The Pomeranian, or Pom, is the smallest of the spitz breeds, one of five varieties bred down from the German Spitz. In many countries it is known as the Zwergspitz, meaning "Dwarf Spitz". As the name suggests, it is the miniature version of the German Spitz, although its character is anything but tiny!
A Brief History
The Pomeranian is a small dog breed with recorded references dating back to the 18th century. And its origins go back way further than that! The German Spitz, from which the Pomeranian is descended, was around as early as the Stone Age, found particularly on the moors. The Pomeranian shares its origins with the Wolfsspitz, the Giant Spitz, the Medium Spitz, and the Miniature Spitz. It owes its name to the Pomerania region in north-west Poland and north-east Germany in Central Europe.
Fast forward a few centuries, where the German Spitz found favour with European aristocracy, even appearing in 18th-century paintings. Its smallest descendent, the Pomeranian, proved even more popular with certain members of the British Royal Family, who influenced the evolution of the breed. In 1767, Queen Charlotte brought two Pomeranians to England. Her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, was also a Pomeranian enthusiast and established a large breeding kennel. Other famous fans of the breed included Mozart, Michelangelo, Marie-Antoinette, and Catherine the Great.
The Pomeranian breed became more widely popular at the beginning of the 20th century when it began to reach the lower echelons of society. This resurgence of popularity among the poor was accompanied by increasing disdain for the breed on behalf of the rich. For a time in Paris, for example, the Pomeranian was nicknamed "chien de concierge" (concierge's dog), because of its popularity with concierges or doormen. However, in recent years, the breed has gradually regained its noble standing.
The first breed club was established in England in 1891, and the first breed standard was written shortly thereafter. Fun fact: In 1912, two Pomeranian dogs were among only three dogs to survive the sinking of the RMS Titanic!
The physical characteristics of the Pomeranian make it particularly easy to recognise.
Body: The body is small and elegant. The back is short, the body compact with a well-rounded barrel chest. The chest is fairly deep but not too wide, in proportion to the size of the dog.
Head: The head and nose have a foxy outline. The skull is slightly flat and fairly large in proportion to the muzzle, which it tapers towards. The stop is well-defined.
Ears: The Pomeranian has relatively small ears. They are triangular, set high, and carried perfectly erect.
Eyes: The eyes are medium-sized, bright, and dark. They are slightly oval and show great intelligence.
Tail: The tail is characteristic of the breed, set high and very bushy. Medium length, it is turned over the back and carried flat and straight.
Coat: Pomeranians have two coats, an undercoat and an outer coat. The undercoat is soft and fluffy; the outer coat is long and perfectly straight with a rough texture and covers the whole body. The fur is very abundant around the neck and upper part of the shoulders and chest, forming a frill that extends over the shoulders.
Colour: The Pomeranian comes in many different colours; the breed standard is quite broad on this topic. All whole colours are permissible. These include white, black, brown (light or dark), blue (as pale as possible), orange (as bright as possible), beaver, and cream. Merle dogs are not accepted by The Kennel Club breed standard.
Don't be fooled by this dog’s small size. The Pomeranian's temperament is in complete contrast to its tiny dimensions. This dog breed is an extrovert. Lively and intelligent, with lots of energy to spare. While it doesn't have the stamina of a large dog, the Pomeranian still needs to exert itself sufficiently each day. This is an alert and affectionate pooch, who gets very attached to its master.
Poms love being around their family but, like all good spitzes, they can be alone too. In fact, they tend to handle loneliness more easily than other dog breeds. Nevertheless, don’t leave your Pomeranian alone for too long, as they could become bored, lonely, and even depressed.
Pomeranians do not make good watchdogs, due to their size but, on the other hand, they are very good alert dogs. This dog breed is known for its yappy bark, which can be a good warning of potential intruders. To avoid their bark from getting out of hand, consider socialising your Pom from an early age.
Do Pomeranians Get Along Well with Others?
The Pomeranian is very sociable and gets along well with everyone. This dog breed is not a natural predator and lacks any type of hunting instinct, so will have no desire to chase cats or exotic pets. Pomeranians can sometimes be belligerent towards other dogs to compensate for their small size. They can be a little suspicious of strangers, but never aggressive. These are naturally cheerful dogs who love to play and make wonderful playmates for children.
