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The term "spectacles" may sound quite odd when it comes to dogs. What do spectacles have to do with dogs? The last time we checked, dogs didn't wear eyeglasses! 

Well, it turns out the term spectacles is used to depict a certain type of facial marking that's present in two distinctive dog breeds.  

What are Dog Spectacles?

Spectacles in dogs are simply facial markings. More precisely, canine spectacles consist of facial markings that include shadings or dark markings over or around the eyes and line of hair slanting from the outer corner of each eye toward the lower corner of each ear. 

The term spectacles indeed is termed this way because it gives dogs the appearance of wearing glasses!

 Only two dog breeds are known for featuring spectacles. More precisely, the Keeshond and the Finnish Lapphund. Let's see more in detail how these two breeds fashion their spectacles. 

Keeshonds without "glasses" don't win any classes!

Keeshonds without "glasses" don't win any classes!

Introducing The Keeshond's Spectacles

The keeshond is a breed of dog that features spectacles. 

According to the American Kennel Club breed standard: "Expression is largely dependent on the distinctive characteristic called "spectacles" - a combination of markings and shadings in the orbital area which must include a delicate, dark line slanting from the outer corner of each eye toward the lower corner of each ear coupled with expressive eyebrows. "

The presence of spectacles in this dog breed has such a strong impact on its characteristic facial expression that the absence of dark lines which form the "spectacles" is considered a very serious fault in the show ring. 

As the saying goes: "Keeshonds without "glasses" don't win any classes!"

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 Keeshonds are attractive dogs who are affectionately nicknamed the smiling Dutchman and the Dutch Barge Dog.  

While we won't see these dogs sporting fancy cat-eye frames, we must admit that these markings give these dogs quite an intriguing, classy look. Don't you think?

"The head of a Keeshond is not typical of other breeds. A Keeshond must have spectacles. Their spectacles are the hallmark of our breed."~ Joanne Reed, Keeshond breeder

A Finnish Lapphund with clearly-defined spectacles.

A Finnish Lapphund with clearly-defined spectacles.

Introducing the Finnish Lapphund's Spectacles

Another dog breed known for sporting spectacles is the Finnish Lapphund.

According to the Finnish Lapphund Club of America, the absence of spectacles is actually uncommon in this breed. Unlike the Keeshond though, the spectacles are formed by a lighter color of hair which surrounds the eyes in a halo.  

In solid black dogs, spectacles made of a lighter color are desirable as they add considerable expressiveness of the face. 

While in the keeshond, the spectacles are penciled lines of dark hair, the Finnish Lapphunds' spectacles are lighter in color and clearly defined. 

References: 

  • American Kennel Club: Keeshond Breed Standard
  • American Kennel Club: Finnish Lapphund Standard
  • Finnish Lapphund Club of America, The Finnish Lapphund Illustrated and Explained
  • Show Sight: Are Keeshonds really ‘Neatniks’?

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