Breed Health

The Keeshond is a generally healthy dog with an average life span of 10 – 12 years although many have lived well into their teens. As with all dogs cancer does seem to be a major cause of death in the dog over the age of ten years. Research both in the UK and USA has shown that 40% of dogs (irrespective of breed) over the age of 10 years will die of some form of cancer.           

There are three main health concerns within the United Kingdom. The conditions are Primary Hyperparathryoid Disease, Epilepsy, and Alopecia and associated coat problems.     

PHPT now has a genetictest and the other two  conditions have active research in progress. A register for PHPT status is now available on the Kennel Club website as well as on the Keeshond Club Health Matters site. A direct link to the Kennel Club register can be accessed via The Home page quick links.

PHPT (Primary Hyperparathryoid Disease) – This condition is caused by the growth of a small benign tumour growing on one or more of the parathyroid glands. These rice sized glands are located on either side of the thyroid gland and regulate calcium levels within the blood. This condition is inherited by a single dominant gene. a simple DNA test can identify a dogs status to ensure only those dogs who are tested negative, or negative by descent are bred from.

Alopecia X – This is a hormonal   condition that affects most Spitz breeds to a greater or lesser extent. The condition caused   areas of coat loss from the dog. The skin is not sore and there is no itching. Affected dogs are in no discomfort & are otherwise healthy. The condition can resolve itself spontaneously. We are fortunate to have a veterinary partner who is currently looking to investigate the genetic cause of this condition.

Epilepsy-Keeshonds are known to have a breed predisposition to epilepsy although the  incidence of dogs developing epilepsy in the breed is not significantly higher than the canine populations as a whole. Breeders of keeshonds have been committed to reducing the incidence of seizures in the breed since the 1930s The advancement of DNA research has made the possibility  of finding the gene/s causing primary epilepsy in the breed a reality.