Isabel (Izzy) and Maise (“Mazey”) are two female Keeshonds (dogs) that share my home. Izzy has been with me as a puppy since 2000. Maise happened into my life in 2007. She was rescued from a Wisconsin puppy mill, where she was a breeder her entire life, until she met Izzy and me. Izzy is the queen of the house and the neighborhood. Maise has come a long way since our first winter together. Her fear of humans prevented her from coming into the house from outside when any person was near. I spent much of that winter opening the back door, going out the front door and around the house to get behind her, and shoo’ing her into the house through the back door. Let me tell you, that activity at 2 AM on any Minnesota winter night, is challenging.
While Izzy still isn’t keen on having another entity in HER house, I think she secretly likes having Maise around to taunt and tease. Maise tolerates this hierarchy and I often see her standing firm and looking at Izzy defiantly, while she quietly allows the queen to rule.
I receive great joy from the Two Cutes, so I dedicate this web log to them.
History of Keeshond breed —
The Keeshond is a very old breed and there is little doubt that the fact it was never intended to hunt, kill animals or attack criminals accounts for its gentleness and devotion. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Keeshonden were used as watchdogs, good-luck companions, and vermin controllers on river boats, farms and barges. They were known as Wolfspitz (Germany), Chiens Loup (France), Lupini (Italy), and Keeshonden (Holland). During the 1700’s, in Holland, Cornelius “Kees” de Gyzelaar, a leader in the Dutch Patriot revolt against the reigning House of Orange, kept one of these dogs as his constant companion. The Keeshond became the symbol of the Patriot Party. This is the basis for the breed name as “Kees’ dog”, which in Dutch would be “Kees hund”. The Patriots’ were defeated, however, and many Keeshonden were destroyed to disavow any connection with the failed rebel party. The only Kees that remained were a few on barges and farms. The breed was not revived until nearly a century later through Baroness van Hardenbroek and Miss J. D. Van der Blom. Throughout the late 1800’s, Keeshonden had appeared in England under the names of “fox-dogs,” “overweight Pomeranians” and “Dutch Barge Dogs.” This British dog was the progeny of the German Wolfspitz crossed with a percentage of Dutch imports. After the turn of the 20th century, Mrs. Wingfield Digby and Mrs. Alice Gatacre aroused great interest in England and in 1926 an English breed club was formed with “Keeshond” as the official name. With rare exceptions, the Kees in the United States are derived from British breeding. 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 Club of America, as it was later named, was organized in 1935. Mrs. Virginia Ruttkay pioneered Keeshond breeding in the Eastern US, founding her kennel in 1946. Mr. and Mrs. Porter Washington of California purchased their first Keeshond in 1932, providing foundation stock for many successful Western US kennels.