Keeshond Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!



T his article discusses the rela- tionship between structure and movement in the Kees- hond. However, it is appli- cable to many breeds and covers how to examine coated breeds with your hands

The handler will attempt to keep them from doing this. You should observe characteristics that are typical of arctic dogs. Medium, neat ears, set up on the head and not to the side, are required, as in a cold environment large ears would freeze. Dark, almond-shaped eyes are typical, so they can squint down in the bright snow. A dark muzzle and the spectacles, which are the line drawn from the corner of the eye to the base of the ear, complete the picture. The dog should appear alert, friendly, and curious. FRONT: EXAMINING THE SHOULDERS AND CHEST Balance is the first requirement. When you look at the dog in profile, the dog should appear balanced in three parts; front, mid- dle, and rear. These should blend smoothly and be in equal pro- portion. When you go over the dog, examine the shoulders. Place your right hand on the withers and follow that down to the point of shoulder. You should feel a moderate layback of shoulder. Then, place your left hand at the point of shoulder and move it toward the point of the opposite shoulder. In between these points, you will find the prosternum that is even with the points of shoulder. If the prosternum is slightly higher than the point of the shoul- der, this can mean the shoulder is steep and lacks angulation. Unless the dog also has very little rear angulation, the dog will not be balanced. For the health and performance of the dog, a minimum of angulation should be present, which will bring the prosternum even with the points of the shoulder. From the point of shoulder, follow down the upper arm to the elbow. The angle of the shoulder and the upper arm should form a “V” of approximately equal lengths. If the upper arm is short, the elbow will finish in front of the withers. A short, steep upper arm will give the dog a straight front and the dog will not be able to extend his front leg very far, giving him a limited front stride. Go back to the withers and feel the distance between the shoul- der blades. This is sometimes one or two fingers. If it is more, the dog may move wide in front and wing or paddle, depending on his other physical characteristics. BODY AND LOIN Keeshonden should slope slightly from the withers to the tail. Some call this being “built uphill.” A dog that is built “downhill” will slope downward from tail to the withers. This will produce a dog that is heavy in front and moves with the head low. The standard says, “The body should be compact with a short, straight

for correct structure. Basic anatomical references are used. If you are a judge, or a student of dogs and breeding, you will be familiar with them. If not, please refer to texts like Rachel Page Elliot’s Dog Steps , McDowell Lyons’ The Dog in Action , or Ed and Pat Gilbert’s Encyclopedia of K-9 Terminology for details and illustrations. STRUCTURE AND MOVEMENT The rules regarding structure and movement dictate that form follows function. This means that the structure of a dog will con- trol, to a great degree, how that dog (or any animal) will move. So, why do we qualify this by saying to a great degree? This is because movement is affected not only by the way a dog is built but also by how he is conditioned and how he feels at that given moment. Think about yourself. If you played an intense game of tennis the day before, you may be stiff when you get up and not move so sprightly when you jog. The same is true for your dog. If you are evaluating an individual dog for the purposes of your breeding program, you will want to the see the dog move on more than one occasion. That being said, what we are looking for in the Keeshond is structure that will produce the movement described in the stan- dard, this being: “They should move cleanly and briskly; the move- ment should be straight and sharp with reach and drive between slight and moderate.” Also, “Dogs should move boldly and keep tails curled over the back.” The movement is described as a “dis- tinctive gait… unique to the breed” HEAD AND EXPRESSION The late Dick Beauchamp, in his book, Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type , said that head and expression are one of the prin- ciple keys to breed type. Head type in the Keeshond would require an article all by itself. For this article, we will summarize what you should expect to observe when you first approach a Kees- hond. Keeshonden are lively, curious dogs and when they are first approached by a stranger they will want to greet you. Puppies are especially so, and will want to say hello and lick your face.



All three have acceptable color and markings. © KCA Illustrated Standard

is correct. We have a range of shades in the breed, and they are all acceptable, but they must have a dark muzzle, a lighter ruff on their neck, a shoulder stripe, saddle on their back, and silver britches and tail. You may have a preference for a darker or lighter Keeshond, but the breed standard does not. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER You will want to observe the dog on a loose lead, standing in a position that is natural for him and not posed. Dogs with good, natural balance will find it easy to stand squarely. Look for balance. Examine the front, middle, and rear quarters. Ask the handler to move the dog on a loose lead; coming and going, and from the side. You are looking for a dog that moves with its head up naturally and one that moves off his hocks, smoothly transmitting energy from the rear to the front. At a good paced trot, the end of the front foot will reach at or near the end of the dog’s nose. The hind foot will extend at the same length and angle as the front foot. Coming at you, you are looking for a dog that moves smoothly, and at a brisk trot the legs will converge very slightly toward the center line. There will be no rocking, paddling or winging. Observing the dog from the rear, you will look for smoothness and steady hocks with no inward or outward twist. At a brisk trot, the legs will converge slightly toward the center line. There should not be any cow- hocked movement or spraddle hocks. Lastly, observe the dog standing natu- rally after it has moved. A dog that is prop- erly built will have a nice arch of neck and will stand squarely and comfortably. This is the dog you are looking for—first place!

