Temperament: lively, courageous, and curious
Height at the shoulder: 6-7 inches
Weight: 3 to 7 lbs.
Life expectancy: 12-16 years
Breed group: Toy dogs
About the Pomeranian breed
Who can say no to that tiny cute fox-like face and smile of the Pomeranian? These toy dogs have been long-time favorites of celebrities, royalty as well as of ordinary dog lovers around the world.
They are among the most popular toy breeds thanks to their attractiveness, their absolutely gorgeous coats as well as their bubbly temperaments.
They combine a tiny body with a height of up to 7 inches and a weight of up to 7 lbs. with a true big dog personality.
The double coat of the dogs from this toy breed comes in over 20 different colors and can have various patterns and markings. The impressive frills on the chest and shoulder areas add to the incredible look of these tiny animals.
Poms are very smart and alert canines, and can be incredible watchdogs despite their small size. They are perfect companion dogs and can live well in all kinds of families, as long as the children are old enough to understand the difference between a live dog and a toy.
They are pretty active dogs but can thrive well with indoor games and exercises and brief walks outdoors which makes them perfect for urban dwellers and people living in apartments.
These intelligent pups can learn some fancy and fun tricks easily, so they are bound to make the owners and their friends laugh all the time.
The Pomeranians have descended from the large Northern sled dogs which is part of the reason why they think and act like big dogs. Poms are very good at obedience and agility trials and contests and are also excellent companion dogs.
These lively toy dogs are also known as Dwarf Spitz, Zwergspitz or Loulou, and are actually the smallest of all Spitz breeds, which include the Alaskan malamute, the Samoyed, and the Norwegian elkhound.
The name of this small dog breed comes from the Pomerania province in Germany, and the breed has been one of the most popular ones, ever since Queen Victoria showed a few of her own Poms at a conformation show.
They are feisty, furry, cute and very loyal tiny sized canines, which can be pretty independent and brave as well.
They are curious little pups which are always ready to explore the world around them, but due to their large dog personalities, they can attack and harass larger dogs which could be very dangerous for these tiny dogs. This is why early socialization is very important for Poms.
Their fox-like faces, wedge-shaped heads and cute erect ears and sparkling eyes make them one of the most adorable dog breeds of all.
Their button like noses are usually black or can be the same color as their coats. Their feathered tails stand like beautiful fans along their backs.
The Pomeranians come in a wide variety of colors, such as red, white, black, orange, cream, brown or blue. But they can also be parti-colored, black and tan, orange and sable and others.
With profuse double coats and impressive ruffs around their necks, these dogs are definitely eye-catching. But this beautiful appearance comes at a cost. They do need quite a bit of brushing, combing and sometimes trimming.
They are very alert and can be excellent watchdogs. More so, they bark pretty loudly and love barking so you will always know when a stranger is approaching. This excessive barking can pose problems if you have neighbors, so you should train your Pom to bark on command or to refrain from barking without reason from an early age.
You need to be firm and consistent when training your Pomeranian. With proper positive reinforcement and training, you can teach a dog from this breed to perform numerous neat tricks.
You should firmly establish yourself as the leader of the pack at home if you don’t want your Pomeranian to overtake the position as top dog, and to command the parade later on.
These energetic little pups will enjoy going on walks and exploring all of the new sights and smells they happen to stumble upon. They are also superb therapy dogs as well as hearing assistant dogs. For those of you who are willing to spend more time training their pup, you can turn your Pomeranian into an agility, obedience, fly ball or tracking champion too.
Keep in mind that these toy dogs are very susceptible to heat stroke, so you should be extra cautious when taking your Pom out on a very hot day and watch for early signs of overheating. These are house dogs and their place is indoors.
If you have toddlers at home or very active kids that enjoy roughhousing, then the Pomeranian is not a good choice for a family pet due to its tiny and fragile size.
Also, due to their toy size, Pomeranians can easily become prey to eagles, coyotes, hawks or other wild animals. This is why if you live in an area with wild animals you should never leave your dog outdoors alone and unsupervised!
They are also small and attractive, so they can easily become targets to dognappers, which is yet another reason to always keep an eye on your pup, and never leave it alone outside.
Their big dog personalities and hereditary boldness can bring upon serious problems because some Pomeranians may try to harass and even attack larger dogs. Needless to say, this can be very dangerous for your pint-sized pup, so make sure you socialize it well, and never let it out of sight especially when in contact with dogs you don’t know.
Like dogs from all other breeds, Pomeranians are prone to certain hereditary and other diseases and health problems, which is why you should stay away from untrusted breeders, puppy mills and pet shops, and always look for a reputable breeder who loves their dogs and has all the medical clearances necessary available.
Extroverted, vivacious and inquisitive, the Pomeranian is a fun little dog to have. When socialized well, it can get along with other dogs and pets in the household well. The problem is that like most other toy sized dogs, the Pomeranian truly believes that it is larger and stronger than it actually is. This can be problematic and even dangerous when it comes upon a larger aggressive dog.
