20 Pros and Cons of Owning a Keeshond

When it comes to choosing a dog breed to welcome into your life, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle, living situation, and personal preferences. The Keeshond, often affectionately referred to as the “Kees” or “Smiling Dutchman,” is a striking and distinctive breed known for its friendly and outgoing personality. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the pros and cons of owning a Keeshond, helping you make an informed decision about whether this breed is the right fit for your family and lifestyle.

The Keeshond: A Brief Overview

The Keeshond is a medium-sized breed with a rich history and heritage. Originating in the Netherlands, Keeshonden were originally bred as watchdogs and companions for canal barges. They are characterized by their distinctive fox-like expression, a plush double coat, and a curled tail carried high over the back. Keeshonds are known for their friendly and sociable nature, making them excellent family pets and loyal companions.

Pros of Owning a Keeshond

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  1. Friendly and Outgoing

Keeshonds are renowned for their friendly and outgoing personality. They are known for their warm and welcoming demeanor, making them excellent companions for individuals and families alike. Their sociable nature can help create a positive and welcoming atmosphere in your home.

  1. Loyal and Affectionate

Keeshonds are exceptionally loyal and affectionate towards their families. They form strong bonds with their owners and are known for their devotion and eagerness to be part of family activities. If you seek a dog that will provide unwavering companionship and affection, a Keeshond is an excellent choice.

  1. Great with Children

Keeshonds are generally good with children, thanks to their patient and gentle nature. They often take on a protective role when it comes to youngsters and enjoy playtime with kids. As with any dog, supervision is crucial to ensure safe interactions between the dog and children.

  1. Excellent Watchdogs

Despite their friendly disposition, Keeshonds make excellent watchdogs. They are alert and will bark to alert you to any potential threats or unusual sounds. Their vigilance can enhance your home security and provide peace of mind.

  1. Playful and Energetic

Keeshonds have a playful and energetic side and enjoy engaging in games and activities with their owners. Their high energy levels can bring joy and entertainment to your household. They make great playmates for children and are known for their ability to keep the whole family active.

  1. Minimal Grooming Requirements

While Keeshonds have a plush double coat, they are relatively low-maintenance in terms of grooming. They have a thick, dense coat that naturally repels dirt, and their shedding is moderate. Regular brushing can help manage their coat and reduce shedding further.

  1. Good Health
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Keeshonds are considered a healthy breed with a relatively long lifespan. Responsible breeding practices have contributed to their overall well-being. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper care are essential for their continued good health.

  1. Adaptability to Different Living Situations

Keeshonds are adaptable to different living situations. They can thrive in apartments or houses with yards, provided they receive adequate exercise and attention. They are flexible and can adapt to urban or rural environments.

  1. High Intelligence

Keeshonds are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. They excel in obedience training and enjoy mental challenges. Their problem-solving skills make them adept at learning new tricks and tasks. If you appreciate a dog that can keep you mentally engaged, a Keeshond is a great choice.

  1. Handsome Appearance

Keeshonds have a striking and handsome appearance with their fox-like expression, plush coat, and curled tail. Their charming looks often attract admiration and attention from onlookers, making them a source of pride for their owners.

Cons of Owning a Keeshond

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  1. Shedding

Despite their moderate shedding, Keeshonds do shed throughout the year and more heavily during seasonal changes. Regular brushing can help manage shedding, but you should be prepared for some level of pet hair in your home.

  1. Separation Anxiety

Keeshonds have a strong bond with their owners and can develop separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. This may lead to destructive behaviors, excessive barking, and house soiling. If your work or lifestyle requires extended periods away from home, you’ll need to plan for appropriate care and stimulation for your Keeshond.

  1. Noise Sensitivity

Some Keeshonds can be sensitive to noise and may become anxious or agitated in loud environments, during thunderstorms, or fireworks displays. If you live in a noisy area or have noise disturbances, you may need to take extra measures to keep your Keeshond calm and comfortable.

  1. Barking Tendencies

Keeshonds can be prone to excessive barking, especially when they are bored or anxious. If you live in close quarters with neighbors or have noise restrictions, their vocal tendencies can be a concern.

  1. Prey Drive

Keeshonds may have a strong prey drive, and they may be prone to chasing smaller animals such as squirrels, rabbits, or cats. Careful supervision and training are necessary to ensure the safety of other pets in your household.

  1. Need for Exercise

While they adapt well to apartment living, Keeshonds have high energy levels and require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. A daily walk and playtime are essential to keep them physically fit and mentally engaged.

  1. Grooming During Shedding Season

Keeshonds experience heavier shedding during seasonal changes. This period may require more frequent grooming and brushing to manage the increased shedding.

  1. Strong-Willed Behavior
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Keeshonds can exhibit strong-willed behavior at times. They may resist commands or exhibit stubbornness, especially if they are not motivated or engaged. Consistent training and positive reinforcement methods are essential for success.

