I currently own, train and show two female Keeshonds. Tomikees Made in Heaven is shown opposite, whilst Winklestar Serendipity is shown below. The Keeshond also known as the Dutch barge dog, the smiling Dutchman or the Wolf Spitz, originate from Holland. The name of the Dutch Barge Dog came from the fact they were often seen working as alert dogs on the barges travelling up and down the canals in Holland.
In 1781 Holland was divided by two political factions, the Orangists (Conservatives) who supported the Prince of Orange and the rebellious Patriots (or Keezen). Cornelius de Gyselaar had one of these dogs as his constant companion and was a leader in the patriot’s revolt. Kees is a nickname in the Netherlands for Cornelius so the breed became known as Keeshond (hond meaning dog), it became the emblem of the Dutch Party. It is thought that after suppression of the patriots rebellion, many Keeshond were done away with for fear that owning one would indicate an affiliation with the defeated rebels.
They were brought to England in 1905 by Mrs Wingfield Digby of Sherborne Castle, and was first shown in England in 1923, and the Keeshond club was formed in 1925. They are a very loving and loyal breed but do like the sound of their own voice! They can be very stubborn but training is made fairly easy as they adore food and also love to please their human.
I first came across this breed in 1986 when a friend of my mother had her first Keeshond Oliver who I used to handle in Junior Handling. I continued showing but different breeds, about 2 and half years ago I was very lucky to buy my first Keeshond bitch from the very same lady who’s dog I used to show. Rhea has grown in to a fantastic show dog, among her accolades she has won 2 Reserve CCs (one at crufts 2018) a best bitch, and best of breed at championship level and a CACIB in Belgium. I started bringing Rhea to Chippenham to train when she was about 16 months old. It then seemed natural to bring my new puppy Arya when I got her in 2017, under the watchful eye of the trainers at Chippenham she has also grown to be a very good show dog herself having already at the age of 12 months had a Reserve Best bitch and championship level and numerous puppy group placings.
Once owned by this fabulous breed I think I always will be.