and feel for the muscle development. Dogs that are well-exercised will have a firm and well-developed second thigh muscle that feels like a small bicep. Dogs that are strictly couch potatoes will have a flat sec- ond thigh muscle, and a generally sloppy and poor rear movement. They will have poor control of their rear movement and may move with hocks in or twisting out. It is important to observe the length of hock in the Keeshond. Hocks should be short and well-let-down. Dogs with long hocks will have difficulty producing cor- rect movement and will not be well-bal- anced. Long hocks may also cause them to be high in the rear. COAT COLOR AND TEXTURE Again, both of these topics are articles in themselves. As you are judging, there are things you can look for to assess correctness to the standard. First, texture of the coat. In an arctic breed, correct coat texture means nothing less than survival. A harsh outer coat, to protect from rain and snow, and a soft undercoat, to keep the dog warm, are essential. What can be lacking is the harsh- er outer coat. As a last touch, run your hand from the tail to the shoulder against the lay of the coat. You should feel a slightly coarse texture. If you do this to each dog, you will feel a difference. If you are judging outside and it is damp, you will notice that the coat on some dogs will “stand off.” These dogs have correct coat texture. When I first work with judges on judg- ing the Keeshond, they often ask, “Is that dog too dark, or is that dog too light?” The question is not is a dog too dark or too light, but does the dog show contrast? In the illustration above, each of the dogs

back sloping slightly downward toward the hindquarters; well ribbed, barrel well rounded, short in loin, belly moderately tucked up, deep and strong of chest.” Okay, are most of our dogs built like this? A few are, many are not. Now, run your hand from the withers straight down to the point of the elbow. The body should at least meet your fingers at this point. This means that the dog has good depth of body. The distance from the withers to the point of elbow and from the bottom of the body to the ground should be roughly equal. Now, starting again at the withers, run your hand from the withers to the base of the tail. The withers should be higher than the base of the tail. Also, impor- tantly, the back should be short, straight, and not dip, so that the body is not slung between withers and hip. Dogs that are built this way will generally trot with their heads down, and without a firm mid-piece to transfer energy from the rear quarters to the front; they will have poor, shambling movement, not the brisk, sprightly move- ment described in the breed standard. To find the length of loin, find the last rib and measure from there to where the hip begins. You will have to go over several dogs to determine average length. Dogs that are long in loin will generally have flat toplines and sloppy movement, but there are exceptions. EXAMINING THE REAR QUARTERS Begin at the base of the tail and deter- mine the set-on of the tail. Find the point of hip and run your hand down the inside of the thigh. When you get to the second thigh muscle on the inside of the thigh, just run your fingers down the second thigh


#1 Owner Handler Keeshond Top 10 Owner Handler Keeshond 2019, 2020, and 2021 * Owner Handler Alan St. Clair CHIC #161757 Captain GCH PANDORA THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN


*AKC NOHS stats 2021 **AKC stats 2020



BOS 2021 Keeshond Club of America National Specialty 2020 Top 10 Owner Handler Keeshond ** 2020 & 2021 Top 25 Keeshond Club of America CHIC #146300 Pebbles GCHB PANDORA SEVEN HORSES IN THE SKY



KEESHOND The Versati le


W hile Keeshond owners and breeders always knew that their dogs were eager to please and learned things quickly, it was not until the last few decades that they learned how truly tal- ented Keeshonden are. Northern breeds are usually thought of as independent and sometimes stubborn, but the Keeshond has proved to be quite the exception to that old theory. Easily bonded to their owners and to children, highly motivated with treats, and a quick in intelligence, Keeshonden excel in many fields. New titles added by AKC have opened up even more oppor- tunities for Keeshonden who have shown themselves to be the “multi-tool” for a number of events. In Obedience, a Keeshond topped the Non-Sporting Group at the AKC National Obedience Invitational. In current Obedience standings, a Keeshond is in the top-five dogs for all breeds. In Agility, it is was a Keeshond, “Mol- ly,” MACH 17, that was the first multiple MACH dog of all breeds. Called a queuing machine, Molly was a Keeshond rescue who earned the nickname, Molly MACH-a-Million. It took a while for the rest of the field to catch up to her. The MACH Molly award is now given annually to the highest scoring MACH dog for the year at the AKC National Agility event held in Orlando, Florida. An area where the breed really shines is in therapy work. Kees- honden were among the first breeds awarded the AKC Therapy Dog title. The first Keeshond to hold the title is Ruttkay Autumn Bronze, VCK1, CDX, RE, OF OAJ, THD, TD1, AOV. She is owned and loved by Daisy Kramer. The breed’s unique empathy for people and children has led Keeshonden to serve in many set- tings. One of the most well-known is the service of “Tikva,” a young Keeshond from Washington State, owned by Cindy Ehlers. One of their first assignments was working to comfort the 911 rescue workers. Dr. Cindy Otto who provided veterinary services to the dogs working Ground Zero said, “The first time I saw the rescue workers smile was when the therapy dogs arrived. Among them was a young Keeshond, Tikva, whose smile brightened the day of everyone.” Dr. Otto was in touch with me daily, as AKC/ CHF helped to organize supplies for the dogs working the site. Agility Angels is a group in Northwest Ohio that shares their trained agility dogs with autistic children. As you can see the accompanying photos, the dogs run readily for the children and bond quickly with them. This experience increases the children’s self-confidence and their self-esteem. The group has several breeds working with it, including the dogs of John and Joan Malak.

