Breed Information and Finding the Right Breeder for You

About the Keeshond

The Keeshond is a very old breed, and one of the very few which throughout history have always been raised for family companions and watchdogs. The fact that they have not been bred to hunt, kill animals, attack or chase criminals undoubtedly accounts for their gentle, intelligent devotion to their owners as home-loving dogs with a special fondness for children, for which they are renowned. 

The are descendants of the same prehistoric ancestry from which evolved among others, the much larger Samoyeds, Huskies, Norwegian Elkhounds and tiny Pomeranians, and apparently came into Europe with ancient voyagers from the North, a great many centuries ago. 

In the 17th and 18th centuries, they were extensively used as watchdogs on river boats, farms, and barges and were known in Germany as "Wolfspitzen"; in France as "Chiens Loup"; in Italy as "Lupini"; and in Holland as "Keeshonden" - pronounced "kayz-hawnden," being the Dutch plural. Because of their great popularity and historically political prominence in Holland in the 18th Century, the breed has become known as the "Dutch" Keeshond. 

Now in the 21st century Keeshonden have again proved their adaptability by becoming one of the leading breeds recommended for those seeking a lifelong companion and for those with children. In addition Keeshonden are well known as excellent therapy dogs and have served well with autistic children. The rescue workers at the site of 9/11 were visited by Keeshond therapy dogs with many saying it was the first time they saw them smile.

The breed is also proud of it’s accomplishment in obedience, rally and agility competition. MACH17 Molly, was for several years one of the most AKC titled agility dogs. Owned and shown by Maureen Waldron she inspired many Keeshond owners to compete with their dogs in the sport of agility. And, Bonnie Burman with her Keeshond, Rex, CH OTCH Klassic's Keeping it Up UDX15, OM1, AX, AXJ, NAP, NJP made the Keeshond mark in Obedience in 2005 by earning Number 1 Non Sporting dog and Number 17 All-Breeds.

No matter what your interest your Keeshond has the willingness and intelligence to take you to the top. And, if you just want someone to hang out with and welcome you home, well he’s up for that too.


What About Grooming?

Keeshonden have a double coat. This is made of up of soft undercoat separated by coarser guard hairs. About 30 minutes a week with a spray bottle and pin brush will keep your Keeshond looking top notch. Bathing can be done every six weeks to eight weeks. The Keeshond coat does not have a doggy smell and if your dog is kept clean it will be a very pleasant indoor companion. As with all dogs regular nail trimming is recommended.

What about training?

As we have discussed Keeshonden are very intelligent and thus require training as puppies. We recommend a kindergarten puppy training class for all puppies between 9 to twelve weeks of age. These classes teach basic commands, come, sit, stay and down and will also socialize your puppy to behave when in the presence of other dogs. Taking advanced classes will help perfect your dog’s behavior. Left to their own devices Keeshonden can train themselves, but not always in the things that you would prefer! It is best to give them training and guidance from puppyhood.

Who Should Own a Keeshond?

Anyone who does not want a dog as part of the family should not own a Keeshond. Keeshonden will not thrive tied in the back yard or left without companionship day after day. They want and expect to be part of your life, if you work that is okay, they will adjust their schedule to yours and be waiting for your when you come home. 


Choosing a reputable source for your puppy is critical to your objective. Because it is almost impossible for you, the buyer, to know what any puppy will grow into physically and emotionally, you must entirely rely on your faith in the person from whom you are purchasing your puppy. There are three options open to you in choosing this person: 

Pet Shop or Dealer - The worst possible choice.

These pups may be poorly bred and poorly raised. They are usually thought of as merchandise – like a loaf of bread - to be sold for a high profit. This high profit is possible because little has been put into the breeding and care of these pups. Many may be sickly. Pet shops rely heavily on impulse buying, which is no way to choose an addition to the family. 

Backyard Breeder on Internet Puppy Farm - Also a poor choice.

This is the person who owns a pet Keeshond and thinks it would be "fun" to have puppies, or maybe that it would be a great experience for the kids. Even worse, perhaps it's being done to make money. Frequently this breeder knows little about the breed history or the accepted breed standard and knows even less about grooming and care.

Backyard breeders and internet puppy farms almost never x-ray hips or evaluate patellae.

They are usually not aware of breed problems and often do not care. Their goal is to produce pups and to sell them quickly. 

Hobby Breeder - The best choice.

