The Keeshond is a naturally handsome dog with a sturdy, well-balanced body, a fluffy coat and an endearing, fox-like facial expression. This is a medium-sized breed that should not be either extremely fine-boned or coarse. Keeshonds have an alert carriage. They are distinguished by a thick, wolf-ish gray coat, with a spectacular ruff of fur around their neck and darker shading on their face. Keeshonds have fully-plumed tails that curl tightly over their backs. A double curl is preferred. They have the pointed muzzles and tiny, velvety pricked ears that characterize many of their spitz-type cousins.
Size and Weight
The ideal height of fully matured Keeshonds when measured from the ground to the top of withers to the ground is 18 inches for males and 17 inches for females. A one-inch variance either way is acceptable. Adults of this breed range in weight from 55 to 65 pounds. While correct size is an important Keeshond characteristic, it should not outweigh that of correct breed type.
Coat and Color
The Keeshond’s body is abundantly covered with long, straight, fairly harsh hair that stands out from a dense, downy undercoat. Its head is covered with smoother, softer, shorter hair. The Keeshond’s coat is longer around the neck, shoulders and chest, forming an impressive, lion-like mane that is particularly prominent in males. Their rump and hind legs are also thickly-coated, forming the characteristic "trousers." The backs of all four legs have profuse feathering. In the show ring, Keeshonds are shown in a natural state; trimming is only permitted on the feet, pasterns, hocks and muzzle to tidy-up their appearance.
The Keeshond’s coat color is a dramatic mixture of gray, black and cream. Some dogs are darker than others. The tips of the outercoat hairs are black, which creates the shading patterns that are so recognizable in this breed. The Keeshond’s undercoat is a pale gray or cream that should have no hint of red or brown. Puppies are usually less intensely marked than adults. The Keeshond’s muzzle and ears should be very dark, preferably jet black. Its expression depends in large part on the presence of characteristic dark "spectacles" around the eyes, which must include a delicate yet distinctive dark line slanting from the outer corner of each eye toward the lower corner of each ear, as well as expressive eyebrows. The color of the neck ruff and "trousers" are lighter than that of the dog’s body. The Keeshond’s tail is very light in color and should have a black tip.
Despite their dense coats, Keeshonds really are not high-maintenance dogs. They need a good brushing several times a week to keep shedding and mats under control and to distribute skin oils across their coats. Nail and dental care for Keeshonds are the same as that for most other breeds.