Showsight August 2020


brown to yellow, which are incorrect) and strive for the silver in my breeding program. Does the stand-off coat require a great deal of care? Coat care in the Kees doesn’t take as much time as one may think. Kees don’t shed all year round like some sporting or working breeds. If they do, there is probably an underlying problem with diet or an endocrine system imbalance. Also, Kees hair is fur. It doesn’t stick in couches or carpets, etc. It appears as dust bunnies. I do weekly grooming on my Kees so they don’t get matted or look unkempt. Brushing down to the skin (with proper tools) allows the coat and the skin to breathe. Kees don’t have a doggy odor nor do they have flakey skin. If so, there would be an underlying reason for that. It is very impor- tant to keep the toenails short to maintain the cat foot shape. This allows Kees to move properly with the distinctive, brisk gait that is straight and sharp (as long as they are built correctly). Is it true that the Keeshond is a “neatnik?” Do they really smile? Most Kees do not like to be in dirty crates, kennel runs or smelly areas. If they are raised in a dirty, unkempt environment as pup- pies, they can get used to being that way. Puppies raised right in the home environment, in sanitary, clean conditions will stay this way into adulthood. My Kees get upset if they get exposed to something yucky and will come to me to clean them up. Yes, Kees do smile, some more than others. Are Keeshonden well-suited for performance events? As a person who does agility, rally and obedience as well as having some of my Kees owned by those who do herding, water work and flyball, I can say many are well-suited. However, most Kees love food, so a

“couch potato” Kees would have to be conditioned first with excess weight taken off before attempting performance events, otherwise doing so could result in injuries. Too many people (in any breed) think they can take a companion dog out to do some of these sports forgetting about fitness and muscle tone. In training some of my own Kees for events, I have found that not every Kees has the drive and determination to love, for example, agility. If a dog doesn’t real- ly have the zest, I move on to another venue for them. Can I share a funny story about my experiences with the Kees- hond? Once upon a time, I had a Kees named Chipper. He was a true clown Kees, silly and funny. He had already earned his AKC Champion title and had placed in the Group many times with me, his owner-handler. I trained him for his Companion Dog title (obe- dience) and took him to his first trial near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He did fine on his individual exercises. When it came to the long down (which is a three minute stay with no change in body posi- tion), I gave him the “down” command. He did down and then immediately flipped on his back with his feet in the air. While that was OK at that time, since I had not told him to stay yet, I was holding my breath after giving the stay command walking across the floor to the opposite mat while the three minutes ticked away ever so slowly. Imagine my surprise when Chipper did not change his position, he just stayed there on his back with his feet in the air until I came back into heel position by his side to hear the judge say, “Exercise finished.” Chipper got his first leg and there was a small cheering section of friends clapping for us.

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