Is a Pomeranian the Right Dog for Me?
The Pomeranian is well suited to all types of owners. This is a relatively energetic dog that doesn't have great stamina. As such, your Pom will need to exert themselves, but not too much. They make great family pets for the elderly or families with children. Finally, these dogs are perfectly capable of integrating into a family that already has other pets.
Pomeranian Health Issues
Generally speaking, the Pomeranian enjoys pretty robust health. The average life expectancy of a Pomeranian is between 12 and 16 years. This is much longer than some larger dog breeds, that have a very limited lifespan. Nonetheless, like all dog breeds, the Pomeranian is susceptible to certain diseases. This dog breed has rather fragile joints, so be careful not to be too rough when playing with them. They are also prone to hypothyroidism, which promotes obesity, and eye disorders, such as progressive retinal atrophy.
Ideal Living Conditions for a Pomeranian
One of the Pomeranian's great strengths is its adaptability. This is a dog breed that can be perfectly happy living in either an apartment or a house. Of course, their small size makes apartment living much easier than for a large dog. However, be warned that this little furball does have a tendency to bark. If you live in an apartment, this type of barking could disturb your neighbours and cause conflict. You will of course need to walk your dog regularly, whether you live in a house or an apartment. Your Pomeranian must be able to stretch their legs and sniff new scents regularly to be happy and well-rounded.
Training your Pomeranian is essential. Small dogs need a well-defined framework in order to feel comfortable and safe in the world around them. Begin training your dog as soon as you welcome your new puppy home, at the age of two months old. Pomeranians love to please their owners and are very obedient and receptive. Take advantage of this character trait! Remember to socialise your dog well to teach them not to bark all the time. Just because your Pom is smaller than other dogs doesn't mean you should be overprotective. You don't want to risk causing your dog to mistrust their surroundings. Training your dog properly should always be a priority, regardless of their size. Puppies are more receptive than adults, but it's still quite possible to train a dog at any age.
Diet: What to Feed Your Pomeranian
Choosing the right diet for your Pomeranian is crucial. It plays a vital role in their health and, as such, must be able to meet all their nutritional needs. A poor-quality diet will inevitably have repercussions on their health in the long term. Opt for high-quality dog food, whether it's dry dog food, wet dog food, or a mixture of the two. Either way, one of the golden rules of dog food is to avoid buying the industrial dog food found in supermarkets, as much as possible. This is because it tends to be very low in quality and made using primarily plant protein, which is incapable of meeting your Pomeranian's basic nutritional needs. Remember that dogs are opportunistic carnivores who need animal protein.
Good-quality dog food does not necessarily have to cost more than shop-bought dog food. Learn how to decipher product labels to understand exactly what you're feeding your dog, and be sure to choose a healthy composition that contains at least 25 to 28% animal protein. Be wary of added preservatives and other sweeteners. If you want to be sure that your Pom's dog food provides them with everything they need, opt for a tailor-made service like Hector Kitchen. Take into account the fact that your dog's dietary needs are likely to change as they get older, and may need adapting according to their age and health condition.
If you have the time and want to control all the ingredients you offer your Pomeranian, you can try feeding them homemade dog food or a BARF diet. Homemade dog food is food that you prepare yourself from cooked meat and vegetables. This type of diet gives you complete control over what your dog ingests. The BARF diet, on the other hand, consists of raw meat and cooked vegetables. Always seek advice from your vet before implementing a BARF diet.
Pomeranian Care and Maintenance
Vaccines: between £30 to £60 for the first injection series, plus annual boosters
Dog food: from £20 to £50 per month for high-quality dog food
Monthly budget: minimum £70 per month
Although not particularly complicated, don't neglect the grooming of your Pomeranian. Their coat needs to be brushed regularly to prevent it from getting tangled and get rid of dead hairs. While brushing, you can also check that your pooch doesn't have any parasites hidden in their fur. Use a suitable brush 2-3 times per week. During moulting periods, increase the frequency to daily. Be careful not to brush too violently, at the risk of damaging your dog's skin and coat. Also, don't forget to brush your dog's teeth, clean their eyes and ears, and trim their nails regularly! Finally, keep all their vaccines up to date, as well as deworming and antiparasitic treatments to combat ticks and fleas.
