What is a Keeshond? ~ “The Smiling Dutchman”

The Smiling Dutchman ... err, The Smiling Dutchchild (Clancy as a puppy)

The Smiling Dutchman … err, The Smiling Dutchchild
(Clancy as a puppy)

Keeshonden are happy dogs! They often have a huge happy smile on their face, which is why they are nicknamed

Keeshonden are happy dogs! They often have a huge happy smile on their face, which is why they are nicknamed “The Smiling Dutchman” (since their heritage is known as Dutch!)

Look for new Kees FUN FACTS added periodically below!

Before getting a Keeshond (or any type of dog for that matter), please do your research to see if you and the dog you are considering would be a good match! Dogs are a lot of responsibility and are not going to be perfect, not even Clancy! 😉 They bark (and yes, the Keeshond has quite the watchdog instinct in them that can lead to them alarming you of whatever they think you should know about… someone at the door, a cat on the kitchen counter, a deer walking behind the fence, a neighbor talking in their driveway, etc. etc.) They need exercise (due to the heavy coat, a Keeshond needs to be exercised either in the early morning or late evening during the summer… or you could cheat like I do and buy them a dog treadmill to exercise indoors in the air-conditioning!) They need to be entertained (these are intelligent dogs and they do get bored easily… if you don’t entertain them, they will find entertainment themselves… like jumping up to grab your purse off the table “to clean it out for you”… or jumping on the couch to reach that box of tissues to shred, etc. etc.) I have a lot more information, advice and opinions on the Keeshond to share with you as time allows. As you may be able to tell, I’m busier than a working soccer mom with Clancy!

7/29/13 Fun Fact: The Keeshond is one of the most mispronounced breeds of dogs! It is supposed to be pronounced as “KAYZ-HAWND” or “KASE-HAWND”, not “kees-hound”, not “kee-shond” or the other ones you’ll see below. However, if you say one of the latter, Clancy and I will still high-five you for recognizing the breed!

Okay, fess up… how have you been pronouncing “Keeshond”? To be honest, I pronounced it wrong all the way up until I started researching the breed when I was considering getting one!

7/30/13 Fun Fact: Some nicknames for the Keeshond include: “The Smiling Dutchman” … “Dutch Barge Dog” … “Velcro Dog” … “Overweight Pomeranian” … “Kees” (okay, this one we actually say it how it looks – “Keys”) …
… They have also been known as “German Spitz” and/or “Wolf Spitz” and are just a part of the Spitz family. …

How did the Keeshond get these nick names? What is your favorite nick name for the breed and why?

8/14/13 Fun Fact: What could be cuter than a Keeshond? Keeshonden! What are “Keeshonden”? It is the plural form of the word “Keeshond”. Oddly enough, if you are speaking of more than one Keeshond, the proper term would be to speak of Keeshonden, not “Keeshonds”.

12/10/13 Fun Fact:  The Keeshond were bred to be watchdogs and companions on barge ships in Holland…  hence why they were also called “Dutch Barge Dogs”, but isn’t Keeshond (the proper pronunciation) much more elegant for this elegant breed?  The Kees lost their job long ago, but not their watch dog instincts!  They are always on duty, quick to sound the alarm anytime they think something is on their property or is out of the ordinary.

12/23/13 Fun Fact:  The Keeshond is also know as a “Velcro Dog” because they are so attached to people.  They ALWAYS want to be with you and want to know what you’re up to.  They follow you from room to room and just want to be close to their loved ones.  That’s a large part of the reason that a Keeshond must be considered part of the family and are not suited to be “outside dogs”.  They are independent and as long as you train them to overcome separation anxiety when you first get them, they are fine in that regard.  Don’t expect privacy from your dog if you have a Kees!  I recently taught Clancy how to open doors, which he is thrilled about because he can now access me from behind closed doors…  so, beware if you are a guest in my house and want to use the bathroom!

2/28/14 Fun Fact:  Known as the “Dutch Barge Dog”, Keeshonden were (and are) quick to sound off whenever they feel like their property is being intruded upon.  Clancy takes his watch dog heritage very seriously.  When (he feels it’s) necessary, he will lower his bark and even “whoooooo whooooo whoooooo” (an ecstatic super fast bark blend) to alert us and to warn off the “intruder”.

