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A number of years ago, we adopted a dog named Scruffy.  True to his name, he was a very scruffy looking dog.  At the time, Darryl and I had never heard of the Keeshond breed.  We just knew that this dog was less likely to be adopted than others at the shelter as he was 6 years old, very hairy, and barked a lot.

We had Scruffy for 6 years, until his death in 2007.  Darryl wrote a book about his life with Scruffy – Scruffy the Legend – which can be purchased on   During that time we learned a lot about Keeshonden.

Our friend Margaret’s Keeshond, KeeKee, passed away in November 2008. She was determined to rescue another Keeshond and searched the web for a dog needing a home. She found an ad for 2 Keeshonden looking for a new home. She had room in home for one Keeshond, not two. She called to see if we would like to adopt the other dog.

Margaret, along with Margaret’s husband Dave, and I drove to the Bronx to meet the dogs, Nikki and Charlie. Margaret called the owners to let them know we were on our way. She told Margaret they would go pick the dogs up from their parents’ house, where they had been living because their new baby was allergic to the dogs. We sat waiting in Dave’s van in front of the house. Every time a car drove up, Margaret excitedly looked to see if there were Keeshonden heads poking up from the back seat.

While waiting, we pooled the money the owners had requested for the dogs. The owners had purchased the dogs from a breeder and asked for a small amount of money for the dogs. Being a bit of a scatter-brain, I thought I had placed the money in my wallet. Looking in the wallet, I found only $40, not the $100 I was expecting to find. Between Margaret and Dave, they dug up the additional $60 needed for Charlie. Between the 3 of us, we had exactly $100.

The dogs were beautiful and obviously well cared for. We put the dogs into the van. The dogs thoroughly explored the back of the van, smelling Stu and Tyler, Margaret’s other dogs, who had ridden in the van only the day before.

Dave drove back to New Jersey, crossing the G.W. Bridge and headed on to the Turnpike. As he took the ticket for the toll from the machine, I asked if anyone had the money to pay the toll for the exit. There wasn’t a dollar bill among the 3 of us. Margaret and I searched on the floor and in the ashtrays of the van for coins. We found $1.35, just enough to cover the toll for the first exit, which Dave promptly took. Fortunately, we found ourselves on Route 3 and located a cash machine just a short drive down the road.

When we got to our house, we took Charlie and Nikki out of the van. Margaret and Dave each took a Keeshond and walked down the street with them. I went into the house to get Ruby. The idea being, Ruby would think it was a chance meeting of dogs and it would give her the opportunity to meet Charlie on neutral territory. As the dogs approached each other on the side walk, there was only curiosity. I took Charlie’s leash from Dave and walked both dogs together to the backyard. I released them in the enclosed part of the yard. They sniffed each other, but for the most part, just ignored each other. It looked like Charlie would be a very smooth addition to the family.

Keeshond facts

They are known as Wolfspitz (Germany), Chiens Loup (France), Lupini (Italy), and Keeshonden (Holland).

Life expectancy around 12-15 years

Originates from the Netherlands, where they were originally bred as watchdogs, good-luck companions, and vermin controllers on river boats, farms and barges.

The double coat  is dense, straight, and long, and these dogs have a beautiful, regal looking ruff of dense hair around the neck.

The first American litter was bred in 1929 by Carl Hinderer of Baltimore, MD.

The first Keeshond was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1930 in the Non-Sporting Group.

The Keeshond coat requires quite a bit of maintenance.  Recommendation is for up to 2 hours of brushing weekly to prevents mats.  There is a definite difference between Charlie, the Keeshond and Ruby, the Beagle.  Ruby requires a bath every 2 weeks, otherwise, she stinks of hound musk.   Charlie on the other hand is a self-grooming dog and with proper care will not have “doggie odor”.  He is more cat-like in this respect.  In the 6 years that we owned Scruffy, we never bathed him.  Just brushed him.

The Keeshond is a double coated breed. This coat consists of a woolly undercoat and longer guard hairs.  Twice a year, Keeshonden “blow” their undercoats, that is, they shed their undercoats completely. It is a very intense shedding period that can last up to three weeks from start to finish. Very detailed article on grooming the Keeshond can be found here.

Darryl maintains an ongoing journal of life with Ruby and Charlie on his blog.  Read the stories on   To read stories that I write abou the dogs, click on their name on the tag cloud on the left side of this page.