Keeshond – Everything You Need to Know

Keeshond bears a square, sturdy build. With their physique, they are generalists and not specialists. However, their gait is unique, brisk, and bold. Keeshonds have long, straight, rough outer coats with thick undercoats. Double coats provide good insulation from cold. They are excellent therapy dogs, lovable and affectionate in disposition. This makes them people’s companions.

Keeshond Pros and Cons

Loyal and affectionateGreat barkers
Highly trainableStubborn
Excellent therapy dogsNot suitable for hot weather conditions

Keeshond Basic Information 

  • Name: Keeshond
  • Origin: Netherlands, Germany
  • Group: Non-Sporting
  • Size: Medium
  • Height: Male: 18 inches  Female: 17 inches 
  • Weight: Both male and female – 35 – 45 pounds
  • Coat: Double and long coat
  • Color: Black and silver, gray and black, gray cream and black, gray silver and black, silver and black, wolf gray and black
  • Energy: Medium to high 
  • Activities: Cross-country skiing, trotting, barge dogs, companion dogs 
  • Barking Level: Medium to high 
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 5 puppies 
  • Other Names: Wolf Spitz
  • Breed’s Original Pastimes: Skiing, therapy dogs
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years 


Keeshonds were based in Germany. They were believed to result from crossing the Pomeranian, the Chow Chow, the Norwegian Elkhound, and the Finnish Spitz. They were earlier named the German Spitz, then Wolfspitz, and now Keeshonds. 

Keeshonds were hard, nimble-footed dogs, kept as guard dogs for years. They were great companions while traveling in ships. History has a place for these Keeshonds, and they were symbols of the Dutch Patriots Party during the eighteenth century. The name might have referred to a patriot mascot dog known as Kees, and there is another historical information that says two different patriot leaders gave the nickname “Kees.”

Keeshond Highlights

  • Keeshonds are loyal, willing to listen, and kind dogs.
  • They are independent and stubborn sometimes. 
  • Keeshonds are people-oriented dogs and would like to spend time with their family.
  • They can be suitable for cold climatic conditions.
  • Keeshonds love children and get along well with children and other pet animals.
  • Keeshond can be an intense barker when bored.
  • They are easily trainable owing to their intelligence.
  • Keeshonds are excellent watchdogs, therapy dogs, and guard dogs.

Keeshonds Personality 

Keeshonds are medium-sized dogs that belong to the spitz family. They have long, double coats and are square and sturdily built. They have a typical fox face, pointed ears, and an exuberant topline with a plumed tail high on the back, similar to their cousins Pomeranian and Samoyeds. They are known for the shades and markings around their eyes. This gives the Keeshonds on the qui vive expressions.

Friendliness Overview   

Affection level High
Family-friendly High
Kid-friendly High
Pet-friendly Medium to high
Stranger -friendly Medium to high

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment living Medium to high
Good to new owners Medium to high
Sensitivity level High
Tolerates being alone Low
Cold-tolerance High
Heat-tolerance Medium

Keeshond Physical Features 

  • Head: The head of Keeshonds is wedge-shaped, medium in size, and similar to a fox. Their eyes are medium, oblique, elongated, and dark; their noses are round, small, either black or brown. Their ears are erect, triangular, and pointed.
  • Neck: Their neck has thick fur covered around like a lion’s. 
  • Topline: They bear a straight, furry topline that consists of the hind and forequarters.
  • Body: Sturdy and squarely built body with a deep chest.
  • Tail: Bushy, curled up tail.
  • Forequarters and Hindquarters: Nimble footed, Small, sleek legs covered with hair.
  • Coat: Double coat, under-coat – short and dense. Outer coat – Long and straight. 
  • Color: Black and silver, gray and black, gray cream and black, gray silver and black, silver and black, wolf gray and black
  • Gait: They bear strong muscular legs that make their gait quick and agile.

Keeshond Temperament

Keeshonds have a mixture of all the traits of a perfect family dog. They symbolize Dutch patriotism and are mediumly energetic, playful, affectionate, and adventurous dogs. They are sensitive, and dog owners should take care of handling them with perseverance and love. They are very adaptable to environments. Considering all these traits, Keeshonds make great companions for any family member. They are vigilant, and this makes them a perfect watchdog.

