tangle of fur and feet that blurs around Terri Bricker
whenever she moves from room to room represents generations
of breeding of the Keeshond, the national dog of Holland.
The Keeshond also is the official dog of the Bricker family
Terri is unofficially known as the “Keeslady” in breeding
circles. Her two ‘Kees’ — Bo and Peace — are from the same
litter and feature the breed’s characteristic fluffy coat,
alert eyes and curved, puffy tail.
has bred and trained Keeshonds since the 1970s. But
initially her interest was in dogs in general.
knew she wanted to get into dogs but wasn’t sure what breed
she would specialize in.
she spotted the Keeshonds at a collie show she fell
immediately in love with them.
found the ‘Kee’ kind of matched my personality,” she says.
that’s the case, then Terri is very alert, neither timid nor
aggressive, intelligent and affectionate. Another quality
that the Brickers like about Keeshonds is that they tend to
not favor one family member over the other, although the
person with a snack in hand tends to get most of the
the years, Terri has owned 10 Keeshonds, breeding many of
the bitches with superior males, she says.
hasn’t bred all her females and the ones that were bred were
bred only twice in her lifetime.
“That’s when I feel you get the best quality,” she says.
There’s also another reason.
were one of the dogs,) I wouldn’t want to be bred often, so
I don’t want my dogs bred often,” she says.
also doesn’t breed just any dog. There are certain qualities
that the animal has to show before it is bred. In short,
both the bitch and the sire need to be of champion quality.
want to have beauty as well as intelligence in my line,”
tests her dogs when the pups reach around 8 weeks. She looks
for desirable traits like a solid stance, agility, brains,
and alertness. If the dog is lacking, Terri won’t breed it.
for any reason the adoptive family doesn’t like the dog,
Terri will take it back.
breed the dog, that’s for life,” she says. “The breeder
should, ethically, take it back.”
house and yard is a Keeshond playground, and her husband,
Roy, doesn’t seem to mind. Sitting in front of a big screen
television in their sunroom, Roy plays tug of war with one
of the $1,000 dogs as if Peace were a common mutt.
a dog person, too. He just loves the animals for what they
are, he says.
love the dogs, I’m a dog person,” he says. “So we matched up
good, I guess.”
and Peace’s eyes dart around the room, looking for a sign of
attention or food. They practically radiate with energy,
their thick coats standing on edge.
walks to the kitchen, and the dogs leap up and follow. All
three of them are smiling.