Showsight Presents The Keeshond

KEESHOND Q&A

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

190 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020

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