What’s it like living with a Japanese Spitz? Well, it hasn’t always been a bed of roses, but I wouldn’t change our boy for anything, and would protect him from any impending danger without the bat of an eyelid.
Meet Zach. Born six years ago in the first month of Autumn, he came from a litter of six boys and one girl. He was a fiery little chap who loved to play and bite when the chance arose. He was also a stubborn little so-and-so when it came to toilet training. It didn’t matter where or what we put down for him to use, he would do his business just off or to the side of the chosen method, and then try to eat it as well. Even to this day, we have to keep an eagle eye on him when we’re out running or walking him, as he still has the odd urge to turn round and take a nibble at his own poop. We started early on giving him raw celery and carrot as a deterrent, but it seems not to have worked that well. A bonus though is his appetite for raw and natural foods as we wanted him to give him the best diet for his health, longevity, and of course his double coat.
Zach is my first dog (and my partner’s second). And as such, we wanted to get the diet right from the word ‘go’ as we had already been through the trauma of watching my partner’s Pomeranian succumbing to cancer. Watching him deteriorate without anything we could do and then holding his paw as he fell into a long forever sleep was more than anyone should bare. So, after a year, we decided to get Zach after much research of both the breeds’ personality and lifestyle needs. I certainly had never seen a Japanese or German Spitz before, and only once or twice come across their larger cousin – the Samoyed. So when I walked into the breeders kennels and spotted Zach playing with his brother, it was an instant love affair! I had to have him not only because my connection with him was there, but also because I knew my partner and I could care for him and give him a loving home.
Not only has Zach brought us love and patience, but he has also helped us to keep fit and be more social as 99% of people we pass comment on his good looks or how hard it must be to keep him groomed. Oddly enough, it’s actually not that hard at all. His longer guard hairs really do repel dirt and other parts of the environment that he brushes past or splashes through. The other thing is he doesn’t smell of ‘dog odour’ for up to two months, and we only have to get him groomed once every six weeks. The odd ‘Dr Seuss’ hairs hanging over his paws or his bushy rear ‘pants’ may need a trim every so often, but we usually get his ‘pants’ altered to ‘skinny jeans’ at the groomer which is great for him and for us. We are lucky to have good groomers who know how to trim a double coat. I’ve seen bad cuts where the owners have taken their Spitz to a new groomer who didn’t know what they were doing and the result was alarming. One thing I love with Zach is his double coat. He sheds hairs and fur, but I love it. It’s so soft, and reminds me of a favourite blanket which had a really soft pelt I had as a young boy.
For a dog who attracts so much attention, Zach really couldn’t care less about other people, selfies or being ready for the camera. Every time my partner or I try to take a photo of Zach he instantly looks away, so it’s rare for us to catch him posing naturally. Having said that, he doesn’t mind putting up with a bow around his neck for a few hours on Christmas Day, or having to wear a tick repellent device. Speaking of ticks, he managed to pick one up after one of our usual romps through the local bushland. Although he had a tick treatment in place, it obviously didn’t work. His legs started to wobble, and by the next morning his back legs were virtually paralysed. We rushed him into the closest vet as soon as they opened, and luckily the tick was found easily, removed, and treatment began. Zach is a very fit dog, and for one small tick to have such an effect is frightening. His health helped him to recover well, although it did take a couple of weeks to get back to normal, a month to say he didn’t show any signs of having had a tick.
It’s an uncanny thing, but someone put a post on a blog I follow about the Japanese Spitz which read: “Do you say ‘Big Stretch’ or ‘Stretch it out’ when you see your dog naturally stretch his or her legs?” and the response was huge. Yes! We do say that to our JS. Eerie! He warms the bed in winter. He gives me a high-five on request. He puts a smile on my face.