The Keeshond (/ˈkeɪz.hɒnd/ kayz-hond; plural: Keeshonden) is a medium-sized dog with a plush two-layer coat of silver and black fur with a ruff and a curled tail. It originated in the Netherlands, and its closest relatives are the German spitzes such as the Großspitz, Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz or Pomeranian. Originally called the German Spitz, more specifically the Wolfspitz, the name was officially changed to Keeshond, in 1926 in England, where it had been known as the Dutch Barge Dog.
A member of the spitz group of dogs, the Keeshond in American Kennel Club (AKC) standard is 17 inches (43 cm) to 18 inches (46 cm) tall and 19.25 inches (48.9 cm) ± 2.4 inches (6.1 cm) in the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) standard and weighs 30 pounds (14 kg) to 40 pounds (18 kg). Sturdily built, they have a typical spitz appearance, neither coarse nor refined. They have a wedge-shaped head, a medium-length muzzle with a definite stop, small pointed ears, and an expressive face. The tail is tightly curled and, in profile, should be carried such that it is indistinguishable from the compact body of the dog.
Like all spitz-type dogs, the Keeshond has a dense double coat, with a thick ruff around the neck. Typically, the males of this breed will have a thicker, more pronounced ruff than the females. The body should be abundantly covered with long, straight, harsh hair standing well out from a thick, downy undercoat. The hair on the legs should be smooth and short, except for a feathering on the front legs and 'trousers', as previously described, on the hind legs. The hair on the tail should be profuse, forming a rich plume. Head, including muzzle, skull, and ears, should be covered with smooth, soft, short hair—velvety in texture on the ears. Coat must not part down the back.
Coat care requires line brushing on a fairly regular basis. The Keeshond typically 'blows' its undercoat once a year for males, twice a year for females. During this time, the loss of coat is excessive and their guard hairs will lie flat to their back. It usually takes 2 weeks for the 'blow' to complete, in order for new undercoat to begin growing back in. A Keeshond should never be shaved, as their undercoat provides a natural barrier against heat and cold. Keeping their coat in good condition will allow efficient insulation in both hot and cold weather.
The colour should be a mixture of grey and black. The undercoat should be very pale grey or cream (not tawny). The hair of the outer coat is black tipped, the length of the black tips producing the characteristic shading of colour. The colour may vary from light to dark, but any pronounced deviation from the grey colour is not permissible. The plume of the tail should be very light grey when curled on back and the tip of the tail should be black. Legs and feet should be cream. Ears should be very dark - almost black.
Shoulder line markings (light grey) should be well defined. The colour of the ruff and 'trousers' is generally lighter than that of the body. 'Spectacles' and shadings, as later described, are characteristic of the breed and must be present to some degree. There should be no pronounced white markings.
According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, the legs and feet are to be cream; feet that are totally black or white are severe faults. Black markings more than halfway down the foreleg, except for pencilling, are faulted.
The other important marking is the 'spectacles,' a delicate dark line running from the outer corner of each eye toward the lower corner of each ear, which, coupled with markings forming short eyebrows, is necessary for the distinct expressive look of the breed. All markings should be clear, not muddled or broken. Absence of the spectacles is considered a serious fault. The eyes should be dark brown, almond-shaped with black eye rims. Ears should be small, dark, triangular, and erect.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeshond
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