Agility Angels


CH SK’S KEES IVAN THE TERRIBLE Sired by CH Yan-Kee Neiman Marcus Foundation Breeding Dog




CH DOGWOOD SILVERETTA WB KCA Nationals - May 2015 Chosen as example of Breed Standard for Judges Education Reserve WB Eukanuba Nationals - Dec 2014 (At age 11 months her first time shown)

DOGWOOD-N-ASHBROOK RIVER ROSETTE Bred by Silveretta and GCHB CH Ashbrook Just’ A Trucking’ Our Next hopeful - born in 2020 during COVID She has yet to grace the show rings (Pictured at age 5 months)





Keeshond were originally farm dogs throughout Europe. They performed the tra- ditional roles of farm dogs by keeping watch over the farm, alerting to strangers, acting as playmates for children, hunting vermin, and herding livestock. Imagine the surprise of Keeshond owners when their clubs hosted Herding Instinct Tests and their dogs actually showed an interest in sheep! In 2011, Majik Kees Chocolate Mystic Mint RN, NA, NAJ, NT, HTAD, earned the first Keeshond HCT (Herding Capability Test). Canine Assisted Therapy for Stuttering is a newer treatment for those who suffer from stuttering. It is a common disorder that affects five percent of children. Margaret Griffo is a retired speech and hearing therapist who has used dogs in her work and noticed the connec- tion between patients and dogs. Margaret realized that the reasons dogs worked so well with her patients was due to their non-judgmental nature. People are judg- mental, dogs are not, and those who struggle with fluency know the difference. Margaret and her Keeshond, “Waverly,” became a reg- istered Pet Partners@team in 2013. Margaret says, “Waverly makes great eye contact, is very patient and always comforting. Most impor- tantly, there is no time pressure. She is happy to wait for the complete command. To Waverly, words are important but fluency isn’t.” None of these stories will be a surprise to those who know the breed well. Keeshonden have an internal wellspring of joy and trust that they are willing to share with anyone who has the time to listen.

Keeshond Can Do It!

Obedience and Agility

Rally, Agility, Nosework, Barn Hunt, and Dock Diving

Reference: The Stuttering Foundation Newsletter, Winter 2016

Herding, Farm Dog, Tracking, Trick Dog

BIO Deborah Lynch was the first Executive Vice President of the AKC Canine Health Foundation. She

served in that role from its founding in 1995 until 2003. Debbie has a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration from Case Western Reserve University and has worked with several nonprofits in mission development and strategic planning, including United Way Services, the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at CWRU, and Ursuline College. She is a member of the Buckeye Keeshond Club and the Keeshond Club of America, and has served on its Board of Directors and as President. She has served as the Keeshond Breed Columnist for the AKC Gazette for 25 years. Under the Foxfair prefix with her partner, Jeanne Buente, Debbie has bred over 30 AKC champions. She has judged her breed in the United States and in England, and is currently working as a writer and consultant. Debbie lives with her family and Keeshonden in Parrish, Florida.

Fast CAT

Therapy, Canine Good Citizen, Service Dog, and Dancing with Dogs



I am writing this article to help judg- es new to our breed as well as the more experienced judge who needs to learn the finer points of judging the Keeshond. This describes the basics of the judging procedure, but with the Keeshond breed standard explained in detail. So, ask your ring steward to bring in the dogs in catalog order. Line them up on one side of the ring. Look over the exhibits. You want the Keeshond to look balanced, short- coupled, square appearing, head and neck up over the backline, tail tightly curled over the back and legs under them, not over extended. You want to see males 18" at the shoulder and females 17". One inch variance either way is acceptable. Instruct the group to travel around the ring. You want a Keeshond to glide smoothly with the head carriage above the topline with no bouncing or jerk- ing movement, tail carried over the back, moving at a slow trot with mod- erate reach and drive. If you have one exhibit, please allow them to go around the ring before you put them on the ramp. We are a mandatory ramp breed! Have them proceed to the ramp. The ramp is there for examination only! Keeshonds are not to be judged for alertness, ear carriage or attitude on the ramp. Survey the outline of the dog presented. Again, you want to see a pleas- ing, balanced silhouette; neck and head carriage above the topline. Legs should be under the dog, not extended. You want to see a square appearing dog. The coloring should be dramatic with definite shoulder markings with a black saddle. The neck ruff

BY JOANNE REED Windrift Keeshond

2010 AKC Non-Sporting Breeder Of The Year Breeder of 26 Best in Show Keeshonds

Keeshond Club of America Breeder’s Education Committee Keeshond Club of America Standard Revision Committee



