Keeshond illustration
Utility

Keeshond

The traditional barge guard dog of the Netherlands

Breed characteristics

Size
Medium
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Small house
Grooming
Every day
Coat length
Medium
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 10 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Small/ medium garden

About this breed

This spitz breed with its distinctive grey coat and typical harness markings, was used as a watchdog on barges in Holland and which, when the breed was first introduced to the UK, earned it the epithet “Dutch Barge Dog”. The breed had been the mascot of the Dutch Patriots' Party in the 18th Century, as a dog of this breed was owned by one of the prominent party leaders Cornelius (‘Kees’) de Gyselaer – hence it was known as Kees' dog – or Keeshond. When the party was defeated in 1787, the breed went out of fashion and the population declined dramatically.

A few breeders made concerted efforts using the best of the remaining dogs to revive the breed and, fortunately, interest in the breed was restored. The first Keeshonds were imported to the UK in 1905 and the first breed club formed in 1925. The breed became very popular and successful in shows of this era. The enthusiasm of English breeders rekindled more interest in the Keeshond in its native land and by 1933 the breed was recognised by the Dutch Kennel Club.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Utility breed group

This group consists of miscellaneous breeds of dog mainly of a non-sporting origin, including the Bulldog, Dalmatian, Akita and Poodle. The name ‘Utility’ essentially means fitness for a purpose and this group consists of an extremely mixed and varied bunch, most breeds having been selectively bred to perform a specific function not included in the sporting and working categories. Some of the breeds listed in the group are the oldest documented breeds of dog in the world.

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Grey
  • Silver Grey
  • Silver Grey & Black

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

To contact your breed health co-ordinator please email 

Keeshond health matters

 

Breed watch

Category 2

Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard including current issues. In some breeds, features may be listed which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future.

Read more

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding
All imported Keeshonds, or overseas dogs being used in a UK breeding programme (including artificial insemination), must be DNA tested for primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) before registration of their progeny is accepted. Similarly, any litters produced from artificial insemination must be tested prior to registration – to avoid wasting of semen samples from deceased dogs and possible loss of useful genes.

Looking for a puppy?

Looking for a Keeshond? Explore our list of puppies and rescue dogs for sale near you.

More information

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