The serious and dedicated hobby breeder regards his or her dogs as just that - a hobby. She/He does not expect a profit. When someone breeds dogs for the enjoyment, pleasure and "thrill" of producing the very finest possible specimens of the breed, rather than for profit, the result is superior quality. These breeders acknowledge responsibility for each puppy produced and stand behind every dog they breed. 

Unequivocally, your choice should be from the ranks of the hobby breeder. It is an interesting fact that poor quality pups from pet shops and backyard breeders are usually sold for the same or similar price, and sometimes even more, than quality pups purchased from serious hobby breeders. All three types of breeders may sell puppies that are AKC registerable, but some will also offer other “paper registries” registration is neither an assurance of quality nor an indication of dedication to the breed. The question is, how does one recognize the serious, dedicated hobby breeder? While the list below identifies many of the attributes and characteristics of the serious hobby breeder, almost no breeder will have all of these. Do not be afraid to ask questions or to confront a prospective source with these requirements. It is your right and you can rest assured that a dedicated and reputable breeder will respond positively and with pride. If your breeder meets all of these qualifications, you're in good hands. 

How Do I Find A Breeder?

If you want a quality puppy with parents who have been health tested you will need to locate a hobby breeder. These breeders have studied the breed for years and can be your guide to all your questions about raising and training your puppy. You can locate a Keeshond breeder by going on the website of the Keeshond Club of America at

This is a hobby and breeders certainly don’t expect to live off the income from their dogs. However, breeders want to place their puppies in good homes and you should expect professionalism on their part

Expect to be interviewed, Expect a contract, Expect to receive paperwork, Expect a wait, Expect courtesy and respect. Expect a pedigree and Expect OFA hip numbers on sire and dam when you ask. These can be verified on the OFA website under Keeshond at



The first Keeshond was registered with The American Kennel Club in 1930 under "Keeshonden," in the Non-Sporting Group and The Keeshond Club of America, as it was later named, was organized in 1935. 

The breed progressed slowly but steadily in the U.S. until after the end of World War II. Since then, it was gone ahead by leaps and bounds as the exceptional qualities of these sensible, all-around family dogs have become more generally known and acclaimed by pet owners, breeders, bench show exhibitors and those who compete in rally, obedience and agility competitions.

Today, the Keeshond Club of America has over 500 members throughout the United states that are devoted to the care, training, breeding, showing and preservation of this special breed.


In addition to individual members KCA also has regional clubs that welcome Keeshond owners at every level of interest. Clubs can be affiliated meaning that they can host regional specialty shows or non-affiliated, these clubs can support local shows. All clubs can host fun matches where local Keeshond owners get together with their adult dogs and puppies to learn about grooming and training, and have a good time.

Regional clubs can be located on the KCA website at These clubs can be found throughout the USA including, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania,

Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Illinois, Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, Kentucky, and Florida

