Breed Spotlight-Keeshond

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Many people recognize the Keeshond by the long, fluffy silver coat.  But what is really under all that fur?

The Keeshond originated in Holland and became more widely known in the late 18th century during a national political takeover.  Prior to the takeover, the breed served as a barge dog on vessels called rijnaken on the Rhine River.

The Keeshond belongs to the non-sporting group and was first recognized by the AKC in 1930.  Close cousins to the Keeshond include the Chow Chow, Samoyed, Pomeranian, Finnish Spitz, and the Norwegian Elkhound (a shorter coated breed than the Keeshond).  Considered a medium breed, the Keeshond weighs in at 30-40 pounds and stands 17-18 inches.

Keeshonden require regular grooming of their double coat to keep is tangle free.  Brushing or combing several times a week is recommended.  The fur is a mix of gray, black and cream with darker lines on the face and short, triangle ears, giving the breed a fox-like appearance.  A popular characteristic of the Keeshond is the fluffy, plumed tail arching over the back.

The affectionate and outgoing personality of the Keeshond makes the breed a good companion dog, which is its primary role today.  They are very playful and good with children.  They are also fast learners, and will pick up good and bad habits quickly.  They are active and require regular daily exercise.


Another role of the Keeshond is that of comfort dog.  After 9/11, a Keeshond named Tikva was at Ground Zero to help comfort the rescue workers.

Due to the double coat and long fur, Keeshonden are more prone to heat related illness.  Other health problems common in Keeshonden are hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, skin issues (especially if fur becomes matted near the skin), hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and epilepsy.  The average life span of this breed is 12-15 years.

For more information on the Keeshond, visit

Suburban Animal Clinic is located in West Columbus off I-70 near I-270. Suburban Animal Clinic serves Galloway, Hilltop, West Side, Georgesville, West Jefferson, Grove CityGrandviewUpper Arlington (including OSU Campus area), Hilliard and Dublin.