Cultural Corner: The Cold Weather Keeshond

It’s getting wintry, so we’re focusing for the next few months on cold weather dogs The Keeshond is one of our favorite dogs that comes with his own winter coat! Keeshonds are medium-sized pups with curly tails and a plush two-layer coat of silver and black.

The breed was originally called the Wolfspitz, and originated in Germany, and its closely relatied to the German sptizes ( Großspitz, Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz/Pomeranian).

The Keeshond name came from England in the roaring ’20s, where the dog was known as the Dutch Barge Dog. Even now, Keeshond’s have the nickname of “The Smiling Dutchman,” and from this picture – you can see why!

The Keeshond was named after the 18th-century Dutch Patriot, Cornelis (Kees) de Gijzelaar. He lead the rebellion against the House of Orange. The Keeshond became the rebels’ symbol; and, when the House of Orange returned to power, this breed almost disappeared. (The word ‘keeshond’ is a compound word: ‘Kees’ is a nickname for Cornelius (de Gyselaer), and ‘hond’ is the Dutch word for dog)

The Keeshond is a bit of a regional legend in the DMV. Getting the Keeshond into the American Kennel Club was difficult, as Germany and thus German dogs during and after World War I were not in favor with Americans. Carl Hinderer, a prominent dog breeder and shower, emigrated in 1923. His German Champion Wolfspitz (now Keeshond) followed him two by two in 1926. At that time, the Wolfspitz/Keeshond was not recognized by the AKC. Consequently, Carl had to register each puppy with his club in Germany. Despite this, Carl joined the Maryland KC and attended local shows.

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