the rear. The pelvis, upper thigh and lower thigh should all be the same length, and attached to hocks well let down and perpendic- ular to the ground. The hocks should not extend past the point of the pelvic bone. The tail should be tight and directly over the back. The tail should not fall to either side, it should be placed directly over the back and curl at the end. The end of the tail is black tipped. (In all the years that I’ve judged and had Keeshond, I’ve never found one that wasn’t black tipped.) Donut tails and tea cup tails are not desired. Keeshond do not like their tails uncurled. So, if you wish to check the tip, please do it carefully. When the tail is uncurled you will see a nest. This is an indication that the tail is tightly curled. After the dog is examined on the ramp, allow the handler to present the dog on a free stack. Now is the time to judge attitude and showmanship. Allow the handler to show the expression and ear placement of the dog. Then, have them move out and back on a loose lead. A Keeshond should move straight and sharp. They should not paddle, pound, or have a hackney gait. They will con- verge slightly with speed. The Keeshond should not be allowed to move at an accelerated speed. A nice slow trot is desired. Have the dog free stack, again seeing the head piece with ears erect; and stacking properly with legs under the dog, not extended behind the tail. Legs are straight seen from any angle. Then have the dog go around the ring to the end of the line. I like to see a Keeshond hold its carriage when moving around the ring; head above the back topline, not dropping and not below the backline. You want to see a smooth gait, not bouncing or pounding. I’ve told many that if you doubt the movement, observe the coat. If you see the coat swishing and bouncing, something is not correct in the structure of the dog. Trimming! Our standard states that trimming is not permissible and should be severely penalized. However, we are allowed to trim whiskers, front and rear feet, hocks and pasterns. Slight trimming around the anus for cleanliness is permissible. This is where it gets ticklish! I would estimate that every dog in the ring is trimmed to some degree. This was put in our standard when breeders and

is a mixture of silver and gray and should be profuse. Tail and pants are silver. Observation of chalking and dyeing the coat should be done at this time. Approach from the front to observe the head and front-end assembly. The head should be examined first. You want to see a nice wedge shape and a good stop. Please feel for that stop as some Kees- hond have an abundance of hair and it could hide the lack of the stop. You want a nice dark brown to black almond shaped eye with proper spectacles. “Spectacles are the Hallmark of our breed.” Spec- tacles are a fine, black line around the orbital area that extends from the corner of the eye which then flares up to the outside of the ear. Some handlers get carried away with markers. Please check to see that the spectacle lines aren’t enhanced. Ears should be triangular in shape and set well on the head with the tips extending upward. Ears are black and should not be trimmed. Next, check the bite. You want to see a scissors bite. You have the option of checking the bite now or after you have entirely gone over the dog. Regardless, the Keeshond should have a scissors bite. They should also have a black muzzle with dark pigmentation on lips and gums. Sometimes with age, you will see white on the muzzle. Check to make sure that there is pigmentation under the hairs. White muzzles could indicate mismarks. Pure black muzzles could indicate color enhancement. Next, check for the posternum. It should be obvious, but not protruding. You want to see sufficient width between the legs that is in balance with the dog. Check the amount of bone. This should be in balance with the dog. All legs should be straight seen from any angle. Walk around the side of the dog and place your hand on the withers. Find the width of the withers to determine if it is sufficient. Follow your hand down to the point of shoulder and from there to the elbow joint. You should feel that the elbows are close to the well rounded rib cage. The length of the shoulder, upper arm and elbow to ground should all be the same. Elbows should be directly below the withers. From there, feel the backbone and loin area. A Keeshond should have a short loin and, ideally, the topline should slope slightly to



Rula - six months old, female

Tug - seven months old, male

handlers were trimming; totally sculpting their dogs. We didn’t want that. This is a natural breed and we want them to be shown in a natu- ral state. Tidying in areas might be visible, but should not be obvi- ous. However, if you look at a Keeshond and every hair is in place and you see a perfect outline, more often than not, that dog has been overly trimmed and you should take that into consideration and judge accordingly. Remember, there is no perfect dog! However, please don’t penalize the dog when the handler is at fault. With regards to coat coloring, a Keeshond is dramatically colored and is basically silver and black. You want to see clear coloring with no smuttiness. Clean feet are desired. Penciling is acceptable on the feet. Note that a Keeshond puppy at six months of age probably won’t have any coloring in yet. You might see one that is completely beige with some black guard hairs protruding from its back. This is normal for this age. However, you want to see a black muzzle, spectacles, and black tipped ears to some degree at this age. This coloring increases with age and should be in around nine months of age. I have seen dozens of judges go to their Breed Standard when confronted with a dog of this age to see what to do with this puppy. Unfortunately, this is not covered extensively in our standard and causes some confusion for judges new to our breed. Coat texture should be straight, harsh, standing well out from a thick, downy undercoat. Coat texture is of paramount importance. Silky coats will feel extremely soft to the touch and will not stand out from the body. Wavy and curly coats are very incorrect. If the coat parts down the middle of the back it can mean that the dog lacks proper coat texture or the dog is out of coat. When examining the coat, don’t be afraid to get into that coat and feel the dog’s texture and struc- ture. A Keeshond coat should bounce back into shape with one shake. Coat length: As mentioned, a six-month-old puppy will not have its full adult coat in. This will come as the dog ages. A male Keeshond will typically have more coat than our bitches. They should be pre- sented with a full neck ruff, profuse pants and tail. Keeshond bitches typically have less coat and a tightly fitted coat. They should not be penalized for this. However, you will also see bitches having as much coat as their counterparts which is perfectly acceptable and should be applauded. Bitches lose their coat when they come in season so, at times, they will be what is referred to as “out of coat.” However, when

you compare an adult male to an adult female, a male should definitely portray a masculine look and a bitch should portray a feminine one. There should be no questions of deciding which sex they are when looking at one or the other. In closing, when you have picked your Best of Breed, I hope you have chosen a dog that free stacks properly, has a beautiful, dramatically marked coat, lovely silhouette, correct spectacles, a beautiful headpiece, and a dog that travels around the ring with his head up moving with grace. A word to the wise: Please do not talk to our Keeshond when they are on the ramp. They think that this gives them the right to wiggle and move out of their stack and possibly lick you. So, if you do, get ready for that kiss. Another suggestion...Keeshonds aren’t robots and we do not expect them to stand with ears up all the time in the ring. Once you’ve seen proper ear placement, go on to other important points. I hope that this gives you some idea on how to judge a Kees- hond. I also hope that you will learn to love this breed like I do. Happy judging. For any questions or further information please contact me or check my website at



