Conformation shows are festive events where you can see hundreds of beautiful dogs from a wide range of breeds, but the shows actually have a practical purpose—the selection of top-quality dogs for breeding. Judges evaluate the dogs for physical structure, movement, coat texture and length, markings, expression, and other features, and compare these traits to the written and illustrated standard for the breed. Winning dogs receive points toward a championship. Responsible breeders breed only show-quality dogs that conform to the breed standard, both to keep the quality of the breed high and to improve the breed. Genetics and heredity are very complicated, so breeding is not an exact science and no one can guarantee that a dog won’t have health problems, but you have a better chance of getting a healthy, physically-sound puppy from a breeder of show-dogs than from pet stores or other sources. To read the AKC description of the breed standard, click For more information on conformation shows, click For information on dates and locations of conformation shows in Southern California, click
Agility courses include hurdles and obstacles of various kinds, such as tunnels, A-frames, jumps, and teeter-totters. They’re like playgrounds for dogs and most Keeshonden love agility. In fact, the top agility-dog in the country, Molly (owned by Maureen Waldron), is a Keeshond! Molly is the first dog of any breed to earn a MACH-10 title! Dogs can compete in AKC (American Kennel Club), NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council), and USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) trials for a variety of different classes and games. In AKC trials, for example, dogs compete in three levels: Novice, Open, and Excellent with increasing degrees of difficulty. AKC agility titles include Novice Agility (NA), Novice Jumpers with Weaves (NAJ), Open Agility (OA), Open Jumpers with Weaves (OAJ), Excellent A Agility (AX), Excellent A Jumpers with Weaves (AXJ), Excellent B Agility (MX), Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves (MXJ), and the supreme title of Master Agility Champion (MACH). NADAC and USDAA also offer trials. For more information on agility, as well as dates and locations of shows, click or or
Although they are more playful than some other breeds such as border collies that were bred to perform complicated herding tasks on command, Keeshonden are intelligent dogs and enjoy activities that challenge their minds. Obedience classes and trials, in which dogs are expected to perform a series of exercises such as “sit,” “heel,” and fetching a dumbbell, can develop the relationship between an owner and dog and be a rewarding experience for both. Dogs compete in three levels: Novice, Open, and Utility with increasing degrees of difficulty. Obedience titles include Companion Dog (CD), Companion Dog Excellent (CDX), Utility Dog (UD), Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH), and Utility Dog Excellent (UDX). For more information on obedience, as well as dates and locations of shows, click
Therapy dogs:
Therapy dogs bring the affection and joy only a dog can give to people in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools, as well as to the mentally and physically handicapped. As a breed, Keeshonden are especially friendly and affectionate, so they make very good therapy dogs. For more information on therapy dogs, click