Keeshond (Pronunciation caze-hawnd or case-hawnd) is often referred to as the Dutch Barge Dog. A barge is a large vessel that is somewhere between a tug boat and a freighter. Keeshond dogs were often kept on such boats to keep the rodent population at bay. Let us study some details about the Keeshond (plural case-hawnden).
Cool facts about the Keeshond
- During an 18th century political dispute, a spitz-like dog had the misfortune of becoming the mascot for the losing side in a rebellion against the Dutch King. Some experts believe that the breed may have even gotten its name from Cornelius Kees de Gyzelaer; the rebel leader. As a result, Keeshonds became rather unfashionable after the defeat. Today, however, although they may not be recognized as purebred, they are very popular in Holland.
- The Keeshond is considered the National dog of the Dutch people. Since the Dutch never took up hunting, neither did the Keeshond. The breed has never exhibited a willingness to hunt and perhaps that is the reason why it gets along well with other household pets. Although they were not used for hunting, these dogs enjoyed outdoor activities.
- Arctic and sub-arctic sled dogs may be the ancestors of the breed.
- In the early days, the Dutch Barge dogs flourished only in the Netherlands and were restricted to the country until the 1920s. However, when their cute looks caught the eye of dog fanciers at the International Kennel Club shows, their popularity soared. The name Keeshond became officially recognized after the 1920s and the Keeshond Club of America was formed in 1930.
- The Keeshond’s beautiful ruff is reminiscent of the clothing worn by British people during the Elizabethan era. This could be the reason behind the breed’s popularity in Britain.
- The Keeshond is at home on land and water, having worked as a rat exterminator on barges.
- Keeshond size: These medium-sized dogs weigh about 50-65 lb and their height is between 16-19 inches.
- They have a stocky build and a glorious coat.
- Colors – Gray, black, and cream
- Keeshonden are affectionate, friendly, outgoing, and intelligent dogs. Compared to many spitz-type dogs such as the Samoyeds, Keeshonden are much more stable, mellow, and calmer temperament-wise.
- They do well in a family home with a large back yard. Keeshonden also fit in with single owners. After all; they are emotional dogs that tend to become upset by too much noise or arguments.
- Of course, as with any breed, these dogs need to be socialized with other dogs and children so that their natural caution does not turn into aggression or paranoia.
- Keeshonden can become hair-trigger barkers if not trained.
- They make good watch-dogs; no stranger can creep up on you when there is a Keeshond around.
- On the downside, these dogs need plenty of affection and constant human company. They are prone to separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time.
- These cheerful, lively dogs love their family members.
- They get along well with cats.
Where to find a Keeshond
‘What is the number one characteristic you breed for?’ This is a question you should ask each Keeshond breeder you visit and select only that breeder who answers ‘good temperament’.
Finding good Keeshond breeders is the key to finding a healthy, happy Keeshond puppy with a good temperament. You can visit the website of the Keeshond Club of America to find registered breeders dedicated to the welfare of this breed.
Once you speak to several breeders, you will gain an insight into who is responsible and ethical. Shortlist several breeders and visit their kennels. If possible, ask to meet the dam of your potential pet. The decision to get a Keeshond is a big commitment so make sure you know what you are getting into. Good breeders would also want to know about your household and your experience with dogs. So be prepared to answer several questions in turn.
Once a litter is available, you must visit again. Select a puppy that is curious, alert, and appears healthy and well-fed. Your breeder will be forthcoming in showing the puppy’s medical records, genetic tests, pedigree records, and records about early vaccination and de-worming.
Training a Keeshond
This intelligent dog breed is fairly easy to train. Begin training your Keeshond as soon as he comes home. After all; there is a huge difference between training a puppy and training an adult dog. With a puppy, everything is new and he is willing to absorb like a sponge. Start with housetraining and crate training.
- The timing of the training is crucial. Show your puppy where to void. If you have a yard, that is a good place. Otherwise, you can use newspapers for housetraining. Pick up and dispose of soiled newspapers right away and replace them with fresh ones. You can place a few soiled newspapers over the fresh ones for the scent.
- Get your Keeshond puppy used to a crate. A crate provides a comfortable den-like atmosphere that young dogs love. For the first few days, provide your puppy with its mother’s scent. You can have the dam roll around on an old rug or t-shirt when you go to pick up your pet. Place this rug/t-shirt in your puppy’s crate. This way, he will be comfortable at night. Most new puppies cry at night. Do not worry: this will pass. Check out my guide on what to do when your puppy cries all night long.
- As your pet grows, teach him basic commands like come, heel, stay, etc. Say each command once and when your dog obeys, give him a treat. Never shout, hit, or punish your pet. This will only make him timid or aggressive. Always use positive, reward-based training methods.
If you come home to find your favorite chair in threads, it means that you need to re-evaluate your young Keeshond’s exercise patterns. Consider finding the time to exercise your pet twice a day for at least 30-45 minutes. If not, consider the services of a dog-walker. This is an active dog that will enjoy a romp around the yard or a good game of fetch with the kids as well.
Grooming a Keeshond
Your pet needs daily combing and brushing especially in the spring and fall months when his hair comes out in bulk. Invest in a pair of nail clippers to clip his nails regularly, or considering asking a vet or groomer to do so. You can also cut the hair that grows between the paws. Clean and brush your dog’s teeth daily to maintain oral hygiene.
These generally healthy dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, eye issues, and heart defects. They are also at risk of Von Willebrand’s Disease, which decreases certain glycoprotein in the blood. This glycoprotein is responsible for platelet adhesion.
Keeshonds have an average lifespan of 13-14 years.