This is quite an expensive dog breed! The average price of a Pomeranian puppy is between £1300 and £4000. The price difference can be explained by the popularity of the breed. Demand for the breed influences the price. The more popular the breed, the fewer puppies there are available for adoption, and breeders can therefore afford to charge more. Some breeders also ask for higher prices if the animal is intended for exhibition or reproduction, or if it comes from an exceptional line. There is always a cost involved with adopting a dog. But you don't have to buy a puppy. You can sometimes find purebred adult dogs in shelters or animal rescue centres. Why not call your local dog shelter to find out!
Buy your Pomeranian the right accessories to ensure they get good, quality sleep. Your Pomeranian’s dog bed or cushion should be perfectly adapted to their size. Choose relatively strong materials to avoid destruction - and the risk of your pooch ingesting the debris - and create a sleeping area in a quiet spot. Try to avoid having your dog sleep in your bedroom. Please note: Pomeranians are not suited to sleep outdoors, despite their thick coat. So there's no point in buying your Pom a kennel. Being a small and popular breed, you could risk having your Pomeranian stolen from you in the night. Your pooch could also get into a fight with stray cats. For their safety and your peace of mind, always keep your Pomeranian inside your home.
Games and Physical Activities for Your Pomeranian
The Pomeranian's small size can be deceptive. In reality, these dogs have a lot of energy, which needs to be expended regularly to prevent them from sinking into depression. Of course, they're not capable of going on long hikes or runs with you, but they do take real pleasure in fetching a ball or a frisbee. At home, make sure you have enough games and toys to occupy your pooch in your absence. Remember to choose items that are suitable for your dog's size to avoid injury. Finally, Pomeranians enjoy canine activities such as agility, musical canine freestyle, and even tracking!
Pet Insurance: Protecting Your Pomeranian
A small dog breed like the Pomeranian does not need a special type of insurance. This is not considered a dangerous dog breed or hunting dog, for example. However, taking out a pet insurance policy for your dog helps to cover you in the event of accident or illness. Accidents can happen quickly and you would be held responsible for any damage or harm caused to a third party by your dog. Even if your dog is small and not likely to cause serious harm, it could get away from you and be the cause of a traffic accident. Pet insurance is a great way to make sure you're not hit with any nasty surprises. Most home insurance policies offer the option to include animal liability insurance. You can also purchase third party public liability dog insurance, which provides additional protection.
Additionally, while Pomeranians generally enjoy robust health, they are not infallible. Pet insurance for dogs is a great way to make sure they get the healthcare they deserve throughout their life. Like all dogs, Pomeranians are prone to certain diseases and, as vet fees are not standardised in the UK, veterinary costs can be very high. Health insurance for your dog works the same way as for humans: you pay a monthly premium to an insurance company and, in return, they reimburse you for any veterinary expenses. In any case, before deciding on a particular contract, make sure to shop around for quotes and assess which best suits your circumstances. Then, take the time to read the fine print to ascertain the type of services offered, as well as the reimbursement rate, limits, and eligibility or exclusion clauses. Some insurance companies may refuse to insure dogs that are too old, too young, or already sick. Likewise, insurance companies may refuse to reimburse costs incurred for certain diseases, genetic or hereditary diseases in particular. So don't wait for your Pomeranian to get sick or old before taking out pet insurance for them, or you may risk them not being properly taken care of.
The average cost for pet insurance in the UK in 2020 worked out at £436 per year or just over £36 per month. The higher the cost of your contribution, the higher the reimbursements will be. Certain criteria, such as where you live or the age and breed of your dog, may cause prices to vary. Lifetime dog insurance is more expensive but also provides the most comprehensive cover. This usually costs closer to around £80 per month.
Pomeranian Size and Weight
The Pomeranian is a very small dog. There is no difference between the size of males and females, with both measuring around 20cm at the withers in adulthood. The weight is also about the same: adult Pomeranians weigh between 2kg and 3.5kg. Your choice of puppy will therefore have to be made primarily upon the character of the animal.
The Kennel Club classifies Pomeranians in The Toy Breed Group, which consists of small companion or lap dogs.