The coat of the Keeshond is made up of two layers. The outer coat is long, straight and harsh, and will shed dirt and water to some degree. The under coat is a softer, downy coat. The latter can be used for spinning, knitting and weaving into garments. The resulting yarn is like Cashmere and has no doggy odor.

Bathing of adults is only necessary when you see that your dog is dirty, or when it is blowing coat. Generally, 2 or 3 baths per year is sufficient. Puppies need to be bathed more often, depending on the individual dog and how often they get into dirt. Show dogs will need to have at least their whites bathed before every show. Show dogs that are given a full bath too often will will likely end up with a dry, brittle coat. Caution is advised.

A thorough grooming will help to remove any dirt from the coat, and spread the natural oils from the skin outward, thus giving your Keeshond a beautiful and well cared for look. Puppies (and spayed females) have a fuller, softer coat than adult dogs and therefore require more grooming. You must be prepared to spend at least one hour, once a week or every ten days, on grooming.

This is most easily accomplished if the dog is taught (as a puppy) to lay still, on its side, on a table at your waist height. The table should be covered with a non-slip surface. Many Keeshond owners have a collapsible table just for grooming. Grooming tools include:

Begin your grooming at the head and work back towards the tail. The hair is brushed forward against it's natural grain, parting the hair in layers of 1/2" or less as you go along. Mist each layer to prevent breakage. Brush thoroughly from the skin outwards. Once you have brushed one side, roll the dog over and brush the other. While the dog is lying down, you may also trim the hair around his feet and legs (to the first joint) to give it a tidy look.

Next, stand your dog and add the finishing touches. Brush the mane all the way around the neck. Start between the front legs and again in rows, brush the hair out away from the skin. Work towards the chin and then around each side all the way to the top of the neck. Next comes the dog's back or topline, brushing forward, starting behind the ears and working towards the tail. The pants are brushed down working from the hocks towards the tail. Finally comes the tail. It should be brushed, in long strokes, in a fan-like direction over the back. Comb the feathering on the front legs and you're done. Your dog will love the whole process if you give him or her lots of praise and a treat when you are all finished.

Certain areas will mat if particular attention is not given to them. That is, the softer areas behind the ears, in the arm pits and around the private parts. Mats can be worked out by pulling small amounts at a time from the side of each mat. In these areas, the powder mixture can be used like a dry shampoo. Sprinkle it on the coat, work it in with your fingers and carefully brush it out. The pants, on which the dog sits, tend to pack easily and if not thoroughly brushed will hold dirt, which can break the coat. Harsh brushing or using the wrong tools will rip out or break hair which will take many months to be replaced. You must learn to brush the hair with great care, not unlike panning for gold. If your aren't careful it will slip away and be gone.

Many people ignore their dog's teeth. Not only will they have better breath, but they are less likely to suffer from gum disease and loss of teeth, if you help to keep them clean. One of the easiest ways to do this, is to give them hard biscuits to chew on after they have eaten, or at bedtime. Even with this it may be necessary to brush your dog's teeth. Brushes and tooth paste have been made especially for dogs. You may also have to remove the plaque from your dog's teeth with a dentist's scaler. If you cannot do this, then care enough for your dog to take it to the vet to have it done. In later years, your dog will thank you for it.

Do not trim the nails of your dog at the same time as grooming. The reason is simple. You want your dogs to enjoy the grooming process and this is not likely to happen if they associate it with nail trimming. With the nail trimmers take off small amounts of nail until you can see the quick. If your dog is going to a show, you may also wish to use a nail grinder to smooth and take off just a little bit more nail, being careful not to get into the quick. If your dog's nails do bleed, just press a little bit of Kwik Stop into the nail and that will make the bleeding stop.

The Keeshond's coat should never be shaved or cut short in the summer months. It acts as insulation against the cold of the winter and heat in the summer. Kees tend to shed their coats once or twice a year, usually in the spring or fall. Females tend to lose it when they come into season (generally every 6 months) and after having a litter. Extra grooming is needed at this time, to remove the dead coat and give room for the new coat, which will mat if the old coat is not removed.

Once the dog has begun to blow its coat, this becomes a good time to give your dog a bath with a gentle dog shampoo. Using warm water will help to open the pores and make the removal of old hair more easy. Always brush your dog before bathing to remove mats which will be set in with the bathing process. Coat conditioners are available for dogs and are recommended to make brushing easier. A thorough rinsing and drying are very important. Should shampoo remain in the coat or if the coat remains wet at the skin, your dog could develop open sores, called hot spots; which are uncomfortable for the dog, and difficult to clear up. For this reason, bathing should be kept to a minimum -- two or three times a year. At other times, you may wish to freshen the dog up by bathing only it's white areas: belly, feet, legs and tail.

It is not uncommon for a Keeshond's hair to become sparse after it has shed it's coat. This will generally grow back within 3 or 4 months. Should your dog's coat stay sparse for longer periods of time or become dry, brittle or take on an orangish hue, then you should consult with your veterinarian as there may be a health problem or dietary deficiency.

Prepared by:
Kathy Stewart

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