The Pomeranian is an alert dog with a loud bark, so if you want a reliable watchdog – you will be getting one once you add a Pom to your household. But in order to prevent future problems with neighbors, you should train your dog to avoid unnecessary or excessive barking.
Of course, every dog is different, and its temperament depends on its genes, as well as on its training and socializing.
When picking a puppy from a litter, choose a playful and curious one which is willing to come to you and communicate with you. Stay away from overly aggressive or overly shy puppies, because often these characteristics cannot be outgrown.
Also, if possible, ask to meet the puppy’s mother and siblings, so that you can get a better idea of what to expect from your dog when it grows up.
No matter how perfect your puppy is, just like any other dog, your tiny Pom needs to be properly socialized from early puppyhood. You should meet it with new people and with different, non-aggressive dogs, as well as take to all kinds of places, so that it grows up to be well-rounded and with good social skills, rather than too timid or too aggressive.
Puppy kindergarten is an excellent starting point to the socializing and training of your Pomeranian pup.
Overall, a Pomeranian will be the perfect companion dog for you if you are looking for a compact, cute, smart, attentive and alert dog which is good with other pets.
If you are not ready to deal with excessive barking, if you have very small kids who do not know how to interact with such a fragile little animal, or if you are not confident or firm enough to train this strong-willed little Napoleon pup, then you may want to choose another dog breed.
Poms are toy sized dogs which though can be prone to becoming overweight, so you will need to watch the diet of your pup closely. The recommended daily amount of premium quality dog food for a Pomeranian is between ¼ to ½ cups a day.
Of course, the quantity of food you give to your dog depends on the quality and caloric value of the food, as well as on the age, the energy level, metabolism and overall health of the pup.
Avoid feeding your Pomeranian with human food scraps, especially when they contain too much fat or ingredients which can be toxic for the dog.
Speak to your vet if you are worried about your pet being overweight and always follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturers of the dog food of your choice, in order to prevent it from becoming obese. Obesity in all dogs can lead to numerous health problems and can shorten their lifespans.
No doubt, the gorgeous double coat of the Pomeranian is its most recognizable feature. The coat and the ruff need to be brushed regularly, in order to keep it looking fluffy and perfect. You can use a pin brush or a slicker brush to keep the hair looking good, prevent matting and redistribute the skin and hair oils evenly.
The coat of this toy sized dog is double, with a soft, fluffy and thick undercoat and a shiny, long and straight topcoat. The frill around the neck and shoulders is especially impressive, but the most outstanding feature is the gorgeous plumed tail which lies flat on the back of the dog like a fan. Keep in mind that Poms are not born with tails like that and it may take some time for the tail to develop this shape and form.
Even though their coats look absolutely stunning, Pomeranians are perceived as moderate shedders. The males usually shed their undercoats only once a year and the females will most likely shed while they are in season or after they deliver a litter.
In order to keep the coat shiny and fluffy, and the hair off of your clothes and furniture, comb and brush the coat of your dog at least twice a week. Always brush and comb the hair from the skin, in order to get rid of all tangles and problematic areas, and also to remove the dead hairs from the undercoat.
Some owners prefer to trim the Pom’s feet, ears, face and around the anus in order to keep it neat and tidy.
Since Poms are pretty lively and active, it is essential that you trim your dog’s nails at least once a month.
In order to keep your pup looking gorgeous and stay healthy, you should visit a professional groomer every 4-6 weeks to take care of its bathing, hair brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning and anal gland expressing.
Of course, if you are experienced and confident enough to do all this at home, then you can do it yourself.
Make sure you take extra care for the teeth and gums of your Pomeranian by brushing them regularly, because the dogs from this breed are prone to dental problems and early tooth loss.
You can bathe your Pomeranian as often as you like but you need to use a specialized mild shampoo and conditioner for dogs.
Always examine the dog for any signs of infection or health problems, like redness, sores, rashes, tenderness or foul smells of the ears, skin, eyes, nose and other body parts.
In order to teach your dog to tolerate the weekly grooming session, it is advisable to start training it from day one and use rewards when it behaves well and sits through the grooming without resisting. This will make your grooming sessions a much more enjoyable and easy experience later on.
You may think that this toy sized and toy-like dog is simply a lapdog, but the truth is, Poms are pretty energetic and will enjoy going on walks, playing and exercising with you. Make sure you always keep an eye on your Pomeranian when it is outside, because it can easily fall prey to a larger predator and wild animal, and can also get in trouble with larger dogs.
Poms are so small that they can easily get away through the tiniest crevice and hole in the fence. Their curious nature may make them stray away.
Otherwise, Pomeranians can get the exercise they need indoors as well, as long as you provide them with a couple of brief walks every day.
Keep in mind that these small pups are sensitive to heat, so avoid taking them out when it is too hot, and always look for signs that the dog is getting overheated in order to prevent heat stroke.
As mentioned earlier on, their small size may make them easy prey for eagles, hawks, coyotes or other predators, so never leave the Pom alone unsupervised outdoors, especially if there are wild animals in the area.
As a whole, Poms are excellent pets for people who live in the city, and for those with small living spaces without backyards. They do though require daily walks, as well as daily mental and physical stimulation, so they are not exactly couch potatoes.
