This breed dates back to the 16th century and it is believed to descend from German Wolfspitz. The name comes from the nickname Kees given by Cornelius de Gyslear, the leader of a rebellion against the Royal House of Orange. Gyslear used this dog as a symbol of the political party which he belonged to. Hereinafter it was used to guard cargoes on barges, therefore becoming known as the Dutch barge dog. It is the national breed of the Netherlands.
It is a medium-sized dog, robust and proportional. The head is foxlike, has a triangular shape, with a prominent stop, a medium-sized muzzle and a black nose. The eyes are almond-shaped, slanting and dark brown. The ears are small, placed high, triangular and pointed. The tail is bushy and kept on the back. The fur is double-layered with a soft, thick, short inner layer and an outer layer made of very bushy and long hair. The fur is very thick around the neck, forming a mane. The fur is also very thick on the chest, hind legs, shoulders and bottom. It is silver-grey, beige or completely black or white.
It is an intelligent, noisy, friendly, alert, loyal and cautious dog, that is eager to learn. It is loyal to its master and his family, accepts children and other dogs. It must be socialized from an early age with cats and other household. It barks at strangers.
The fur will be combed and brushed occasionally and more often during the shedding period.
It is a dog resistant to weather changes, which likes to live in the open, in colder climates, but it can also adapt to indoor life, if the master grants it the moderate level of activity it needs.
It is an easy to train, smart dog, that learns what is asked of it. With a gentle, consistent and varied training, one can obtain very good results, the dog being able to successfully participate in agility races or other canine sports.
It was used to eradicate pests and as a guard dog. Today it is a pleasant companion dog.