Life span: 12-15 Years
Height: 16 – 18 inches
Weight: 30 – 40 lbs.
The Keeshond is a breed of medium size that originated in Germany and the Netherlands. Noted for its foxlike appearance, the Keeshond has a double coat of fur with a tail that curls over its backside. This double coat is usually colored with shades of black and white, and notes of brown. The playful and obedient nature of the Keeshond makes it perfect for those with children.
This breed considers itself a part of the family, and therefore likes to be treated as such. It enjoys spending time with its family and will become anxious if left alone for long. They are extremely loud, which makes them good watchdogs, but very loving with children.
Their ears are small and stand erect, their tail is medium length and curls over their back. The eyes are brown with a black nose. Their double coat is made up of a long overcoat that is soft to the touch, and a dense undercoat. Coat colors include black, grey, light grey, brown, light brown, and white.
During the 18th century, this breed’s popularity led it to earning the “dog of the people” nickname. When the French Revolution came around, they were used as the symbol for the Dutch Patriot political party. It was led by Kees de Gyselaer and his dog, Kees. The breed’s current name surged from the mix between Kees and hound, although it changed a bit throughout the years. When the rebel party lost, this breed lost its popularity, and many were killed off. However, Mrs Wingfield-Digby brought the breed into the United Kingdom, where its popularity began growing again. In 1920, it was brought into the United States and its popularity grew even more, especially as a guard dog. In 1930 it was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
These sweet dogs are loving with all their family members, including children. They enjoy spending time with their family and will become anxious if left outside of the house or alone for too long. They are not quiet dogs and will not hesitate to bark if they sense someone within their territory, if not taught to control their barks they will bark excessively. However, this also makes them good watchdogs. They also need to be exercised daily, if not, they will spin around in circles and become extremely loud. When training them be firm but kind.
This breed may suffer from many diseases or conditions, including:
- Addison’s Disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, which causes a lack of adrenal hormones and can be confused for other diseases. It can be noticed through lethargy, vomiting, lack of appetite, or high levels of potassium, which may lead the dog into a shock and, unfortunately, death.
- Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.
- Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
- Diabetes Mellitus, in which the dog will attempt to eat more food to replace the glucose missing from its cells due to the lack of regulation of blood sugar levels. The dog will lose weight instead of gaining. Symptoms include increased appetite, weight loss, excessive urination, etc.
- Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.
- Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
- Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
- Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease, which is a blood disease that affects the clotting process, its symptoms can be nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from surgery, occasional blood in stools, etc.
They need to be brushed once a week and have their hair trimmed. If going to a dog show, they are usually bathed a few days before. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections and their teeth brushed. Although they do need daily exercise, a walk or a free run inside a fenced area should suffice. Training can be relatively easy given the fact that they are extremely smart and like to please their owners. They do get bored easily, so sessions should be kept short and fun, but they learn fast. Early socialization is a must with this breed.