 Keeshond Club of America Code of Ethics

(Effective June 1, 2016)
The primary goal of the KCA Code of Ethics is to ensure the welfare of the breed. To that end, the KCA Code of Ethics establishes the minimum set of guidelines by which KCA members conduct themselves as owners, exhibitors, and breeders of Keeshonden.
1. General Welfare:
KCA members, with regard to all aspects of owning, showing and /or breeding Keeshonden, will conduct themselves, at all times in accordance with the following guidelines and requirements:
a. All dogs will be kept under sanitary and humane conditions and given maximum health protection through de-worming, inoculation, and proper veterinary care at all times.
b. All un-neutered bitches and males will be safeguarded from unplanned mating.
c. Whenever a KCA member is entrusted with the care of another person’s dog, utmost effort will be made for the care, protection, and well-being of that dog.
d. KCA members will make the benefit of their advice and experience available to others, particularly to novices and new-comers to Keeshonden.
e. When confronted by a situation not covered by this Code of Ethics, the KCA member will conduct himself/herself in a way that reflects how he or she would like to be treated under similar circumstances, and in all cases, behave in a sportsmanlike manner such as to reflect positively on the sport of showing dogs and the Keeshond breed in particular.
f. Keeshonden are outstanding in temperament – outgoing, and uncommonly loyal and devoted. KCA members should reflect these qualities in return and be known as uncommonly good to their dogs and considerate of each other.
g. KCA members shall at all times when communicating in electronic non-private forums, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo user groups, e-mail group lists and similar social electronic media, refrain from making derogatory, disparaging, or inflammatory comments regarding other KCA members, whether by direct reference or innuendo. This provision is not intended to, nor shall it be invoked or applied by any KCA member in such a manner as to, discourage or limit open and honest fact based discussion of relevant topics, including controversial topics, in such electronic forums.
2. Breeding:
KCA members who breed Keeshonden conscientiously plan and conduct each breeding considering, and in conformance with, at a minimum, the following factors, guidelines, and requirements;
a. The qualities and traits of the parents in relation to the breed’s AKC approved official standard.
b. The appropriate temperament of the parents.
c. The health of the parents, including, but not limited to, being free from congenital and hereditary defects, for example, PHPT.
d. The obligations of properly placing or providing for all the puppies prior to deciding to have, or having, a litter.
e. Breeds or allows to be bred only healthy mature Keeshonden over one and one-half years of age, that have been health-tested in accordance with the breed specific CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) requirements, except that the hips and elbow x-rays can be preliminary OFA evaluated.
f. Ensures that both parents, age two years or older, have been health-tested in accordance with breed specific CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) requirements.
g. Ensures that bitches have no more than two litters in any 18–month period unless medically cleared and documented by a veterinarian.
h. Ensures that no bitch is bred after the age of eight years unless medically cleared and documented by a veterinarian.
i. Ensures all breeding stock is registered and accurate records kept of matings and pedigrees in accordance with American Kennel Club requirements.
j. Ensures that whelping and puppy rearing occurs under sanitary and humane conditions.
3. Volume Breeding:
Volume breeding is not in the best interest of the breed. KCA members plan the spacing of litters so that puppies under the age of six months, bred by him or her, are not consistently available.
4. Selling Keeshond and Breeding Services:
KCA members conduct themselves, at a minimum, in conformance with the following guidelines and requirements when selling Keeshonden or Keeshonden breeding related services:
a. Requires adherence to this Code of Ethics in all transactions.
b. Sells dogs, permits stud service, and leases studs or bitches only to individuals who have demonstrated that they will give them proper care and attention, and who are in written agreement with this Code of Ethics.
c. Requires written contracts, signed by all parties, to all sales and other transactions prior to physical transfer of the dog(s) or breeding services or materials.
1. These contracts, in addition to other contractual matters, will specify how the seller will honor a refund or replacement, which may be necessary because of unforeseen health problems or other circumstances.
2. The contract shall specify that the breeder has reasonable responsibilities and rights to take back or otherwise provide for a dog’s welfare in the event the buyer cannot properly provide for the dog, and identify in generality the circumstances under which the breeder would exercise those rights.
d. Ensures breeding arrangements NEVER involve the breeding a poor quality male or bitch.
e. Ensures all puppies leaving the breeder’s/owner’s possession are at least eight weeks of age.
f. Provides all new owners with written details on feeding, general care, dates of de-worming, and inoculations, and a four-generation pedigree.
g. Requires all Keeshonden purchased as pets to be sold under a non-breeding contract requiring sterilization and with AKC limited registration.
h. Does not, under any circumstances, sell, consign, or lease puppies or adults to pet shops or any commercial establishment, broker, distributor or wholesaler, and includes a contractual prohibition on any such actions by purchasers or lessees.
i. Does not supply Keeshonden for auctions, raffles, “giveaway” prizes or other such projects or consignments even in non-commercial instances.
j. Ensures all advertising is factual, advertisements neither offer Keeshonden at cheap prices, nor are worded so as to attract undesirable buyers, or to encourage producing Keeshonden as a moneymaking enterprise; advertisements relating to show wins or breeding accomplishments must be precise and factual and should not imply achievements that are not accurate.
k. Sets a reasonable price for young puppies and adult dogs. In setting a sale price the breeder/owner considers that adults and puppies have been, and must continue to be, given first class care and therefore cannot be sold at an unreasonably low price.
l. Special Contracts;
1. Contracts that require puppies back as part of the purchase price of a bitch, whether the arrangements are an outright purchase or co-ownership of the bitch to satisfy the purchase price, should not require puppies back after the bitch’s first normal litter. The definition of a normal litter is to be defined in the contract. At the completion of the transfer of these above-mentioned puppies, the dam’s breeder will deliver to the purchaser all forms necessary for completion of the transaction. NOTE: Under American Kennel Cub rules (Chapter 3, Section 6) all such forms MUST BE COMPLETED AND SUPPLIED by/to all parties to transactions, unless they have agreed otherwise in writing.
2. Terms for co-ownership for either dogs or bitches between breeders and buyers must be clearly stated in the contract and must be mutually favorable to both parties.
As used in this document the words “dog” or Keeshond(en) means both male and female animals. Where a distinction in sex is intended, the word male(s) is used to refer to males and the word bitch(es) is used to refer to females.
This document cannot be changed without approval of the KCA membership.