Keeshond Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
Known as the Dutch Barge Dog, the Keeshond is every inch a Spitz with his dense grey and black coat standing off his dense undercoat. His heavy mane and well-feathered tail exaggerate the shortness of his body to give him an extremely compact appearance. They are very popular in the Netherlands though this was not always the case. They get their name from Cornelius (known as ‘Kees’) Gysalaer who led the Dutch Patriot Party Revolution against the House of Orange in the late 18th century; the Keeshond became so closely associated with anti-Royalist unrest that when popular feeling turned against the Patriot Party the Keeshond fell into disfavour along with them and they were rarely seen in the towns.
However, the Keeshond’s virtues as a guard and ratter meant that he was appreciated by farmers and the bargees in their constant travels on the network of waterways; this is the origin of his name as Barge Dog. However, the breed fell into decline as a pure-bred dog and it was not revived until in 1920 Baroness von Hardenbroek searched out the best examples of the breed she could and worked on a breeding programme to restore the fortunes of the Keeshond.
The Keeshond is a bold and alert dog who retains his guarding instincts and needs to learn his place in the family hierarchy. At most he is 18″ tall and weighs up to 30kg, so is a very solid dog. The coat needs a fair level of care if he is to look typical, though it is not excessively difficult to care for. As would be expected from a dog who earned his living outdoors he is pretty well weatherproof and thoroughly enjoys his exercise. So long as he knows his place he makes an excellent companion and all round family dog.
We would have liked to bring you more European kennels as they do breed some outstanding Spitz dogs.
Unfortunately there is a tendency to group everything from a Pomeranian upwards together (including some of the sled dogs) and I couldn’t really track down any kennels that were specifically Keeshond or Keeshond and one other breed. Any suggestions would be welcome.
Rescue and Rehoming
If you need to rehome your own dog, first contact the breeder to see what support she can offer. If that doesn’t resolve your problem then contact a designated Rescue organisation (if one exists) or a Breed Club.