Pomeranian Breed Overview
Descended from sled dogs, the tiny Pomeranian dog is the smallest of the Spitz family, which includes breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute and the Samoyed. This toy breed is the perfect combination of intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty. Feisty and fluffy, the Pomeranian is an intelligent dog who is also quite independent and bold though dedicated to his family. Poms can suffer from “little dog syndrome” wherein they think, and then act, bigger than they are, sometimes getting into tussles with much larger animals. Pomeranians generally weigh between 1 – 4 kg.
Due to their small size, Pomeranians are suitable for smaller living spaces like condominiums and apartments just as well as larger homes or ranches. Don’t expect that your Pomeranian will stay quiet napping all day long at home; this breed is highly curious and inquisitive, and a bit of a busybody as well, who will spend more time wandering around the house checking things out than curling up in your lap.
They are known for long, soft fur that comes in various colours such as:
Their size can go up to 28 cm in height, and 4 kg in weight.
Their lifespan is approximately 16 years, but if it is healthy and well-bred and exercised they can live longer.
- Suitability for Children – Medium
- Tendency to Bark – High
- Energy – Medium
- Suitability as a Guard Dog – High
- Grooming Requirements – Once a Week
- Trimming Required – Occassional
- Amount of hair shed – Little
- Food Cost – upto $5
- Average Monthly Pet insurance Premium – $44
The Pomeranian is a toy breed, which means he can live a long life with a combination of proper care and genetics. Pomeranians who are appropriately fed and taken care of by their owners may live to 16 years or longer. If you want a dog who will be a staple in your life for a significant time to come, the Pomeranian might be the dog you are looking for.
Origins of Pomeranian
Pomeranians get their name from the location of their creation, Pomerania, a German and Northern European area on the Baltic Sea. Pomerania is Slavic for po more, or “land by the sea.” This place was probably where the diminutive dog was bred down to this size from its larger Spitz breed ancestors. Characterised by wedge-shaped heads, erect ears, and thick coats, the Spitz dogs (Norwegian elkhound, Alaskan malamute, the Samoyed, and the Akita) were originally bred as sled dogs; the Pomeranian eventually became the smallest version of the Spitz dog breeds. From the very beginning, the smaller statures Pomeranian was popular, especially amongst the higher class. Such notable figures as Martin Luther, Isaac Newton, and Michelangelo reportedly owned Pomeranians. But as noted as the breed was in royal and artistic circles, it failed to catch on with the general public.
The public’s attitude toward the Pomeranian changed radically during the reign of Queen Victoria of England. During a trip to Italy in 1888, the Queen was taken with a 5kg sable and red Pomeranian named Marco and bought him along with three other Poms. For the rest of her reign, the Queen bred Pomeranians and showed them in competitions; both Marco and a Pom named Gina won championships many times over. At one time, the Queen has 35 Pomeranians in her kennels. As she was dying, Queen Victoria had her favourite Pomeranian, Turi, brought to her side. The Queen’s focus on this breed made it famous amongst other English dog breeders, who began to breed even smaller versions of the dog.
From England, the Pomeranian took America by storm and was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1900. By the mid-20th century, Pomeranians were one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Interestingly, the hardiness of this breed is evident in two members’ survival on the doomed ship, the Titanic. Three dogs survived the shipwreck, and two were Pomeranians.
Pomeranians have also earned cute names for Poms in multiples. A Pomeranian duo is referred to as a “puff” while three or more Poms are called a “tuft.”
Gregarious and extroverted, the Pomeranian breed combines an energetic zest for life with a sharp, keen mind. He is outgoing and friendly but sometimes acts a bit too big for his britches. This breed’s temperament is dependent on a few factors: genetics, socialization, and training. It is critically important that a Pomeranian receives proper training and socialization as a puppy; otherwise, the dog is liable to show shyness or aggression, qualities that are not common in this breed.
Overall, Pomeranians are calm, easy to live with dogs. They love a good play session and enjoy sitting in your lap and giving you kisses just as much. Outside of the home, the Pomeranian is a dog that excels in obedience competitions, although as they age, they typically enjoy relaxing more than running around.
Coat and Grooming
The most notable trait of a Pomeranian is his glorious, thick, double coat that puffs out around him. The dog has a soft undercoat while the topcoat is straight, shiny, long, and coarse. Longer hair is found around the chest and neck that forms a frill, giving the Pomeranian a lion-like mane. The Pom’s tail is plumed and fans out on the dog’s back; this trait is not present when a Pom is born but develops over the first few months of the dog’s life.
Pomeranians can be a wide variety of coat colours, including black, blue, chocolate, cream, orange, red, sable, brindle, and white. Each of those base colours may be mixed with tan colours. There are even some Poms who are “parti-coloured,” meaning they are mostly white with patches of colour.
The Pomeranian is a moderate shredder, and male Poms tend to shed their undercoats less frequently than females. Despite their furry looks, Pomeranians are not difficult to groom. They should be brushed at least twice a week with a metal comb and slicker brush to keep the coat shiny and free of tangles and mats. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner for bathing your Pom.
Children and Other Pets
Pomeranians love to play, and although this breed gets along well with children, they are more appropriate for older children rather than young kids. The Pom’s size means he can be easily injured if dropped or stepped on by a small child. Teach children how to approach and treat a dog properly, and never leave a child with a Pomeranian unsupervised.
