A breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for purpose. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be in any way detrimental to the health, welfare and soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.
Short, compact body, confident carriage. Fox-like head with small pointed ears, alert expression, large ruff, well feathered tail curled over back. Clear differentiation in size between the sexes, with males obviously masculine but never coarse: bitches feminine but without weakness of structure.
Sturdy, intelligent and adaptable, ideal companion, good watch dog.
Confident, alert and friendly. Always ready to raise the alarm.
Head and Skull
Well proportioned, wedge shaped when seen from above; from side showing definite stop. Dark muzzle equal to length of flat skull. Neither coarse nor snipey. Nose black.
Dark, medium size, almond-shaped, obliquely set. Well defined ’spectacles‘ shown as a delicately pencilled black line slanting from outer corner of eye to lower corner of ear, coupled with distinct marking and shading forming expressive short eyebrows.
Dark, small ivy-leafed in shape. Erect, velvety texture. Well set on head, neither too wide nor meeting.
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Lips black.
Moderately long and arched, covered with thick, profuse coat forming large ruff.
Shoulders well sloped. Straight front of medium width with good bone.
Short, compact; length from withers to tail equal to height at withers, well sprung in rib. Good depth of brisket.
Strong muscled, hindlegs straight when viewed from behind. Hock showing slight angulation when viewed from side, profuse light-coloured trousers down to hocks.
Well padded, round, cat-like, tight, cream in colour; black nails.
Moderately long, high-set, tightly curled over back, double curl highly desirable. Light plume on top where curled, with black tip, carried closely at all times.
Clean, brisk, straight and sharp.
Harsh, off standing, straight. Dense ruff, well feathered on forelegs and profuse trousers, not feathered below hock. Soft, thick, light-coloured (not tawny) undercoat. Never silky, wavy or woolly, nor forming a parting on back. Any shortening of the coat which alters the natural outline should be penalised, with the exception of feet and pasterns which may be lightly trimmed.
A mixture of grey and black. Undercoat very pale grey or cream (not tawny). All shades of grey acceptable, body hairs black tipped. Shoulder markings well defined and all markings definite. Forelegs and hocks cream with no black below wrist or hock. Pencilling acceptable.
Ideal height: dogs: 46 cms (18 ins); bitches: 43 cms (17 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Published with the kind permission from the Kennel Club
© The Kennel Club
During several committee meetings held in 2011, both The Keeshond Club and the North of England Keeshond Club discussed and unanimously agreed upon the following point – ‘Excessively long coats’ to be included for a Breed Watch submission; as decisions made by judges in the show ring strongly influence future breeding plans and both clubs are concerned that incorrect Keeshonden are being bred from. Whilst it might not be considered to be a health issue at the present moment, both clubs’ are very concerned that it could very easily become one if not checked in time.
The following point has now been approved by The Kennel Club General Committee and Keeshonds are now Category 2 : Excessively long coats.
The breed standard states: “Harsh, off-standing, straight. Dense ruff, well feathered on forelegs and profuse trousers, not feathered below hock. Soft, thick, light-coloured (not tawny) undercoat. Never silky, wavy or woolly, nor forming a parting on back.”
A correct coat can be all of these essentials without being long; nowhere in the standard does it mention length of coat or glamour. An incorrect, long coat is capable of hiding serious constructional faults and both clubs are concerned that dogs’ are sometimes being judged on appearance only. Attention should be paid to the anatomical outline of the dog, exclusive of coat.
Keeshonds were originally bred to be watch dogs on barges; their harsh outer guard hairs’ repelling dirt and the thick double coat is an insulator, keeping them warm in winter and cool in summer. Excessively long coats, which are often silky or woolly in texture, are not only incorrect; they have poor insulating properties to stop the dog from over-heating in hot weather. These types of coats are also a liability in wet weather and in water. Incorrect coats are time consuming and difficult to groom and if not done regularly and properly, can result in the coat becoming thickly matted with resultant skin problems. Keeshonds should possess an all-weather, almost water proof coat.
This is not a new problem as the following extract demonstrates.
Dog World Breed Notes June 1959 – Fred Greenwood (Wistonia)
As a more or less lone crusader for many years I have repeatedly pointed out that a long flowing coat was out of place in the breed. Apparently this type of coat was so prevalent amongst the exhibits at a recent show that at last something may be done about it.
Some time ago a joint committee of the two breed clubs got out a list of suggestions to judges on various points they thought needed clarification. Suggestions on what lines the breed need improvement and the question of coats was dealt with. These suggestions have gone out to judges and will no doubt help bring the ‘fashion’ a little more closely allied to the breed standard. Judges worthy of the name will give the suggestions their close attention and work accordingly; in this way will the breed be improved along the lines laid down in the Standard.
Breed Watch is an area of the Kennel Club’s website which will serve as a constantly updated alert to all interested parties, but with dog show judges in mind in particular, to any undesirable trends or exaggerations that may be emerging in particular breeds.
The introduction on the Kennel Club’s website for Breed Watch is that:
- The decisions made by judges in the show ring strongly influence future breeding plans
- Judges must take conformation related health problems and temperament into account when making their decisions as well as breed type
- All show dogs should be Fit for Function: Fit for Life http://www.fitforfunction.org.uk/
- Judges should never award prizes to dogs which are visibly suffering from any condition which would adversely affect their health or welfare. For example:
- Obvious breathing difficulty
- Significantly over or under weight dogs
- Lameness, including hopping
- A discharge from one or both eyes or any signs of discomfort in either eye
- Obvious skin or ear irritation
- Inappropriate temperament – refusal to be handled, timidity or aggression
- Exaggerations that would make the dog unsuited to the breed’s original purpose
- A judge is expected to make such decisions based on their extensive experience of dogs as owners and breeders – they are not expected to display the knowledge of a veterinary surgeon and should not undertake any extra examination of a dog other than that which they would normally perform in assessing general fitness and breed type.
- Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard. There will then follow a description of any breed-specific points of concern which have been received by the Kennel Club. This information will be frequently updated, ensuring that the Breed Watch pages serve as a record of any concerns which judges should be aware of when judging a breed at a dog show.