Keeshond – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Are you a lover of spitz-type dogs? If so, you should learn more about the adorable Keeshond. Check this guide to learn if this could be your next dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Companion Dogs
1 foot, 4 inches to 1 foot, 7 inches tall at the shoulder
35 to 45 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Keeshond is one of those rare dog breeds that look much larger than they really are. Thanks to their full and thick coat this small dog seem much muscular and bigger in size.

As a part of the non-sporting group, the Keeshond needs just about 20 to 40 minutes per day.

A simple and longer walk of medium intensity should be enough to keep Keeshond’s physical needs satisfied.

This breed isn’t for the area where the climate is humid.

After all, their coat is thick and if left for too long in hot and humid weather this small dog may easily experience heatstroke. This is why they are more suitable for areas with four seasons, or colder areas.

As a double-coated breed, this breed has a woolly undercoat and a longer guard coat. They will blow their coat twice a year and having a vacuum cleaner on hand during that period wouldn’t hurt.

To keep this breed’s coat healthy daily brushing is ideal, but brushing twice per week should be enough.

Keeshonden are intelligent dogs who are friendly by nature toward people and other dogs.

Their calm temperament and small size make them great family dogs for apartment living.

Within the canine world, this breed is also known for the ‘spectacles’, shadings, and markings located around the eyes that give the impression that the dog is wearing eyewear.

Quick Facts

Real name: Keeshond
Other names: Dutch Barge Dog, Smiling Dutchman, German Spitz, Deutscher Wolfspitz, Wolfspitz, Dire Pomeranian
Common Nickname: Kees
Origin: Netherlands
Breed type: Companion Dogs
Weight: 35 to 45 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 4 inches to 1 foot, 7 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 3 – 8 puppies
Color: Their coat is a combination cream, black, and gray. Face markings are present.
Coat: Double coat

Keeshond History

Keeshond is a breed of mistery.

Yet is to be discovered of their Dutch Patriot since there are not many records on the breed.

Dog historians and fanciers believe that this breed is linked with ancient breeds that are responsible for creating other Spitz breeds.

What is known is that this fluffy dog was first developed sometime in the 17th century in Holland. This is confirmed by many famous paintings where these dogs are being displayed.

Interestingly, in the 19th century, this breed was further developed in England from imports from Germany and the Netherlands.

Overall, the Keeshond is an Arctic breed that is directly related to other spitz-type breeds, such as Samoyed and Finnish Spitz.

Did you know that the Keeshond is the national dog of Holland? As such, they are best known as ‘the smiling Dutchman.’ The AKC recognized the breed in 1930.

Keeshond Physical Appearance

One look at this dog is enough to realize that this breed is spitz-type. Like other spitz-type dogs, Keeshond resembles foxes, although they do not have really real similarities.

Spitz-like dogs commonly have lavishing coat with woolly undercoats and a longer outer coat.

They will ‘blow’ their coat twice a year, or will shed their undercoats entirely. You can expect them to blow their coat during the shedding session, which occurs in spring and autumn. This is something that is commonly seen in breeds that resemble Siberian Husky.

Make sure that you have a vacuum cleaner during this period and provide extra brushing sessions.

They will commonly weigh between 35 to 45 pounds, while for the height that will be around 1 foot, 4 inches to 1 foot, 7 inches tall at the shoulder.

All in all, these are compact dogs who will easily adapt to busy city streets. They may be of smaller size, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t built well, they will never be anything less but sturdy.

Appearance-wise, they have a typical spitz appearance.

As such, their head is wedge-shaped, the muzzle is of medium length, ears are small and pointed, and the eyes are soft and darker, which only adds to their expressive loom. Their tail should always be tightly curled.

Keeshond Personality

Keeshond is a lively dog, full of vivid personality. These dogs will be fast to show you when they are happy, or sad. They will love to share every emotion that they have with you.

If you are on the lookout for your new family dog, this is a breed to consider.

They are loyal, affectionate, and playful, which makes them perfect family dogs. They will bark when scared or approached by strangers, but they are not guard dogs.

They are more sensitive dogs who are intelligent and love spending time with their humans. True to their spitz roots they will be independent, but they will listen.

At least, they will do so, if you have enough experience with dogs. As intelligent dogs, they will be a bit stubborn and will most likely try to manipulate you.

Take this into consideration when it comes to organizing training sessions.

Keeshond With Children and Other Pets

Keeshonds are greta with chidlren.

They will love spending time with children of any age, as long as they know how to behave around dogs.

Children should know not to pull a dog’s ears or tails, or to disturb them while they are eating, sleeping, drinking water, or just resting-playing with their toys in the crate.

Still, no matter how well family dog and child or children get along, their interaction should always be supervised.

Keeshonden will get along nicely with other dogs as long as they are introduced the right way.

The best way for your Keeshond to get along with other pets is to introduce them to puppyhood.

Keeshond Training

Training should start as soon as you bring your Keeshond home.

Did you know that dogs are capable of mastering basic commands as of eight weeks of age?

Before socialization periods, your Keeshond should know the following:

  • Basic commands such as ‘come‘ and ‘sit’
  • House dog rules
  • How to behave around house visitors
  • To stay off the Fortinet, if that is the rule
  • How to walk on a leash
  • How to behave in the backyard
  • Where his spot is

These dogs may seem like an easy-to-train breed, but they are recommended for experienced dog owners.

To get the most out of training sessions, make them fun, short, engaging, and consistent. Also, do not forget to serve him a nice treat as a reward.

Dogs love rewards, especially when they come in the form of delicious bites.

Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement, and no dog should ever experience any harsh handling.

If you feel like you could need help to create stronger training sessions, think about hiring a professional dog trainer.

Another option is to enroll your puppy in puppy classes. What if you are adopting an adult dog? Fear not, because some training principles apply – even an old dog can master new tricks.

Keeshond Grooming

Keeshonds are true enjoyment if you love brushing dogs.

These dogs come with a strong double coat, that ‘blows’ twice a year. Still, they will need regular brushing, up to two brushing sessions per week. How long brushing sessions should be?

To keep your Keeshond neat, clean, and handsome, invest an hour of your time weekly to keep that coat clean. They are not prone to doggy odor, which means that bathing should be an option only when it’s really needed.

Make sure that you use a shampoo specially designed for dogs. Do not shave your Keeshond. Their coat was carefully created to keep them protected from hot weather, harsh weather, and insects.

If you choose to shave him, you will put him in danger. Think about a professional dog groomer to save your time on grooming.

Bear in mind that brushing is also a great way to bond with your dog further, so do it at least once a month.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Bathe only when needed
  • Check gums weekly
  • Check eyes daily for any sign of eye discharge
  • Clean ears when needed
  • If your veterirnain recommends it, brush his teeth

Keeshond Health

Keeshonden are considered to be healthy dogs.

This is especially true if you choose to work with responsible dog breeders. Responsible dog breeders will always screen puppies for most common health issues and present you medical documentation on puppies.

Plus, they will give you tips on how to groom your dog, how to keep him healthy, and what are possible difficulties you could face along the way.

They will also ask you a lot of questions to make sure that you are the best possible fit for their puppy.

Some of the common conditions that you can see in this breed include the following:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patellas (trick knee)
  • Epilepsy
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

This doesn’t mean that your Keeshond will experience any of the listed issues, but only that you should be aware of them.

The best way to keep your Keeshond healthy is to provide the best intuition possible, to provide regular exercise, and regular veterinarian check-ups.

Prevention is the key when it comes to having a healthy and strong Keeshond.

Is Keeshond For You?

Keeshond isn’t for you if you are a first time dog owner. This is the spitz-type dog only for experienced dog owners who love brushing their dogs regularly.

If you don’t want to deal with possible separation anxiety, occasional stubbornness, and potential for excessive barking you should stay away from this breed.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind heavy shedding, and you want a dog with moderate exercise need this is a breed to consider having.

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