Description & History

The Keeshond, also known as the Dutch Barge Dog, is the national dog of Holland and a member of the Spitz group.

These attractive dogs came originally from the Low Countries. They are great favourites in the Netherlands today, but they were not always so popular in the past.

The Keeshond - pronounced Kayzhond - is named after Cornelius (Kees) de Gyzeluar a political leader who led his party against the House of Orange and its supporters in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

Cornelius, a great dog lover, chose the Keeshond to be his mascot. With the restoration of the House of Orange the breed lost its popularity and because of this they were seldom to be seen in the towns. They still continued to live on the farms and waterways where they were used to control vermin and as guard dogs. They were invaluable to the bargees as they plied the Rhine between Holland and Germany; from this originated the name Dutch Barge Dog.

The breed was first introduced to Great Britain in 19O2 by the parents of the late Mrs Wingfield Digby of Sherborne, Dorset. They were exhibited by her after the First World War under the name Dutch Barge Dog.

In 1926 the breed standard was drawn up and, at the suggestion of the British Kennel Club, they were re-registered as Keeshonds.

They are excellent companions and guards, but are nevertheless independently minded - a characteristic to be found in all Spitz breeds.

The Keeshond does not reqiure a large amount of exercise apart from the daily walk. Nevertheless an occasional walk in the country is much appreciated, so that it can develop its sporting intincts.

Rosamund Walters.

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