Pomeranians get along splendidly with cats and other small animals, especially if they are raised with them. Try to steer your Pom clear of bigger dog breeds as they can become antagonised and aggressive, and do not fear to challenge larger dogs.
Common Diseases and Conditions
Like any other dog breed, the Pomeranian is a generally healthy breed that is prone to certain diseases and illnesses. Not all Pomeranians will develop these conditions; simply, their genetics give them better odds of doing so. If you buy your Pomeranian puppy from a breeder, do your research and make sure the breeder is legitimate and reputable. A trustworthy breeder will provide health clearances to you for your puppy’s parents. That paperwork shows that both parents have tested negative for certain inherited diseases and conditions. Look in particular for health clearances for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and eye diseases.
Here are some common medical conditions that afflict the Pomeranian breed:
Legg-Perthes Disease is a disease of the hip joint that many toy breeds are prone to developing. This condition occurs when the blood supply to the top of the femur bone decreases; as a result, the head of the femur, which is connected to the pelvis, begins to fall apart. This disease makes an early appearance in a Pomeranian’s life, usually occurring between 4 and 6 months of age. Symptoms include atrophy of the leg muscle and limping. Surgery is the only successful means to treat this disease and ensure your puppy is pain-free.
Collapsed trachea is a common condition found in breeds who pull too hard against their collar while walking or running. Pomeranians often do this, causing the trachea to collapse. The most common symptom of a collapsed trachea is a chronic dry cough that sounds like a goose honk. This condition can be treated surgically or medically. If your Pomeranian strains at the collar while walking, switch to using a body harness to prevent the trachea from collapsing.
Allergies can affect some Pomeranians for a variety of reasons. Most allergies are caused by genetic, environmental, or food intolerances. If your Pomeranian is excessive itching, biting, or scratching at his ears, face, neck, sides, legs, paws, or stomach, he may be suffering from an allergic reaction. Speak with a veterinarian who can help diagnose the cause of the allergies and advise appropriate measures, such as a new diet, or medications to manage or stop the reactions altogether.
Eye problems are a common issue with Pomeranians. There is a wide range of eye illnesses and diseases that this breed can develop. The three most common are tear duct issues, cataracts, and dry eye, especially between the conjunctiva and the cornea). If you see any excessive tearing or redness in your Pom’s eyes, take him to the vet straight away. These problems usually impact young adult Pomeranians, and if not treated quickly, may cause blindness.
Dental problems may occur in Pomeranians, especially issues with gums and teeth. In particular, this breed is susceptible to early tooth loss. Carefully brush your Pomeranian’s teeth twice weekly and keep an eye out for loose teeth and buildup of tartar and plaque.
Patellar luxation, a dislocation of the knee cap, is a common injury that impacts Pomeranians. The kneecap (patella) is connected to the knee joint, generally a back leg, and when luxation occurs, the patella slides in and out of the joint socket, causing significant pain. With physical therapy and pain management, Pomeranians with patellar luxation can lead normal lives with this condition, though they may always show some sign of lameness or limping.
General Exercise and Care
Pomeranians are small, active dogs who belong more indoors than outside. They are an excellent dog for people living in small homes or apartments. Poms are athletic, and they should have several short walks every day, but remember that these little dogs are sensitive to hot temperatures. Pomeranians are also fond of playing with toys, but be sure to change the toys out and introduce ones regularly, so your dog does not become bored. Because of their intelligence, Poms enjoy challenging puzzle toys the most.
Pomeranians are barkers, and so make for great watchdogs. They are dedicated to protecting their family and home. However, if frequent barking will get on your nerves, teach your Pom early in puppy-hood the “quiet” or “no barking” command.
This breed is also a challenge to house train due to stubbornness. Patience and consistent training or paper-training your Pom so he eliminates inside on a pad are the best solutions to this common Pom problem.
Because dental diseases are common in Pomeranians, you should take a proactive approach to your dog’s oral care. Brush your Pom’s teeth at least once a week but preferably daily. This care can stop the growth of bacteria, plaque, and tartar and prevent gum diseases.
Keep your Pomeranian’s nails trimmed regularly. Because they tend to be more indoor than outdoor dogs, Pomeranians’ nails can grow lengthy fast instead of naturally trimmed due to outside walks and other activities. It’s a painful experience to have a Pomeranian jump up in your lap if his nails are too long.
The Pomeranian’s ears also need regular care. Check your dog’s ears at least once a week to make sure there is no dirt, wax, or gunk inside. The ears should smell good and not give off a smelly odour. Should you see redness or gunk inside the ears, or if you notice your Pomeranian scratching frequently at his ears, contact the veterinarian. Infections can be managed and eliminated with medication; without treatment, your dog will suffer and possibly lose his hearing.
The original Pomeranian breed weighed between 9 and 13 Kg.
Mozart owned a Pomeranian named Pimperl for whom he wrote and dedicated an aria, and Chopin’s the “Waltz of the Little Dogs” was inspired by a friend’s Pom.
Only one Pomeranian, BISS/BIS Am. Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II ROMX, HOF, has won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, in 1988.
A Pom named Jiff set the Guinness World Record in 2014 for “Fastest Dog on Two Paws” as he can run 10 meters on his front legs in 7.76 seconds and on his hind legs in 6.56 seconds. That record was broken the next year by Konjo whose front paw record stands at 2.39 seconds.