First, let’s discuss the name. It’s weird, granted, and it’s both hard to pronounce and to spell. It’s said “kayz-hond,” according to Wikipedia, and if you’ve got more than one of them, it becomes the highfalutin Keeshonden. Be warned: if you own a Keeshond, you are entering the battlefield of pronunciations. Everyone says it a little differently, and most everyone will try to correct you for saying it “wrong.” Samoyed owners understand.
You’ve probably never heard of a Keeshond before, and you’re not alone, as breeders are few and far between. The Keeshond is designated as being a medium-sized dog with a luscious coat and a personality that is not easily forgotten. It’s debated as to whether the Keeshond originated in Germany or in the Netherlands, but it is generally agreed that for the most part the Keeshond was bred to be a barge watchdog for Dutch ships.
What’s the Big Deal?
Keeshonden, while admittedly not for everyone, are dogs for almost anyone. They are tremendous companion animals willing to traverse mountains, oceans, and apartment staircases for their owners. The following are five of the main reasons you should pick up a Keeshond the next time you’re in the Netherlands.
1. The Coat
Keeshonden have a two-layer coat that is of silver, tan, and black colors. Aesthetically speaking, it’s a gorgeous ruff of fur and they constantly receive compliments while out and about from other dog owners. The Keeshond coat sheds, but not horrendously, making them ideal indoor family members. However, it does require a good deal of brushing, as instead of shedding the coat will become matted with the extra hair. The nice thing about brushing out a Keeshond, despite the time it takes to do so, is that you can instantly see the results. A Keeshond’s coat, when well-maintained, is undeniably magnificent.
2. The Intelligence
Keeshonden rank 16th in Stanley Coren’s published book The Intelligence of Dogs. They are quite intelligent and are apt to do well in agility and obedience trials. Potty training a Keeshond is infinitely easier than potty training a less intelligent dog, as they are quick to understand what you need and are even quicker in wanting to do what you desire them to do. They do well with tricks and it takes barely any repetition and not too many treats to convince them that they should sit, shake, lay down, speak, or roll over.
3. The Health
Keeshonden are not known for having any dramatically detrimental health problems. The breeding line, because they are relatively uncommon in the United States, has remained reasonably pure and genetic issues stemming from puppy mills and other unethical breeding practices have not generally caused havoc with the breed.
4. The Size
Whether you’re in an apartment or a home with five acres, the Keeshond is the happy middling ground for dog sizes. Keeshonden are usually around 40 pounds at maximum growth, and a lot of that is their opulent coat. They fit snugly onto laps and couches, but they are big enough to go camping, climbing, or running with outdoor enthusiasts.
5. The Personality
Once you’ve met a Keeshond, you can never quite go back. They are playful, loving, ambitious, smart, and generally just happy. They have been nicknamed “the smiling dog” because, most often, their faces are cracked open in huge, panting, doggy smiles. It’s difficult to dampen a Keeshond’s spirits and they are most pleased when they can be cuddled up with their humans or- even better- playing with them.
No Turning Back
Keeshonden are uncommon dogs and it’s surprising that that has remained the case. They are a lovely breed that has innumerable shining qualities making them wonderful family companions that stick around for a long time. If you have a chance, visit someone with a Keeshond- you might find yourself falling in love sooner than you realized.