What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? Th e head of a Keeshond is not typical of other breeds. A Keeshond must have spectacles. Th eir spectacles are the hallmark of our breed. Th e spec- tacle is actually the line that goes around the eye and then fans out and goes upward to the bottom of the outside of the ear. It is not the white that is inside this line. I also believe that the outline of a Keeshond makes them di ff er- ent than most breeds. Th e luxurious mane, the tail that curls on top of the back, and the full pants are typical of the breed. Th eir happy- go-lucky attitude and mischievousness is always evident. How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Our breed standard states that a male should be 18 inches and female 17 inches. A one-inch variance either way is acceptable. Cor- rect proportions are vital. Th e Keeshond is a square dog. Th e shoul- der, upper arm and leg shall all be of equal length. Th e highest point of the withers shall be in line with the elbow. Th e pelvis, thigh and lower leg shall all be of equal length, meeting at a well bent sti fl e joint. Th is makes a very balanced dog with moderate angulations. What about the Keeshond spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? As mentioned above, the spectacles are the hallmark of our breed and should always be present to some degree. Our standard states that a Keeshond is dramatically marked with a mixture of gray, black and cream. A Keeshond should never be smutty or tawny in coloring. Our breed standard speci fi cally dictates what our coloring should be, and without these traits it wouldn’t look like a Keeshond. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? A Kees- hond’s hair shaft is straight and because of this it does not matt like a Poodle. A thorough brushing once a week is all that needs to be done to make a Keeshond look groomed. Anyone can deal with this type of coat. A show dog does require bathing before a show. Our standard states that trimming is not permissible. We are allowed to trim whiskers, feet, pasterns and hocks. However, you will see more than that in the show ring. Many get carried away and “artfully” tidy up. You should never see a fully sculpted silhouette. Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik”? Do they really smile? Keeshonds are almost cat-like. Th ey are extremely clean and have no odor when kept clean. Th ey will usually only soil in the part of your lawn or area where you keep them. Th ey almost never walk or step in manure. It seems like they have radar on their feet. Yes, Keeshond do smile. Th at is why we call them the Smiling Dutchman. When they are happy, you can actually see them smile and you can see the twinkle in their eye. Th ey look right into your eyes as if they could read your mind. Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? Th ey are more than excellent in performance. While I’m not involved in agil- ity, I believe that the top agility dog is a Keeshond. Th ey hold all sorts of records in agility. Th ey seem to like work and having some- thing to do, which makes them great in all sorts of obedience work. Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Kees- hond? Th is is a story from years ago about one of my Best In Show Keeshonds (Ch. Star Kees Dingbat). Dingbat was a dog that I had to force feed to keep him at proper show weight. He never liked food until he retired from the ring. He was a dog that could go hours without fouling his crate and was always trustworthy in the house. Well, I was dating a man and he came to take me out to dinner. We left Dingbat at home. When we came home, maybe an hour later, Dingbat left a pile of manure at the front door. We had to step over it to get into the house. He had gone into the garbage and spewed the garbage into every corner of the house. I went upstairs to

1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs? 2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? 3. Th e Keeshond is an attractive dog. Were you initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? 4. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? 5. How important is correct size for the breed? Correct proportions? 6. What about the Keeshond’s spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? 7. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? 8. Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik?” Do they really smile? 9. Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? 10. Can you share a funny story about your experiences with the Keeshond? 11. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. JOANNE REED

Th e Windrift Keeshond Kennel is in Santa Rosa, California. I am a retired professional handler of mul- tiple breeds and have been a breed- er of several breeds. However, my main breed for over 50 years has been the Keeshond. I am currently on the Keeshond Breeder’s Educa- tion Committee and in charge of their Facebook account. I am also on the Keeshond Standard Revi- sion Committee. We are currently working on revising our standard.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Years ago, I used to break, train, show and breed Arabian horses. Now, I no longer have any horses and have devoted my life to my dogs. I have coached volleyball at the grammar school level. I have a 14-year-old daughter who is involved with club volleyball. I no longer coach, but now have the pleasure of watching her compete at a higher level. If we are not at a dog show, we are at a volleyball tournament. It makes life interesting and remarkably busy. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? I was tak- ing obedience lessons with my German Shepherd when I fi rst saw a Keeshond. It was love at fi rst sight. I have now been involved in the breed for 50 years, having produced more than 200 champions and hold all the records in the breed. I have produced more Hall of Fame Keeshonds, more Registration of Merit and Registration of Merit Excellence dogs (dogs and bitches) than anyone in the breed. Th e fi rst Keeshond that I saw was a wonderful specimen of the breed. His head with the lovely spectacles and his full coat was breathtaking. I had never seen a Keeshond before, and I could not take my eyes o ff him. He was also an excellent obedience dog. He performed every task with a smile on his face and a willingness to please. I was hooked from the fi rst encounter!



Th e Keeshond is a very outgoing breed. Th ey are very social, love people, and they think everyone has to pet them at least once or twice.

check what damage he could have done and found that he’d messed up my bedspread and then he peed on each pillow! Now, that took a lot of brain power to do what he did. All I could do was laugh the whole time I cleaned up the mess. Now, that was jealously! MARY ELLENMEYER My name is Mary Ellen Meyer.

When they get dirt on their coat or roll in the mud, the debris pelts o ff the outer guard coat as it dries. Brushing the coat keeps the coat clean and neat. Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Kees- hond? Everyone in this breed could probably write a book about their dogs and the crazy things they have done. Th e Keeshond is a clown. Th ey love to make us laugh and they keep our lives inter- esting, to say the least. Th ey truly live up to their nickname “the Smiling Dutchman” as they really do smile at us! Sometimes I think they smile to let us know that they are the boss and to show us that we really can’t outsmart them, even though we think we can. BETH BLANKENSHIP I live in North Carolina, where I am self employed. I have been involved in dogs for 32 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Photography, gardening, cooking—the usual. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? Yes, but tem- perament was the fi rst draw. While working in animal hospitals with many types of pets, I was drawn to the breed’s personality. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? Th e dramatically-marked coat and spectacles, but what is even more unique to me is how in-tune they are to their people. Th ey have a fun-loving, yet sensitive nature. How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Th ey are a compact, sturdy dog that is very agile, so they must remain medium in size and moderate in angulation and proportions. What about the Keeshond’s spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? It is very important to me as it dis- tinguishes them from other Spitz-type breeds. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? No, the cor- rect harsh coat with good texture and density is quite easy to brush and prepare for the home and the ring. Do Keeshonds really smile? Th ey sheepishly curl their lip and it looks like a smile, but it’s more of a, “Oh, am I in trouble?” Or, “Yes, I’m in trouble.” Th eir smile can also be seen when they are acting really silly. Th ey don’t all do it. Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? Oh my gosh, yes! Th eir eagerness to please, coupled with their intelligence and athleticism, is perfection. Th e downside is they are crafty and get bored with repetition. Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Kees- hond? I was just noticing the other day how my young male puppy knew exactly where to perch himself on my golf cart. Each male special here at Trumpet gets to parade around on my golf cart at shows. It’s really cute to me (and never gets old) that the fi ve-month- old took his place beside me on a short ride to the pond. I once had a young male leap onto the top of a fence and walk two exercise yards over to the female in-heat yard. He walked across the tops of the fences, jumped down into the next yard, then up over the fence again into the forbidden yard. Th ey are smart and frustrating, but I adore them!

I have been involved in the sport of dogs for almost 60 years, and in Keeshonden since 1971. I became an AKC Judge in 2000 and cur- rently judge the Non-Sporting Group, Toy Group and part of the Working Group. I have also had the honor of judging two Keeshond National Specialties.

I currently reside in Wisconsin and am retired from the Depart- ment of Veterans A ff airs. My kennel name is Markwright Kees- hond. Over the years, I have bred more than 150 Champions of Record, including National Specialty, Specialty-winning, and Hall of Fame dogs. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? I was origi- nally drawn to the breed while visiting my mother-in-law in Cali- fornia. She had a Keeshond as her family dog. I was so taken by my fi rst encounter with the breed; her dog Percy. I knew when I would return home, this would be my next dog. Th e Keeshond is a very outgoing breed. Th ey are very social, love people, and they think everyone has to pet them at least once or twice. Th ey are very loyal and fun loving. Th ey get along well with other pets (even cats), and, of course, make great family pets. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? Th e Keeshond’s great personality, eagerness to please and versatility dis- tinguishes itself from similar breeds. Th eir origin as a barge and farm dog in the Netherlands combined with their ability to be great companions and house-dogs makes them great all-around dogs. Th ey excel in obedience, agility, rally, fast cat, barn hunt, tracking and more! How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Th e Keeshond is a moderate dog. Preferred male height should be 18 inches, and bitches should be 17 inches, with a one inch over or under variance for both. Th is is the ideal size for a Keeshond, howev- er, we do not have any disquali fi cation for size in our breed standard. What about the Keeshond’s spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? Th is breed’s unique hallmarks are their spectacles (the dramatic markings around their eyes), their abundant and dramatically marked coats, their great outgoing per- sonalities and their infectious Keesie grin. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? Th e Kees- hond is a double-coated breed with a long, harsh outer coat and a dense, soft under coat. Having a Nordic type stand-o ff coat protects them from the cold in the winter and keeps them cool in the sum- mer. Th eir coats are unique in that they are almost self-cleaning.



