One of the spitz breeds, the Keeshond has a history that can be traced to Holland in the 1700s, where it served as a watchdog on the barges and riverboats of the Rhine River. The breed, named for Kees de Gyselaer, the leader of the Dutch Patriot party, became a symbol of that party. Although many of the dogs were disposed of when the party lost, the breed survived, aided by farmers and boatmen. The Keeshond is now the national dog of Holland.


Medium; females 17 inches, 35 pounds; males 18 inches, 40 to 45 pounds.


Gray, black, and cream.


Outgoing, friendly, intelligent, affectionate; thrives in a family. Alert but a friend to all; good with children and other dogs.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Family in a home with a backyard.


Daily moderate exercise, companionship, brushing once or twice a week and more when shedding.

Life expectancy:

12 to 15 years.