Where to start? I was 18 years old when I first saw a Kees. I had been raised with Golden Retrievers my whole life when I met my first Kees, Tanya, a Keeshond bred by Betty Olafson (Rokerig). She was 6 months old and I was in love. Through some fortunate circumstances, I ended up with Tanya, and thus my life with Kees started. Keesridge was officially born in 1983.
In December of 1983, we drove 2 puppies down in the middle of winter to one of the Largest Dog shows in Ontario, the Credit Valley Kennel Club in Toronto where we literally cleaned up in the show ring! We were hooked.
We continued to show and breed for the next 15 years, making many life long friends and great memories. Life kind of got in the way with organized sports (with 2 kids playing baseball & soccer), and breeding and showing got put on the back burner. Running the roads with children took over from running the roads with fuzzies. I gave a puppy from one of my last litters, “Keesridge Kiss Me Kate” (Katie) and Owenbriar Keeshonden was born.
12 years later when kids were grown up, and we were down to 1 Keeshond. Amanda finished school, and buying a house and decided to get a puppy. Only a Kees would do and we decided to see if there was any chance any litters were expected that went back to our original lines. We really wanted to be able to draw back on the lines we once had, and we were in luck. One litter was already born and one on the way. Both litters were decendants of our original lines. I got Bridget from the litter already born in return for Katie long ago, and Amanda got Lexie from the next. So, we were on our way once again.
Khunda, Keesridge Second Edition was our one girl we had left before we got Bridget. She sadly passed away in September 2010 at 14 years of age. Having Bridget in the house the last 2.5 years of her life gave her renewed energy and at times you couldn't tell who was more of the puppy, Bridget or Khunda!
We now have Danté and Keely who keep the house busy, and keep us on our toes. Their favourite activities include running around in the snow, or lounging on the dog bed in the living room. Keely is a voracious chewer of bones and antlers, while Danté is the biggest ball of mush you'll ever meet.
From the day I was born, there has always been a Keeshond in the house. I couldn't imagine my life without them, and I certainly couldn't imagine owning any other breed. When I left home to go to university in Waterloo, ON, I was without a dog. Sure, I could go home and visit, but it was never the same.
When I graduated from university, I realized that I would be on my own and could possibly have my very own dog. I thought to myself, well you can't have a home without a dog! So then the search began to get a puppy. I wanted a dog that went back to our original Keesridge lines, and it just so happened there was a litter out there, and another expected whelp date, 6 weeks later, that fit the criteria. From there, it just so happened that Bridget, mom's dog, was born in February, but it wasn't the breeding for me.
I waited 6 more weeks for the next litter and knew I wanted a puppy from that breeding. the day Lexie was born, I knew she was my puppy. I picked her out that very first day through a picture and never wavered once. I named her during the long trip to pick her up, as I stared at her picture, and when the time came to walk in and get her, I picked her up and knew she was the one!
Lexie had been third pick of the 4 girls in the litter, but I was adamant she was the puppy I wanted, and matured into the dog I hoped she would be. I fell back in love with the show scene with her, though she does not like it. Before my parents stopped breeding, I had done some junior showmanship, and helped out as best I could. As an adult coming in, I again fell in love with the fancy, and it has very quickly become a central part of my life.
I now live in rural Ontario, north of Owen Sound. I have one acre that will be completely fenced in the Spring, surrounded by farms. It is a cozy home, which my girls share with me, along with our cat Piper. Our dogs live in our homes with us, and even though our name is "Keesridge Kennels", we do not have a physical kennel.
I am a member of the Canadian Kennel Club, and am the Ontario District Representative and Webmaster for the Keeshond Club of Canada. Please visit any of these websites for more information about the breed! I was also the Show Chair of our National Specialty which took place in July 2013.
My goal with breeding Keeshond is pretty simple. I want to breed healthy dogs, and give people the chance to enjoy the breed as much as I do. I try to choose dogs to breed to my girls, who will better the breed, and that conform to the Official Breed Standard, as I interpret it.
I have been fortunate to be the breeder of record for the most Keeshonden finishing conformation championships and/or obedience titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, awarded Breeder of the Year by the Keeshond Club of Canada for most of those years.
Please enjoy these pictures, mainly from the early 1980's - 2000 ish
Click on images to enlarge and see full photos.