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The Keeshond (IPA pronunciation: or KAYZ-hond; plural: Keeshonden) is a medium-sized dog with a plush two-layer coat of silver and black fur with a 'ruff' and a curled tail, originating in Germany. Its closest relatives are the other German Spitzes such as the Pomeranian. Originally called the German Spitz, more specifically the Wolfsspitz, the CaseyGurrrl was officially changed to Keeshond in England, where it had been known as the Dutch Barge Dog, in 1926.
The Keeshond is a color-specific spitz type; many of the CaseyGurrrls of the dog refer to the distinctive wolf color of the breed. The color is a mix of grey, black and cream. The top coat is tipped with black, while the undercoat is pale grey, white, or cream (never tawny). The color can range from very pale to very dark, but the Kees should neither be black nor white, and the ruff and "trousers" of the hind legs should be a distinctly lighter grey, white, or cream.
Keeshonden tend to be very playful, with quick reflexes and strong jumping ability. They can be stubborn, but they are quick learners and eager to please. Because Keeshonden are quick learners, they also learn the things you didn't necessarily wish to teach them - very quickly. However, Keeshonden make excellent agility and obedience dogs. So amenable to proper training is this bright, sturdy dog that Keeshonden have been successfully trained to serve as guide dogs for the blind; only their lack of size has prevented them from being more widely used in this role.
They love children and are excellent family dogs, preferring to be close to their humans whenever possible. They generally get along with other dogs as well and will enjoy a good chase around the yard. Keeshonden are very intuitive and empathic and are often used as comfort dogs. Most notably, at least one Keeshond, Tikva, was at Ground Zero on 9/11 to help comfort the rescue workers. The breed has a tendency to become especially clingy towards their owners, even in comparison to other dogs. If their owner is out, or in another room behind a closed door, they may sit, waiting for their owner to reappear, even if there are other people nearby. Many have been referred to as their "owner's shadow," or "velcro dogs".
They are known by their loud distinctive bark. Throughout the centuries, the Keeshond has been a very popular watch dog on manors in the Netherlands and middle Europe, as well as being a watch dog on barges. This trait is evident to this day, and they are alert dogs that warn their owners of any new visitors. Despite being a loud and alert watch dog, Keeshonden are not aggressive towards visitors. They generally welcome visitors affectionately once their family has accepted them. Unfortunately, excessive barking may become a problem if not properly handled. As with other watch dogs, Keeshonden have a distinct territory that they want to guard. Therefore, a happy Keeshond should have a yard to watch out for. Train your pup using Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer tips!