The breed served for
countless years on small vessels called rijnaken,
that were found in great numbers on the Rhine River. The
origin is Arctic, or possibly Sub-Arctic, and it is of
the same strains that produced the Samoyed, the Chow
Chow, the Norwegian Elkhound, the Finnish Spitz, and the
Pomeranian. The Keeshond has changed little in the past
In the latter part of the
18th century, he was in the public eye as the symbol of
the Patriots, and when the Prince of Orange established
his party as the dominant one, few people wanted the dog
that stood for the opposition. Many who owned Keeshonden
disposed of them quietly, and only the most loyal
maintained the breed. The breed was at very low ebb
until 1920, at which time the Baroness van Hardenbroek
became so interested in the old breed that she undertook
an investigation to see how much of the old stock
survived. The breed had passed from public attention,
but it was still kept in its original form by certain
captains of riverboats, by farmers and by truckmen. The
Baroness began breeding Keeshonden and spread their
story throughout Europe. Within ten years she brought
the breed to such a solid position that the Dutch
Keeshond Club was established.
As early as 1925, Keeshonden
were in England and making a very good impression. The
breed was accepted for registration by the American
Kennel Club in 1930, and early development in this
country, with few exceptions, was based on imports from
England, which were in turn the product of British
importations from Holland and Germany.
Keeshond Did You Know?
The plural of Keeshond is Keeshonden.
The Keeshond originated in Holland.
It took a national political turnover in Holland to bring the
Keeshond to wide attention in the latter part of
the 18th century. Holland was split between the
partisans of the Prince of Orange and the
Patriots, and the Patriots (principally the
bourgeoisie) were led by Kees de Gyselaer, who
owned a dog named Kees. Kees gave the Keeshond
breed its name and became the symbol of the
The Keeshond, due to
its political affiliations, was featured in
countless pictures and cartoons that were
attached to Dutch political strife.
Before its political
ties, the Keeshond was mainly a barge dog,
serving on numerous vessels on the Rhine.
The origin of the
Keeshond is Arctic or possibly sub-Arctic.