The Keeshond is a medium sized Spitz-type dog, hardy and capable of withstanding winter temperatures. He has apparently limitless stamina and needs opportunities for plenty of exercise and physical challenges. He needs an experienced owner who is also energetic and firm. Like most dog breeds temperaments vary and you will get Keeshonds who are calmer and less energetic. His thick, double coat will need to be groomed carefully and frequently. Some Keeshonds have excessively long coats (an undesirable exaggeration) and this type should be avoided when choosing a pet.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 6.6% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS491.94
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
Whilst thriving in cold conditions the Keeshond could suffer in warm weather due to his excessively thick coat. Exercise should be avoided in warm conditions and care taken to provide a cool place to rest. An excessively long coat will make matters worse.
- Hip dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 10.9 (parents should be lower).
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Primary Hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) (excessive production of parathyroid hormone, causing high calcium leading to renal failure) (PHPT in Keeshonds has an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance).
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cancer: squamous cell carcinoma (skin)
- Alopecia (hair loss due to hormonal imbalance)
- Heart disease: Patent ductus arteriosis (blood shunting of variable severity); Ventricular septal defect (hole in heart)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: