The Keeshond (pronounded KAYZ-hawnd) has an arctic origin and has Samoyed, Chow Chow, Finnish Spitz, Norweigian Elkhound and Pomeranian blood in its veins. However, the breed was developed from spitz-type dogs in Holland and was first introduced to northern Holland after Viking invasions. The spitz-type dogs held a special place in the hearts of the Dutch. The seal of the city of Amsterdam shows an ancient vessel with a spitz-type dog watching over the side. Throughout history, the Dutch carried dogs on board their boats and barges, and for years they were known as the “Dutch Barge Dog.”
The Keeshond was named after an 18th Century Dutch patriot of the patriotten (rebel) party in Holland named Cornelius De Gyselaer whose nickname was Kees. His little dog became the mascot of De Gyselaer’s party, and his followers were derisively referred to as Keezen by the opposing party. The Keeshond became a symbol of the rebel party, and the breed became popular among the ordinary people.
The Keeshond is first and foremost a devoted friend to their family. They were bred more as a companion than a hunter or watchdog. The Keeshond is full of personality and loves to share their enthusiasm with everyone, often spinning in circles. Affectionate, cheerful, even-tempered, and friendly, they enjoy being part of a family and love adults and children alike. They are very intelligent and train easily. The Keeshond is a bit more mellow and easy to live with than other spitz-type canines.
The Keeshond usually weighs between 50 to 65 pounds and stands approximately 16 to 19 inches tall. They are a medium-sized dog with a stocky build. The Keeshond’s thick double coat is usually gray and black.
Other names the Keeshond goes by are: The Laughing Dutchman, Wolfspitz, Chien Loup, Gernam Wolfspitz, Kees.