The Keeshond is a handsome dog, well balanced and short-coupled in body, attracting attention not only by his alert carriage and intelligent expression, but also by his luxurious coat, his richly plumed tail, well curled over his back, and by his fox-like face and head with small pointed ears. His coat is very thick round the neck, forepart of the shoulders and chest, forming a lion-like mane. His rump and hind legs, down to the hocks, are thickly coated forming the characteristic trousers. His head, ears and lower legs are covered with thick short hair.
The ideal height of fully matured dogs (over 2 years old) measured from top of withers to the ground is: for males, 18 inches (46 cm); bitches 17 inches (43 cm). However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type. When dogs are judged equal in type, the dog nearest the ideal height is to be preferred. Length of back from withers to rump should equal height as measured above.
Coat and Colour:
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.
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.
Photo by Booth Photography
Faults: Silky, wavy or curly coats. Part in coat down the back. Entirely black or white or any other solid colour; any pronounced deviation from the grey colour.
Expression is largely dependent on the distinctive characteristic called “spectacles” - a delicately penciled line slanting slightly upward from the outer corner of each eye to the lower corner of the ear, coupled with distinct markings and shading forming short but expressive eyebrows. Markings (or shadings) on face and head must present a pleasing appearance, imparting to the dog an alert and intelligent expression.
The head should be well proportioned to the body, wedge-shaped when viewed from above. Not only in muzzle, but the whole head should give this impression when the ears are drawn back by covering the nape of the neck and the ears with one hand. Head in profile should exhibit a definite stop. The muzzle should be dark in colour and of medium length, neither coarse nor snipey, and well proportioned to the skull. The mouth should be neither overshot nor undershot.
Lips should be black and closely meeting, not thick, coarse or sagging and with no wrinkle at the corner of the mouth. The teeth should be white, sound and strong (but discoloration from distemper not to be penalized severely); upper teeth should just overlap the lower teeth. Eyes should be dark brown in colour, of medium size, rather oblique in shape and not set too wide apart. Ears should be small, triangular in shape, mounted high on the head and carried erect; dark in colour and covered with thick, velvety, short hair. Size should be proportionate to the head - length approximating the distance from outer corner of the eye to the nearest edge of the ear.
Faults: Absence of “spectacles.” Apple head, or absence of stop. Overshot or undershot. Protruding round eyes or eyes light in colour. Ears not carried erect when at attention.
The neck should be moderately long, well-shaped and well set on shoulders; covered with a profuse mane, sweeping from under the jaw and covering the whole of the front part of the shoulders and chest, as well as the top part of the shoulders.
Forelegs should be straight seen from any angle, and well feathered.
Faults: Black markings below the knee, penciling excepted.
The body should be compact with a short straight back sloping slightly downward towards the hindquarters deep and strong of chest, well ribbed, barrel well rounded, belly moderately tucked up.
Hind legs should be profusely feathered down to the hocks - not below, with hocks only slightly bent. Legs must be of good bone and cream in colour. The feet should be compact, well rounded, cat-like, and cream in colour. Toes are nicely arched, with black nails.
Faults: White foot or feet.
The tail should be set on high, moderately long and well feathered, tightly curled over the back. It should lie flat and close to the body with a very light grey plume on top where curled, but the tip of the tail should be black. The tail should form a part of the "silhouette" of the dog's body, rather than give the appearance of an appendage.
Faults: Tail not lying close to the back.
Dogs should move boldly and keep tails curled over the back. They should move cleanly and briskly; and the movement should be straight and sharp (not a lope like a German Shepherd Dog).