a pale gray or cream color and the outer guard hairs are a mixture of gray and black with black tips. Twice a year, Keeshonden "blow," or shed their undercoats completely. This intense shedding period can last up to three weeks. Keeshonden appear larger than they really are because of their full, thick coat.

The average height of a mature Keeshond (over 2 years old) is 17" for females and 18" for males. The weight is ideally between 36 and 40 pounds. Except during the time of shedding, the keeshond coat is fairly easy to care for. Daily brushing is ideal, but once or twice per week will help to keep the coat clean and remove any loose undercoat.

In addition to their beautiful coats, Keeshonden are recognized for their alert, smiling expression and the distinctive "spectacles," which are lightly shaded lines slanting upward from the outer portion of the eye to the lower corner of the ears.


The natural tendencies of the Keeshond are such that no special training is usually needed for them to act as an alert watchdog. They rarely bite, however, and once a person is welcomed into the home, the keeshond will readily accept them.

The keeshond is friendly by nature to both people and other dogs. Their demand for affection is high, and they prefer to be included with the family rather than be left outside on their own. Keeshonden both bark and "talk." The alert keeshond barks a warning that a stranger is near, but rarely are they nuisance barkers.

Living With:

Keeshonden are handsome, intelligent dogs with a delightful personality. Their playful, affectionate nature makes them ideal family pets. Unlike other northern breeds, the Keeshonden are relatively easy to train.

Rarely are they nuisance barkers, but they will bark a warning that a stranger is near. A keeshond is most happy if allowed to live in the home with the family, his "pack." The ideal situation, of course, is one in which the dog can come in and out of the house on its own, through a dog door.

Keeshonden can remain outside in cold weather, but appropriate shelter should be provided. Because of their thick coats a hot, humid climate is not recommended.


The keeshond (pronounced KAYZ-hawnd) is an old breed used for centuries as a family companion and watchdog. Many Keeshonden could be found living on the barges and farms in Holland where their masters depended on them for controlling the vermin population as well as providing loyal companionship.

A longtime resident of Holland, the Keeshond became the symbol of the Patriot Party in the 18th century. The name comes from the leader of this group, Kees De Gyselaer. This is the basis for the breed name as "Kees' dog" in Dutch would be "Kees hund.”

The original Keeshond probably descended from the same arctic strains that produced the samoyed, spitz and Norwegian elkhound. The dog's gentleness and devotion suggest that he was never intended as a hunting dog, but rather as a companion.

Today, the Keeshond continues to be regarded as a loyal house pet and an outgoing "people dog."

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