The word ‘Spitz’ is an umbrella moniker used to express multiple breeds of dogs who are stocky with dense coats, who have upright ears and ordinarily a curved tail that leads up their back. The Pomeranian is a direct descendant, often referred to as a ‘toy’ version of the German Spitz. And, as such, the history of all three double-coated dog breeds is closely entwined.
The German Spitz was initially documented in the 15th Century in the region of Pomerania, where they were adopted as farming watchdogs by the lower members of society. In the 18th Century its popularity flourished due to visiting royals and nobles who took a liking to it. George I, King of England in the 18th Century, had a German consort who was a big enthusiast of the variety, as were all of her visiting companions who brought their own Spitz with them. German Spitz dogs can have different colored coats including greys, browns, and white.
The Japanese Spitz was raised by Japanese breeders in the 1920’s, with breeders mixing the white German Spitz dogs with another imported white Spitz breed resulting in the developing breed.
The ultimate standard for the variety after World War I was affirmed by the Japan Kennel Club, after which the dog was recognized by kennel clubs around the world.
The Pomeranian’s name was derived from the German province in which they were popular. It is thought that famous personalities, such as Michaelangelo, favoured the smallest Spitz dogs, and even Isaac Newton owned a Pomeranian who is said to have eaten several of his writings. Same as like the German Spitz, the Pomeranian grew popular in the 18th Century with English Royalty. Still, the Pomeranian’s back then were much larger and not as attractive to the masses. This changed when Queen Victoria I came across a Pomeranian in Italy, and it then became her life-long hobby to breed much smaller Pomeranians. Eventually, it was honed to the size we associate it with today.
The German Spitz, the Japanese Spitz, and the Pomeranian are small-sized puppies, with the Pomeranian as the toy version. The German Spitz averages 30 to 38 cm, paw to shoulder, and the Pomeranian measures only 15 to 17 cm, in both females and males. The German Spitz can weigh 10 to 11 kg, and the Pomeranian weighs a tiny 1 to 3 kg, both are equal for both males and females in both varieties.
They both have double coats which allowed them to stay warm while guarding herds and farms in Germany. The Pomeranians’ undercoat is small and dense, with the outer coat being finer, longer fur, which grants it a fuzzball look, more so than the German Spitz.
The Japanese Spitz is a tiny to medium-sized dog, being slightly larger than the Pomeranian but smaller than it’s German counterpart. The dog reaches at 25 – 38cm, both male and female, and anything between 5 to 10kg. The double coat of the puppy is dense and white, and the pups look like a large snowball.
Despite their differing look, they all have similar temperaments. They are all tiny pocket rockets, who are bouncy and animated for hours on end. They are always on the go, and because of this you’ll need to be with them for the majority of the day, either feeding or getting a cuddle, or if you do need to leave them for extended periods, then you must go with them for some activity before and after. Their little legs might not need the exercise, but their mind rarely stops to rest.
The Japanese Spitz especially can be pretty stubborn, so training and socialization become essential if you want them to be obedient. Training is easy as they are intelligent, bright little pups.
Both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian are firecrackers, just like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, they bounce all day long! They are considered to be medium energy dogs. They need up to 30 minutes of active exercise a day, this can consist of two walks a day, as long as you are also entertaining them both throughout the day, or they can entertain themselves in the garden.
They both need a considerable amount of exercise for a small dog, so do not expect a lapdog out of these guys, for both can be quite the destructive devil if they want to be! Both breeds will need dog toys that are fit for their size, and this is especially true with the Pomeranian.
The Japanese Spitz, too, is an active dog and it will require at least one walk a day to keep it happy.
Both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian are usually healthy dogs, with a long lifespan. Even that of the Japanese Spitz is about 10–16 years.
They are all healthy breeds with not many genetic concerns. But nothing is set in stone, and healthy dogs can also fall prey to any of the typical dog illnesses out there.
Obesity is a common Japanese Spitz health issue (it’s easy to be tempted to give them treats all the time), and it can lead to several problems with kidney, heart, diabetes, or even joint pain.
To be on the safer side, it is ideal to have the recommended health evaluations for all three breeds:
- Patella Evaluation
- Cardiac Exam
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
Both German Spitz and Pomeranian need brushing every day to guarantee that its hair is kept tangle-free, as well as helping in the control of its shedding and fuzzy hair. Neither of them requires to be bathed regularly, so long as it is not less than once every 6 weeks, so their natural body oils and double coats remain healthy. Brushing them daily should be sufficient. The fine white fur of a Japanese Spitz is not as high maintenance, but will need to be brushed at least twice a week to save it from loose hair and to maintain the bright and vibrant fur. All this changes however, if your dog goes swimming in the ocean or paddles along a sandy beach or muddy creek. They then need rinsing off with clean water and drying thoroughly before combing and fluffing.
Dental cleaning should be given a priority with these little guys, as their small jaws raise their chances of undergoing dental health issues.
The German Spitz, Japanese Spitz, and the Pomeranian are similar in their feisty and lively temperament, and despite their similar appearance, they are very different when you get to the finer aspects. These double-coated dogs are not your ordinary small dog, so you need to research them if you are thinking of welcoming one of these little fellows into your home.