Keeshond Breed Information and Buying advice


Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Keeshond?

Quick Keeshond Facts

Average Size of Adult
Medium (3/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Utility (6/8)
No (2/2)

Why Keeshonds are great

Keeshonds are loving and loyal companions; they are frequently known as the ‘Smiling Dutchman’ because of their Dutch roots and their merry expression and demeanour. The Keeshond not only has exquisite looks but a loving personality and charming demeanour. The Keeshond is a Spitz-type breed that boasts an impressive thick coat, protecting them from the elements. The Keeshond is a popular breed and is favoured by many as a family pet and companion as they are people orientated and always eager to please. Keeshonds are natural watchdogs and alert in nature, retaining their historical guard dog instincts. These little dogs have taken the hearts of many with their affectionate personalities and adorable looks. Some highlights:
  1. The Keeshond is a loyal and loving companion, forming strong relationships with their families.
  2. Keeshonds are natural watchdogs and intelligent, fast learners.
  3. Keeshonds are generally great with children of all ages.
  4. Keeshonds are highly adaptable and independent by nature.

Things to consider when looking at Keeshonds for Sale

Some downsides to the Keeshond:
  1. Keeshonds boast a beautiful coat but require regular grooming to maintain it.
  2. Keeshonds are known to be vocal and may bark often when confronted by strangers.
  3. Keeshonds shed twice a year, the shedding period may last for three weeks.

History of Keeshonds

The Keeshond is thought to have originally been developed in the Arctic, like many other Spitz dogs of its type. There is much speculation as to how to breed was introduced, with tales of shipwrecked Viking boats on the coast of Holland in which a dog was rescued from the incident by a fisherman. The Keeshond breed has a fascinating and rich history; originally developed in Holland, they were crossed with German Spitz-type dogs and bred to guard canal boats, earning the name of the Dutch Barge Dog. In the 17th and 18th century, the Keeshond was a watchdog and companion on small boats on the Rhine, called rijnaken. During this time, the Keeshond became immensely popular in Holland. However, Holland endured a period of political unrest and the country became divided into two parties, namely the Prince of Orange and the opposing Dutch Patriots, lead by Cornelius de Gyselaar. Gyselaar has a Spitz-type dog named Kees who was his loyal companion, and subsequently, the Keeshond became a symbol of the rebel party, enjoying great popularity amongst working-class people. However, the popularity of the Keeshond was diminished when the rebel party was overthrown by the Prince of Orange, many people did not want to be associated with the breed and the Keeshond faced near extinction. During World War II, the Germans found that Keeshonds were being used by the resistance to carry messages, which meant that sadly many dogs were destroyed. However, in 1920 the actions of Baroness von Hardenbroek saved the breed from vanishing altogether when she established a breeding programme. The Keeshond was registered with The Kennel Club as the Dutch Barge Dog, was introduced to the show ring in 1923 and the rest is history.  


How big is the Keeshond?

The Keeshond is usually between 40 and 46cm in height.  

How heavy is a Keeshond?

Keeshonds usually weigh between 14 and 20kg.  

What Colour is the Keeshond?

The Keeshond is a mix of black, grey and white in colour.  


Do Keeshonds make good guard dogs?

Keeshonds are excellent guard dogs, although the breed is not aggressive they will happily bark to alert their owners of strangers or unknown activity.  

Do Keeshonds bark a lot? 

Keeshonds are known to be rather vocal and may tend to often bark.  

Are Keeshonds easy to train? 

Keeshonds are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train in the right hands.  

Are Keeshonds playful?

The Keeshond is an active dog who loves human attention and is playful in nature, they love to share their joy with their owners and are always happy to join in with family activities where possible.  

Are Keeshonds good with children?

Keeshonds are generally great with children of all ages, however, children should always be supervised around dogs.  

Are Keeshonds good with other pets?

Keeshonds are friendly and amenable and will get on well with other pets if socialised at a young age.  

Can I leave a Keeshond Alone?

Keeshonds are companion dogs and thrive from human attention, however, they are quite independent in nature and are happy to be left on their own, providing they are never left too long. Keeshonds are not known to suffer from separation anxiety.  

Do Keeshonds like water?

Keeshonds love to swim and will take to the water with great enthusiasm, especially in hot weather due to their thick coats. Keeshonds are small-medium sized dogs and care should be taken around water so that they don’t leap into deep water that they can’t get out of without assistance.  


How long do Keeshonds live?

Keeshonds have a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years and are generally healthy dogs.  

How much exercise does a Keeshond need?

Keeshonds are active dogs and happy to join in with any outdoor activities, however, they don’t require a huge amount of exercise. 40 minutes of exercise each day as a minimum should be enough to keep them happy and healthy. A short walk on a morning followed by a longer, more interesting and stimulating walk on an afternoon or evening will suffice. Keeshonds are intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation and dislike being bored.  

What are Keeshonds Common health issues?

 Like many breeds, Keeshonds are known to suffer from a few hereditary issues that are worth considering, including Hip Dysplasia, PHPT, Luxating Patella and Epilepsy. Medical certificates and DNA tests should be available to be requested upon adoption.  


How much space do I need for a Keeshond?

Keeshonds are not large dogs and don’t require a great deal of space, providing they are walked every day. A small garden would be beneficial for a Keeshond but is not essential.  

What should I feed my Keeshond?

Keeshond puppies require a nutritious diet in order to mature into healthy adult dogs, a reputable breeder will provide you with a feeding schedule which should be adhered to. As a guide, an adult Keeshond weighing 15kg should be fed 167g to 249g each day depending on the amount of exercise.  

How much grooming do Keeshonds need? 

Keeshonds are not high-maintenance dogs but do require a reasonable amount of grooming to keep their thick coats healthy. A brush twice a week is fine along with a few trips to the dog groomers each year to keep on top of things.  

Do Keeshonds shed?

 Keeshonds are known to shed their coats twice a year and the shedding may last up to three weeks, regular grooming should assist the shedding and help remove dead hair.  

Average costs  

How much does it cost to keep a Keeshond?

As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £700 - £1000 for a well-bred Keeshond puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £60 - £80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Keeshond Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Keeshond puppy buying advice:
  1. Keeshond puppies can sometimes be hard to find in the UK and subsequently, this is reflected in their cost. Be aware of potential scammers and always make sure that you buy your Keeshond puppy from a reputable breeder who puts the welfare of the puppy and dam first. Always request to see the dam and ask for relevant paperwork and lineage.

Other reading, Adopting Keeshond Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: