The Keeshond - History

The Keeshond is a breed that originated from the spitz breed of dogs whose characteristics include thick double coats, upright ears, wedge-shaped heads, deep chests and usually carry their tails curled over their backs. Breeds within this catergory include the Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, Siberian Husky, Chow Chow and Pomeranian. The keeshond is also known as Wolfspitz in Germany, Chiens Loup in France, Lupini in Italy and throughout the world as The Dutch Barge Dog. The latter name is due to the fact that the keeshond has been associated with Holland throughout history and was customarily used on the barges as a watch dog and a companion. These barges would travel along the Rhine in Germany, enabling the cross breeding with the German spitz stock. It is widely believed that the resulting mixture of breeding led to the keeshonden that we know today. The accepted theory for the keeshond breed name is that it was named after Cornelius de Gyselaar "Kees" the leader of the Dutch Patriot Party, for which the little dog was the mascot.

The Keeshond dog was originally brought to England by Mrs Wingfield-Digby, where she lived in the magnificent surroundings of Sherborne Castle in Dorset. In October 1925 Mrs Wingfield-Digby was fundamental in the starting of the “The Dutch Barge Dog Club”. The name was changed a year later to “The Keeshond Club” in 1926 at the request of the Kennel Club.


An old photo of a keeshond.

An old photo of a keeshond.

Many keeshonds in an old photo.

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