  1. Limited Availability

Finding a Keeshond can be a challenge, as they are not as common as some other breeds. Reputable breeders may have waitlists for puppies. It’s crucial to do thorough research and choose a responsible breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs.

  1. Potential Aggression

Keeshonds may exhibit aggression towards other dogs, particularly dogs of the same sex. Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure that they are comfortable around other animals. Some Keeshonds may not tolerate smaller pets like cats.


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The decision to bring a Keeshond into your life is a personal one and should align with your lifestyle, preferences, and willingness to meet their unique needs. While these dogs are known for their loyalty, friendly disposition, and adaptability, they also come with certain challenges, including grooming demands and potential separation anxiety.

Before deciding to own a Keeshond, it’s essential to carefully consider the pros and cons outlined in this article. If you are prepared for the grooming and maintenance and if you can provide the necessary love and attention, a Keeshond can be a wonderful companion, offering years of loyalty and affection. However, if you have a busy lifestyle or are looking for a more low-maintenance or less active dog, this breed may not be the best fit. Always research and consult with reputable breeders or rescue organizations to ensure that the Keeshond aligns with your expectations and capabilities as a dog owner.


  1. What is a Keeshond?
    • A Keeshond is a medium-sized breed of dog known for its distinctive “spectacles” and fox-like expression. They are often referred to as “Kees.”
  2. What is the history of the Keeshond breed?
    • The Keeshond is named after the Dutch Patriot leader, Kees de Gyselaer, and was used as a symbol of the political party during the late 18th century in the Netherlands.
  3. How big do Keeshonds typically get?
    • Keeshonds are a medium-sized breed, typically standing around 17 to 18 inches (43-46 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighing between 35 to 45 pounds (16-20 kg).
  4. What is the appearance of a Keeshond’s coat?
    • They have a thick double coat with a plush ruff around the neck and a distinctive “spectacles” pattern on their face. The coat is usually a mix of gray, black, and cream colors.
  5. Are Keeshonds hypoallergenic?
    • Keeshonds are not hypoallergenic as they do shed and can produce allergenic dander. Regular grooming can help manage shedding.
  6. How much grooming do Keeshonds require?
    • Keeshonds need regular brushing to maintain their double coat and prevent matting. Occasional baths and regular grooming around their ears are also necessary.
  7. Are they good with children and other pets?
    • Keeshonds are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them great family pets. They usually get along well with children and other pets when properly socialized.
  8. What is the average lifespan of a Keeshond?
    • The typical lifespan of a Keeshond is around 12 to 15 years with proper care.
  9. What are some common health concerns in Keeshonds?
    • They may be prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and progressive retinal atrophy. Responsible breeding can help reduce these risks.
  10. Are Keeshonds easy to train?
    • Keeshonds are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. Positive reinforcement-based training works well with this breed.
  11. How much exercise do they need?
    • Keeshonds are moderately active and require regular exercise, including daily walks and playtime to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  12. Can Keeshonds adapt to apartment living?
    • They can adapt to apartment living if given sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, but they also enjoy having a yard to play in.
  13. Do Keeshonds suffer from separation anxiety?
    • They can develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Gradual training and keeping them mentally engaged can help alleviate this.
  14. What is their original purpose or work?
    • Keeshonds were originally used as watchdogs and companions on Dutch barges and farms. They also had a role as a symbol of the Dutch Patriots.
  15. Do Keeshonds bark a lot?
    • They have a tendency to bark and make excellent watchdogs, alerting their owners to any unusual activity.
  16. Can Keeshonds be prone to obesity?
    • Like all dogs, they can become overweight if not fed a balanced diet and provided with regular exercise. Monitoring their weight is important.
  17. Do they have specific dietary requirements?
    • Providing high-quality dog food suitable for their size, age, and activity level is important. Consult with a veterinarian for dietary recommendations.
  18. Can Keeshonds participate in dog sports and agility?
    • Keeshonds can participate in various dog sports and agility activities, showcasing their intelligence and agility.
  19. Are Keeshonds good therapy dogs?
    • Their friendly and gentle nature makes them suitable for therapy dog work, providing comfort and companionship to those in need.
  20. How can I find a reputable Keeshond breeder?
    • Look for breed clubs and associations, visit breeders who prioritize health and well-being, and ask for references before choosing a breeder.
  21. What are some unique traits of Keeshonds?
    • Keeshonds are known for their distinctive facial markings, friendly disposition, and loyalty to their families. They are often referred to as “the smiling Dutchman” due to their expressive faces.
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Joanne Smith

Joanne Smith

Dr. Smith's journey into veterinary medicine began in high school, where she gained valuable experience in various veterinary settings, including dairy farms, before pursuing her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Afterward, she started as a full-time general practitioner at two different animal hospitals, refining her skills. Later, she established herself as a relief veterinarian, offering essential care when regular veterinarians are unavailable, traveling from one hospital to another. Dr. Smith also excels in emergency animal hospitals, providing vital care during nights and weekends, demonstrating her dedication to the profession.

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