A medium sized Keeshond
Keeshond Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)17-19in (43-48cm)
Weight50-60lbs (23-27kg)
Hair Colour(s)Grey
Lifespan12-15 years
Energy LevelHigh
Litter size3-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirements
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Keeshond is a sturdy medium-sized dog. The square body is short and compact with a curled, medium-length tail. The fox-like head has a pointed muzzle, erect triangular ears and oblique brown eyes with markings around the sockets resembling spectacles. The double coat is thick, straight and long with a ruff of hair around the neck, and the colouring tends to be grey with black and cream.


Keeshonds are good natured and affectionate dogs that thrive on attention. They can sometimes be quite demanding, and without due attention and affection they can become bored, which can lead to excessive barking. Spirited and happy, one of their common traits is to spin in circles when delighted. Although they can have willful and independent streaks, these dogs are eager, intelligent and quick to learn obedience commands, and so are suitable for both novice and experienced dog owners. Early socialisation is sometimes required with this breed to reduce the risk of increased timidity, and they are also known as the Smiling Dutchman because of the way they bare their teeth in a cheerful, grinning fashion. Keeshonds are sociable creatures and will get along well with children, other pets and also with strangers mostly. They have incredible hearing and make effective watchdogs and will bark to raise the alarm, but are usually too friendly to be guard dogs.

History & Skills

Keeshonds originate from the Netherlands, where they were bred as early as the 1700s as watchdogs on canal boats. Once called the Dutch Barge Dog, their current name comes from the leader of the Dutch Patriots, Kees de Gyselaer. These dogs became the symbol of the common and middle-class Dutchman during the French Revolution, and went on to become the national dog of Holland.

Breed Specific Ailments

Keeshonds tend to live between 12-15 years, and some of the health problems that have been linked to this breed includes diabetes, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders, cataracts, luxating patella, hip dysplasia, MVD, vWD, heart disease, and seizures. These dogs can be prone to skin problems thanks to their heavy coat, and have a tendency to gain weight easily.


Keeshonds are high shedders and also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, and so are not suitable for those suffering from allergies. Their grooming requirements are pretty high too, and the coat will need brushing daily or for a couple of hours each week to prevent matting, which could lead to infections from a lack of air circulation over the skin. They can be bathed when required as a precaution against ticks, fleas and other potential skin problems, but they should only be clipped when absolutely necessary (such as for surgery). This is because they are prone to post-clipping alopecia, where hair in a clipped area falls out completely. This results in a bald spot until the hair eventually grows back.

Exercise & Environment

Keeshonds tend to live indoors and are suitable for small homes, such as apartments, as long as they have access to a yard or garden. Although active while indoors, they will need a long daily run plus outside play. They prefer cooler climates due to their thick coats.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

Coming soon!

Owners Gallery

Pretty empy right now. If you would like to see you dog here please email a photo to BFD Photos along with your name, your dog's name & age, breed and rough location (please keep image file sizes reasonable!).