COLLENE ESTERLY HAMM I fi rst got hooked on the

well!” I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “She barks, you reward her. She barks, you do it again and so on.” I then real- ized she had trained me very well, and I just laughed! KATHI FLEISCHER I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I’m a Project Manager. I’ve been involved with dogs my whole life. I got my fi rst Keeshond almost 40 years ago and I’ve never looked back. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? My dogs are my passion and my life revolves around them. Th at sounds sad to some, but it’s what I love to do. Now that we are on lockdown from COVID-19, I realize how much more important shows and visiting with my dog friends are to me. I’m really missing it. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? Actually, my mother picked the Keeshond breed and surprised me with my fi rst Kees named “Tubette” when I was in third grade. My teacher, Ms. Fields, showed Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers and invited my mother to her training club to help her pick a breed. From there, I started traveling to shows with Tubette’s breeder and I was hooked. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? Kees- honden are known for their stando ffi sh coat, beautiful silhouettes, and happy, silly temperaments. I cannot imagine my life without one, or in my case, many. Th ey are truly the sweetest dogs. Th ey can be a little too clingy for some people, though. All my Kees follow me from room to room. Th ey can also alert owners to every leaf, squirrel and person near their territory. How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Th e ideal height for male Kees is 18 inches, measured from the withers, and for females it’s 17 inches (with an inch variance allowed either way). Frankly, I think our breed is getting too small. A heavy coat can help give the illusion of correct size. Th e breed should also be “square-appearing.” What about the Keeshond’s spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? Spectacles are a combination of markings and shadings which must include a dark line slanting from the outward corner of the eye to the lower corner of the ear. Spectacles and expression are a distinctive feature of our breed and are very important. Lack of spectacles is considered a serious fault. As it relates to color, they should be dramatically marked with a mixture of grey, black and cream. Color can vary from light to dark. I specialed a light dog that the judges either loved or would dump when in a lineup of darker dogs. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? Some people fear the Keeshond coat, but care is easy. Th e breed does require frequent line brushing, but the coat doesn’t mat unless, maybe, in extreme circumstances with lack of care for an extended peri- od of time. Th e coat repels water (i.e., they shake o ff water and dirt). I generally brush my crew every one-to-two weeks. Th e good thing about this breed is that they do not smell and can be bathed infrequently. Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik?” Do they really smile? I’ll be honest, I have never heard the Keeshond breed described as a “neatnik.” Th ey are generally clean, do not smell, and have very little dander (as can occur with other breeds). Keeshonden are a double-coated breed and when losing undercoat you generally have to brush it out with a pin brush or slicker. Keeshonden are very silly. Th ey do smile, and some are quite talkative which can be a little scary unless you know the breed. Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? Keeshon- den are very intelligent, easily trainable and food motivated. Th ey are extremely well-suited for performance events and many in our breed are highly competitive in obedience, agility, rally, etc.

Keeshond breed when I was 14 and living on a farm. My father brought home a four-year-old male Keeshond from a rescue and I instantly fell in love. I named him Smokey, and he quickly became my best friend. Smokey went everywhere with me...even when horseback rid- ing for miles. He never left my

side. When I learned to hunt (yes, girls do hunt), he would follow me in the woods and sit with me until the deer would come, and then proceed to chase them away. Needless to say, he learned he could not go hunting with me anymore if we wanted to eat deer meat. At 19, I got married and wanted to start raising Keeshonds. It took me two years to fi nd my second Keeshond. I had bought her from a lady named Mrs. John Craley. She was in her 70s and taught me everything there is about raising this breed. By age 24, I had 15 adult Keeshonds and two children. When the children were born, I discovered that this was the perfect breed of dog to raise a family with. My Keeshonds loved the kids and were very gentle with them. I’m now in my 40s and have 18 adult Keeshonds. Some are currently retired and enjoying life, and some are busy breeding the cute, new puppies to make others smile! Select dogs are being raised to carry on our bloodline. Th ese dogs are ther- apy for anyone who buys them, because you can’t help but feel so good around them. I live in Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, where I own a fl ower and gift shop. I have been involved in Keeshonds for 38 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I love to grow fl owers and make wreaths to sell in my store. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? Th e Kees- hond puppy looks like a beautiful bear. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? Th e temperament of a Keeshond is very di ff erent from other dogs. Th ey think they are a person! How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Th e ideal height of a fully matured dog, when measured from top of withers to the ground, is 18 inches for males and 17 inches for bitch- es—a one inch variance either way is acceptable. Th e ideal weight is 28 to 48 pounds, depending on the size of the dog. Spectacles are very important. It should look like they were just done with eyeliner. As long as the dog is not one solid color; they vary in markings and shades of silver, black and gray. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? Th e coat should be brushed well at least once a week. Growing puppies should be brushed at least fi ve minutes per day to teach them to love grooming and to keep up with the sheep wool thing they have going on. Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik?” Do they really smile? Keeshonden are called the smiling Dutchman. I have 27 grown Keeshond dogs and many do smile. People sometimes think they are growling. I tell them, “Never, they are smiling at you!” Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? A Kees- hond will do anything you teach them as long as the reward is food. Th ey do anything for food! Th is breed is very smart. Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Kees- hond? I had a girl about 20 years ago that would not stop barking when I was trying to talk on the phone. So, I would give her a treat to chew so I could hear the phone call. Well, one day my husband saw what was going on and said, “Wow, she has you trained very



Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Kees- hond? As I said earlier, Kees can be a very silly and social breed. I had a dog that would hop from grooming table to grooming table. I would turn to get something out of my grooming box and he would be down the aisle visiting with someone else on their table. ELIZABETH FORTINO It all began in 1989, when a

Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? Not all, but many have an amazing athletic ability to run and jump. Th ey are very intelligent and catch on quickly. I have one that insists that the other side of the six foot fence is better, and climbs up and over! Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Keeshond? Keeshonden are clowns by nature and very playful. During obedience, my four-year-old, Tank, decided in the middle of his o ff -leash competition that it was play time! His front went down and his rear was wagging. I knew then that we were fi nished. He ran around the ring as if to say, “Look at me,” and then tried to bolt out the opening. I retrieved him, and my red face and I left the ring disquali fi ed! Th ey love to embarrass you. Is there anything else I would like to share about the breed? It is unfortunate that the double coat on this breed deters many by assuming a lot of maintenance is needed. Th ey are one of the best companion dogs I have ever owned. SHANNON KELLY I live in Rickreall, Oregon, just west of Salem. I have 46 years in Keeshonds. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Gardening and hanging out at the beach. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? I was attract- ed to the Keeshond’s size, coloring, plush coat and amazing tem- perament. I also love their head and expression. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? I think the Keeshond is more agile than many of the similar breeds. Th ey have a whimsical, charming temperament that is extremely easy to live with. Th ey are smart and easy to train. How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Our standard says, “Size shall not outweigh quality.” As a breeder, I strive to produce Kees bitches close to 17 inches and males 18 inches. Type and quality are more important to me than size. As a breed, over the years we have tended to swing from small-to-large- to-medium over and over. What about the Keeshond’s spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? Spectacles are important as they give the Keeshond its signature expression. As for coloring, Keeshonds can be light or dark—all shades are appropriate. You will fi nd that some judges prefer light and some want a darker dog. As puppies, most Keeshonds are light and judges can be fooled because a young dog has very light, almost absent markings, but is totally correct for a youngster. Keeshonds get darker and their markings more de fi nite as they get older. Sometimes if a puppy is very dark as a youngster, the markings can disappear into a very dark dog in later life. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? We call the Keeshond the “lazy man’s glamour dog” as they are actually easy to keep groomed. With training as a youngster, they are easy to keep in good condition as long as they are brushed out every 10-14 days. My Keeshonds love to be groomed. Th ey eagerly jump on the grooming table to be groomed. Th ey love to look pretty. Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik?” Do they really smile? As puppies, Keeshonds are just as messy and sloppy as most puppies. But as adults, they do tend to like to be clean and groomed. Mine don’t like to go out in the rain or get their feet muddy or soiled. Th ey do tend to clean their feet like cats. Keeshonds do tend to smile, some more than others. Life to a Keeshond is fun and silly, but the breed is also extremely attuned to their owner’s emotions. Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? Keeshonds are probably one of the top fi ve-ten performance breeds. Th ey are fast, agile, smart, quick to learn and love to show o ff . Th at being said, they can sometimes be challenging as they are often smarter than their owners. Th e Keeshond was made for agility and rally. Being food oriented makes them easy to train.

Keeshond rescue named Timber found its way into my home and heart. I grew up with many dif- ferent breeds of dogs, though the Keeshond was not among them. A couple years later a puppy named Tug came to my home as company for Timber. Th ey were wonder- ful companions and lived to be 14 and 13 years of age. In 1996, Cin-

der joined Tug to keep him happy, but came with a contract that required me to “show her” and complete her championship. I was “hooked” after the fi rst show. Richwood’s Special Forces “Tank” came to join our family and went on to win many championship titles in Rally and Obedience, and Conformation, including Reserve Best in Show at a UKC com- petition. He also received his Canadian Championship. Daughter to Tank, KeeNorth All About U Haiti, went on to achieve her Silver Grand Championship, Best of Opposite at Eukanuba in 2011 and Best of Breed competition and 2013. She then took Select Bitch at her fi rst Westminster competition in 2014. I remain an Owner-Handler, breeding, raising, grooming and showing my own dogs. My goal is to produce quality Keeshon- den representative of the breed standard in health, soundness and structure. I have met and learned from selective breeder-mentors to determine which type of dog I like and desire to breed, carefully selecting a dog by pedigree and hands-on observation. I live in Roscommon, Michigan, where I am a State Farm Agent. I have been involved in dogs for 30 years. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? Traveling and camping. Was I initially attracted to the breed’s appearance? No, my fi rst Keeshond was a small male rescue with a knee injury. He was fi ve when a friend dropped him o ff and said, “You guys need a dog and this dog needs a home. Keep him for a week and see how it goes.” Knee surgery, nine years of companionship and joy is how it went. What distinguishes the Keeshond from similar breeds? Friendli- ness and compassion. Th ey love children and will be protective of them and family members. Th ey are great guard dogs. How important is correct size and proportions for the breed? Anything taller than 18 inches would be incorrect. It seems size is getting smaller and a cause for concern. All breeds have a standard that we, as breeders, can aspire to meet for the betterment of the breed. Attitude can be just as important when competing. What about the Keeshond’s spectacles? How much emphasis is placed on color and markings? One of the distinguishing markings of this breed. Th e more prominent, the better. Color and markings are part of the whole package when being examined. Does the stand-o ff coat require a great deal of care? Not when kept in a clean atmosphere, brushed once a week and a bath every six weeks. Trim toenails every two weeks. Th ey shed like tumble- weeds with a clump of hair in the corner. Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik?” Do they really smile? No, not the boys! Th e girls tend to keep things cleaner. Yes, and it is quite comical, their way of talking back at you!


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