Breed Information and Finding the Right Breeder for You

About the Keeshond

The Keeshond is a very old breed, and one of the very few which throughout history have always been raised for family companions and watchdogs. The fact that they have not been bred to hunt, kill animals, attack or chase criminals undoubtedly accounts for their gentle, intelligent devotion to their owners as home-loving dogs with a special fondness for children, for which they are renowned. 

The are descendants of the same prehistoric ancestry from which evolved among others, the much larger Samoyeds, Huskies, Norwegian Elkhounds and tiny Pomeranians, and apparently came into Europe with ancient voyagers from the North, a great many centuries ago. 

In the 17th and 18th centuries, they were extensively used as watchdogs on river boats, farms, and barges and were known in Germany as "Wolfspitzen"; in France as "Chiens Loup"; in Italy as "Lupini"; and in Holland as "Keeshonden" - pronounced "kayz-hawnden," being the Dutch plural. Because of their great popularity and historically political prominence in Holland in the 18th Century, the breed has become known as the "Dutch" Keeshond. 

Now in the 21st century Keeshonden have again proved their adaptability by becoming one of the leading breeds recommended for those seeking a lifelong companion and for those with children. In addition Keeshonden are well known as excellent therapy dogs and have served well with autistic children. The rescue workers at the site of 9/11 were visited by Keeshond therapy dogs with many saying it was the first time they saw them smile.

The breed is also proud of it’s accomplishment in obedience, rally and agility competition. MACH17 Molly, was for several years one of the most AKC titled agility dogs. Owned and shown by Maureen Waldron she inspired many Keeshond owners to compete with their dogs in the sport of agility. And, Bonnie Burman with her Keeshond, Rex, CH OTCH Klassic's Keeping it Up UDX15, OM1, AX, AXJ, NAP, NJP made the Keeshond mark in Obedience in 2005 by earning Number 1 Non Sporting dog and Number 17 All-Breeds.

No matter what your interest your Keeshond has the willingness and intelligence to take you to the top. And, if you just want someone to hang out with and welcome you home, well he’s up for that too.


What About Grooming?

Keeshonden have a double coat. This is made of up of soft undercoat separated by coarser guard hairs. About 30 minutes a week with a spray bottle and pin brush will keep your Keeshond looking top notch. Bathing can be done every six weeks to eight weeks. The Keeshond coat does not have a doggy smell and if your dog is kept clean it will be a very pleasant indoor companion. As with all dogs regular nail trimming is recommended.

What about training?

As we have discussed Keeshonden are very intelligent and thus require training as puppies. We recommend a kindergarten puppy training class for all puppies between 9 to twelve weeks of age. These classes teach basic commands, come, sit, stay and down and will also socialize your puppy to behave when in the presence of other dogs. Taking advanced classes will help perfect your dog’s behavior. Left to their own devices Keeshonden can train themselves, but not always in the things that you would prefer! It is best to give them training and guidance from puppyhood.

Who Should Own a Keeshond?

Anyone who does not want a dog as part of the family should not own a Keeshond. Keeshonden will not thrive tied in the back yard or left without companionship day after day. They want and expect to be part of your life, if you work that is okay, they will adjust their schedule to yours and be waiting for your when you come home. 


Choosing a reputable source for your puppy is critical to your objective. Because it is almost impossible for you, the buyer, to know what any puppy will grow into physically and emotionally, you must entirely rely on your faith in the person from whom you are purchasing your puppy. There are three options open to you in choosing this person: 

Pet Shop or Dealer - The worst possible choice.

These pups may be poorly bred and poorly raised. They are usually thought of as merchandise – like a loaf of bread - to be sold for a high profit. This high profit is possible because little has been put into the breeding and care of these pups. Many may be sickly. Pet shops rely heavily on impulse buying, which is no way to choose an addition to the family. 

Backyard Breeder on Internet Puppy Farm - Also a poor choice.

This is the person who owns a pet Keeshond and thinks it would be "fun" to have puppies, or maybe that it would be a great experience for the kids. Even worse, perhaps it's being done to make money. Frequently this breeder knows little about the breed history or the accepted breed standard and knows even less about grooming and care.

Backyard breeders and internet puppy farms almost never x-ray hips or evaluate patellae.

They are usually not aware of breed problems and often do not care. Their goal is to produce pups and to sell them quickly. 

Hobby Breeder - The best choice.

The serious and dedicated hobby breeder regards his or her dogs as just that - a hobby. She/He does not expect a profit. When someone breeds dogs for the enjoyment, pleasure and "thrill" of producing the very finest possible specimens of the breed, rather than for profit, the result is superior quality. These breeders acknowledge responsibility for each puppy produced and stand behind every dog they breed. 

Unequivocally, your choice should be from the ranks of the hobby breeder. It is an interesting fact that poor quality pups from pet shops and backyard breeders are usually sold for the same or similar price, and sometimes even more, than quality pups purchased from serious hobby breeders. All three types of breeders may sell puppies that are AKC registerable, but some will also offer other “paper registries” registration is neither an assurance of quality nor an indication of dedication to the breed. The question is, how does one recognize the serious, dedicated hobby breeder? While the list below identifies many of the attributes and characteristics of the serious hobby breeder, almost no breeder will have all of these. Do not be afraid to ask questions or to confront a prospective source with these requirements. It is your right and you can rest assured that a dedicated and reputable breeder will respond positively and with pride. If your breeder meets all of these qualifications, you're in good hands. 

How Do I Find A Breeder?

If you want a quality puppy with parents who have been health tested you will need to locate a hobby breeder. These breeders have studied the breed for years and can be your guide to all your questions about raising and training your puppy. You can locate a Keeshond breeder by going on the website of the Keeshond Club of America at

This is a hobby and breeders certainly don’t expect to live off the income from their dogs. However, breeders want to place their puppies in good homes and you should expect professionalism on their part

Expect to be interviewed, Expect a contract, Expect to receive paperwork, Expect a wait, Expect courtesy and respect. Expect a pedigree and Expect OFA hip numbers on sire and dam when you ask. These can be verified on the OFA website under Keeshond at



The first Keeshond was registered with The American Kennel Club in 1930 under "Keeshonden," in the Non-Sporting Group and The Keeshond Club of America, as it was later named, was organized in 1935. 

The breed progressed slowly but steadily in the U.S. until after the end of World War II. Since then, it was gone ahead by leaps and bounds as the exceptional qualities of these sensible, all-around family dogs have become more generally known and acclaimed by pet owners, breeders, bench show exhibitors and those who compete in rally, obedience and agility competitions.

Today, the Keeshond Club of America has over 500 members throughout the United states that are devoted to the care, training, breeding, showing and preservation of this special breed.


In addition to individual members KCA also has regional clubs that welcome Keeshond owners at every level of interest. Clubs can be affiliated meaning that they can host regional specialty shows or non-affiliated, these clubs can support local shows. All clubs can host fun matches where local Keeshond owners get together with their adult dogs and puppies to learn about grooming and training, and have a good time.

Regional clubs can be located on the KCA website at These clubs can be found throughout the USA including, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania,

Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Illinois, Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, Kentucky, and Florida,