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. They 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 off-leash competition that it was play time! His front went down and his rear was wagging. I knew then that we were finished. 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 disqualified! They 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. They 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. They have a whimsical, charming temperament that is extremely easy to live with. They 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 find 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 definite 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-off 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. They eagerly jump on the grooming table to be groomed. They 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. They 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 five-ten performance breeds. They are fast, agile, smart, quick to learn and love to show off. That being said, they can sometimes be challenging as they are often smarter than their owners. The 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. They 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 first 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 first 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 first Keeshond was a small male rescue with a knee injury. He was five when a friend dropped him off 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. They love children and will be protective of them and family members. They 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. The more prominent, the better. Color and markings are part of the whole package when being examined. Does the stand-off 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. They 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! The girls tend to keep things cleaner. Yes, and it is quite comical, their way of talking back at you!
192 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2020
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