4/6/14 Fun Fact:   One of the most distinctive physical traits of the Keeshond are their “spectacles”…  the black horizontal lines beginning from the Keeshond’s eyes that extend to the side of their face.  Clancy’s are a little difficult to see because his face is so dark, but are prominent in the proper lighting.  His dark face does make his googles pop though!

The dark horizontal lines that begin from the corner of the eyes are called

The dark horizontal lines that begin from the corner of the eyes are called “spectacles” and a key Keeshond physical trait!

5/18/14 Fun Fact:  Did you know that the Keeshond can very easily get sunburned?  They have very fair skin underneath that abundant coat which is one of reasons you should not shave a Keeshond, even if you think you’re helping them stay cool by shaving them.  Their double coat insulates them from both the cold and the heat, while their harsh long outer coat protects them against those harmful sun rays.

8/1/15 Fun Fact:  The Keeshond should have a soft undercoat and a long harsh (much coarser) outer coat.  The long guard hairs that make the Kees look so elegant, does a great job of repelling dirt and even helps the coat to be water repellent.  In my experience with Clancy, a weekly brushing and a bath/blow-dry/brush-out every 2 to 3 months, I have found the Kees doesn’t develop a “doggie odor”. You’ll likely need to bathe sooner if they’ve gotten into something or not being dried after getting wet.  It amazes me that after a romp at the dog park, Clancy enters my car quite dirty…  by the time I get home, all the dirt has fallen off of him and is left on the pet seat cover.

7/1/16 Fun Fact:  Did you know that the Keeshond is ranked the 16th “Smartest Dog breed” (tied with the Collie) according to Stanley Coren’s “Intelligence of Dogs” research?  Keeshonden are very intuitive and are great problem solvers.  They learn quickly and if they so choose, can excel in performance dog sports such as Obedience, Rally, and more.


Instead of posting my pet articles that I write for my community magazine here, many of them are posted on my pet services website.  Please visit http://www.funanimalpet.com/funanimal-pet-articles.html for advice and other information I’ve written about pets!  (Please keep in mind those pet articles had to be kept to 350 words…  as you can see, that’s hard for me to do!)


7 Responses to “What is a Keeshond? ~ “The Smiling Dutchman””

  1. Bee August 2, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Because the Dutch word for cheese is Kaas pronounced Kayz (I believe) and our Keeshonds Katy & Dora will do anything for a bit of cheese we call them CheeseHounds

    • Love My Kees! August 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

      LOL, Bee! Thanks for the Dutch language lesson! That could be an interesting theory that should be considered for how the Dutch Barge Dog was named the “Kaas-hound”. The CheeseHound is definitely accurate… oh the tricks they’ll invent for something they desire the most! What sort of things will Katy and Dora do for cheese?

      • Bee August 3, 2013 at 5:27 am #

        Katy will spin madly on the spot til she is a furry blur and Dora will balance on her back legs making high pitched squeaking noises. It’s quite entertaining!

  2. Sally August 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Pretty good info! Did you know they are also called Dung Hill Barkers by Germans? I just learned this last week, Googled it, and found out it was true.

    • Love My Kees! August 14, 2013 at 1:07 am #

      Ah, the “Mistbeller” … to make it prettier sounding!

  3. cathyquiltsblog November 8, 2017 at 1:00 am #

    I was told by a Keeshond owner in my dog club that the breed name had a slight G sound as the first letter, like you would say Kayz deep in your throat ‘gKayz’? Also the accent is on the last syllable? Actually she didn’t tell me, she was telling another member of our obedience class, who was standing next to me and my (easily pronounced) Boxer 🙂

    • Love My Kees! August 21, 2018 at 11:32 pm #

      Hi there! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and your comment! That is quite funny and interesting! As I keep quietly saying “Kayz-hawnd” to myself, I can actually see that! I’m sure the Dutch have their own twist on the pronunciation with their dialect. 🙂 Yeah, Boxer is hard to not pronounce right… lol. 🙂 Sorry for the delayed response! I was AWOL for a while.

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