Keeshond Training 

Keeshonds are intelligent, quick learners, and highly trainable dogs. They can excel at obedience training, as well as agility. They have also excelled in therapy work. They love to please, so they learn and do skills quickly. They should be trained while they are 10 to 14 weeks old. Early socialization and training can make them good dogs.

Keeshonds are active chewers. Keenly watch your pets and keep great chew toys on hand to keep him occupied. In addition, Keeshonds love playing in the water. They use their paws to splash water out of their dog bowl. Finally, Keeshonds can be a digger, leaving holes in his wake as he looks for mice and moles.

Trainability Overview

Easy to train Medium to high
Intelligence Medium to high
Mouthiness tendencies Medium
Barking and Howling tendencies Medium to high
Prey drive Medium
Wanderlust tendencies Low to medium

Keeshond Exercise Needs

Keeshonds can be bred in homes with a lot of space to run or small rooms. However, they need regular exercise. Running and walking are activities that they can be happy with and get stimulated physically and mentally. However, they cannot resist being alone, and they need someone who spends some quality time.

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy level Medium to high
Exercise needs Medium
Intensity Medium
Playfulness High

Keeshond Grooming

Keeshonds require regular grooming. Pet owners would need to brush their hair once a week. This makes the undercoat brushed and makes them low shedders. Trim the hair around their feet, pads, and hocks. Pet owners can bathe and blow-dry every four to six weeks. Other grooming requirements include regular nail trimming, proper dental care, and checking ears and eyes for allergies or infections.

Grooming Overview

Easy to groom Medium
Drooling tendency Low
Amount of shedding High

Keeshond Health 

Keeshonds are generally healthy, active breeds with a life span of 12 to 15 years. However, the Keeshond Club of America recommends health tests before breeding Keeshonds. They include screening for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, examination for Patellar Luxation, Eye examination, and genetic screening for hyperparathyroidism.  

Health Overview  

Overall health Medium
Weight gain tendencies Medium to high
Size Medium

Addison’s Disease: This is a severe condition with less adrenal hormones production. Affected canines may have a poor appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. Since these signs are common, they would be mistaken for other health conditions till it reaches advanced stages. Severity is seen when the potassium levels get high and intrude with cardiac functions, which can cause severe shock and even death.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a painful, life-threatening condition caused when the bones of the rear legs don’t fit properly in the joints. Hip dysplasia is primarily hereditary, but injuries, excessive weight gain, wrong exercises can cause hip dysplasia. This condition causes defects or damage to the hip bones and joints and worsens without treatment. 

Some dogs might exhibit symptoms, while some might not. Treatment ranges from medication to replacement of the hip through surgeries. To avoid this problem, do not crossbreed with a parent who has the issue of hip dysplasia. Regular checkups are suggested. 

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs include: 

  • Reduced activity and movements 
  • Reluctance to rise, jump, run or climb 
  • Lameness in the hind limbs 
  • Reducing thigh muscle mass 
  • Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait 
  • Grating in the joint during movement 
  • Enlarging shoulders 
  • Pain 
  • Stiffness 

Elbow Dysplasia:  Elbow Dysplasia is a heritable condition commonly seen in large-breed dogs. This disease is caused due to different growth rates of the three bones that form the dog’s elbow, causing joint laxity and painful lameness. 


  • Mild to moderate pain   
  • Lameness in the forelimbs   
  • Although the symptoms begin to show as early as four months of age, some dogs will not show these signs until later in life. Further, this may involve both the elbows, but one of them may be heavily affected. 

Thyroid Dysfunction: A condition where the thyroid hormone levels are abnormal. This leads to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Mitral Valve Disease: In this condition, the weakening of their heart valves causes blood to flow back into the atrium, leading to cardiac failure. Veterinarians can detect it early, so it’s crucial to keep up with their regular examinations.

Epilepsy:  The often-inherited Idiopathic epilepsy frequently causes seizures and can occur in moderate and extreme frequencies. Unusual actions, such as desperately running as chased, stumbling, or hiding, may signify an attack. Seizures are alarming, but dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have a very favorable long-term prognosis. Seizures may be caused by various things other than idiopathic epilepsy, including metabolic conditions, respiratory diseases of the brain, cancers, toxin poisoning, and extreme head trauma.

Skin Problems: The continual scratching or licking of paws can be annoying, but don’t blame your dog for his bad behavior; the skin issue is to be blamed. Parasites, allergies, and underlying sickness are all possible reasons. The following are the symptoms of skin problems: 

  • Skin Sores 
  • Dry Skin 
  • Rashes 
  • Lumps 
  • Redness 
  • Dandruff 
  • Bumps 
  • Sunburns 
  • Hair Loss 

Heart Disease: It causes abnormal heart murmurs and heart rhythm. The best way to diagnose is through an X-ray, an ECG, or an echocardiogram. Treatment includes medication, dental care, and weight control.

Patellar Luxation:  Knee Dysplasia, also known as Patellar Luxation, is a condition that affects both the parent breeds. The dislocation of the knee cap can be excruciatingly painful, causing the dog to avoid leaning on the injured leg. 

Signs of the luxating patella in dogs: 

  • While your dog runs along, he may suddenly pick up a back leg and hop for some time.  
  • He kicks his leg sideways to get the kneecap back in position and is normal.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Many eye infections involve the retina’s slow deterioration. In the initial phases, puppies become night-blind. As it progresses, they lose their eyesight during the daytime as well. However, most canines slowly adapt to their slight or complete sight loss as long as their home surroundings remain the same.  

Cataracts: As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow gradually. Cataracts may develop at any age and often don’t damage vision, although in some cases cause vision loss. A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist certifies the breeding dogs after testing them free of hereditary eye disease before breeding. Usually, cataracts can be removed surgically with good results.   

Von Willebrand’s Disease: The most prevalent hereditary bleeding problem in dogs is Von Willebrand’s disease (VWD). It’s caused by a lack of a specific protein that helps platelets (blood cells that aid with clotting) adhere together and form clots to close damaged blood arteries. Von Willebrand factor is the name of the missing protein (VWF).  

Allergies: Keeshonds can be allergic to various substances, ranging from food to pollen. If your dog licks his paws or rubs his face a great deal, get him checked by your veterinarian. 

Health clearances from the following organizations are suggested for your Keeshonds: 

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia ,elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and Von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Auburn University for thrombopathia.
  • The Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) should certify that eyes are normal. Additionally, you can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site.

Keeshond Diet and Nutrition 

A healthy diet quantity prescribed by the vet containing high-quality dry dog food should be divided into two meals, depending on your dog’s size and age. Keeshonds relish fish-based diets that are low in carbohydrates.

Keeshond Living Condition

Keeshonds are more suitable for cold weather conditions than hot weather conditions. They are very affectionate and can make great family pets. They can live in both kinds of housing style, house with yard or apartment style of living.

Did You Know?

  • Keeshonds were earlier named the German Spitz, later changed to Wolfspitz, and finally the present name.
  • Keeshond was derived from Kees de Gyselaar, a German patriot who revolted against the House of Orange.
  • Keeshonds are known as the “Smiling Dutchman” because their curly lips and teeth show up in a scowling grim, though it is a happy grin and not snarling.
  • Keeshonds were old dog breeds that were once companions and watchdogs on the boats and barges that traveled the rivers and canals of Holland in the 17th – 18th centuries.
  • The first American Keeshond litter was bred in 1929 by Carl Hinderer.

Keeshond Club Recognition

  • (CKC) Canadian Kennel Club
  • (AKC) American Kennel Club
  • (UKC) United Kennel Club
  • (KCGB) Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • (CKC) Canadian Kennel Club
  • (ANKC) Australian National Kennel Council
  • (NKC) National Kennel Club
  • (NZKC) New Zealand Kennel Club
  • (APRI) America Pet Registry, Inc.
  • (ACR) American Canine Registry
  • (DRA) Dog Registry of America

Adding a Keeshond to Your Family 

Keeshond Rescue Groups

Cost of a Keeshond puppy

The cost of a Keeshond puppy online is $450 to $700

 To Buy a Keeshond Online

Keeshond puppy
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Keeshond Videos 

Keeshonds – Top Ten Facts

Keeshonds – Pros and Cons

What is a Keeshond?

Keeshond Images

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