The fluffy fox-like Pomeranian may seem like a timid little lapdog, but it has the personality of a large dog and is very intelligent and active canine. This means that it needs to be trained thoroughly from an early age.
You will need to set the rules about who is in command early on with a dog like this if you want to avoid being bossed around and your commands being ignored later on.
You should start teaching your Pom to walk on a leash from day one. Also, housebreaking can be a bit of a challenge with some dogs from this breed, so you will need to be patient and consistent and take the little one out every other hour, right after it wakes up or after it eats, so it gets into the habit to take its business outside.
Even though these tiny dogs are energetic and agile, you should avoid allowing them to jump off from high furniture to avoid injuries.
They are smart and with the proper training and positive reinforcement can learn numerous tricks and become excellent performers in all kinds of activities and trials including obedience, agility, tracking, and rally. They are also very good as therapy or hearing assistant dogs.
You should train the Pom to stop barking at your command because it has a loud bark and also loves barking.
Also, if you have children it is essential to teach them to play and interact with the dog only when they are sitting on the floor in order to prevent them from dropping the pup. Roughhousing is out of the question with a tiny dog like this, so it is not a suitable pet for families with toddlers or rougher kids.
Always supervise any interactions between the children and the dog to avoid accidents.
Pomeranians can be taught to get along with other pets in the house when they are introduced early on. Keep your pet away from bigger dogs, because their mindset is that of larger dogs and they can often underestimate the size differences when interacting with other canines.
They are also very intelligent animals which can get bored easily if you don’t present them with new games and toys to play with. You can also keep your Pomeranian mentally and physically stimulated by teaching it various different tricks.
Make the training sessions short but fun, because long and repetitive exercise will easily bore the Pomeranian.
Use positive reinforcement by offering your good dog treats, praises or other rewards, but be careful about the quantity and type of treats you give to your dog, in order to prevent it from becoming overweight.
Pomeranians may seem fragile, but they are actually pretty healthy dogs with lifespans of an average of 12 to 16 years. But just like with any other dog breed, they have certain health conditions and problems which they are more prone to developing or inheriting.
The genetic diseases are easily preventable if you make sure you get your puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder who has all of the health clearances for the parents and the puppies. You can expect to see a health clearance for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, thrombopathia as well as an eye health clearance issued by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Even though not all Poms will get any of these diseases throughout their lifetimes, it is good for the owners to know which ones to be on the lookout for just in case.
Here are some of the common illnesses to look for if you have a Pomeranian:
Dog allergies are as common as human allergies. Poms can be allergic to certain types of foods, to certain environmental allergens as well as to fleas or any material, detergent, substance or fabric.
Look for signs like incessant scratching and biting, rubbing of the face, licking of the paws, biting the tail area, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea. As your vet to rule out other health problems and if your dog turns out to be allergic take action to find out the allergens to keep it away from and the other measures to take to make the condition manageable. In some cases, an elimination diet can do wonders for resolving a food allergy. In others, keeping the dog free of fleas can resolve it. In certain types of allergies, your vet can prescribe medication to make your pup more comfortable, and to prevent allergic reactions.
Fortunately, canine allergy is rarely dangerous, unless the dog has an anaphylactic shock.
Like all other dogs, some Poms may have epilepsy. It is usually inherited but can be caused by an injury to the head as well. Epilepsy exhibits itself through seizures of different types. The dog may have a classic epileptic seizure or display unusual behavior such as running frantically as if it is chased or others. Even though epilepsy cannot be cured, it can easily be managed when diagnosed and treated properly with the right medications.
Eye disease and problems
Pomeranians are prone to a number of eye problems, including dry eye, cataracts or tear duct problems. Check the puppy for health clearance for the eyesight of its parents. Also, go to the vet if you notice that your puppy is having a discharge from the eyes, excessive tearing or other problems with the eyes and eyesight. Cataracts can be removed surgically, and other eye problems can be resolved with the proper medication and treatment if it is timely.
This condition is pretty common among Pomeranians. Hip dysplasia is inherited, so always ask your breeder for health clearance for both parents of your puppy before adopting it. Hip dysplasia is a deformity which causes the thigh bone to not fit properly in the hip joint. It can cause pain or lameness in one or both of the rear legs of the dogs. Thankfully, unlike larger and giant dog breeds, the tiny Pom can cope with walking and living with Hip dysplasia much easier due to its small size and light weight.
In general, dogs with this condition should not be bred at all, so if you pick a responsible breeder, you shouldn’t have problems with hip dysplasia.
Legg Perthes disease
This is yet another condition which affects the hip joint. Many toy dog breeds are prone to developing this condition. It causes the blood supply to the large femur bone to be decreased at the area where it connects to the dog’s pelvis, and this makes it disintegrate gradually.
The first symptoms of this condition usually appear when the puppies are only 4-6 months old, and they usually include limping or atrophy of the muscle of the rear leg.
If diagnosed in time, the vet could be able to remove the diseased bone at the point where it connects to the pelvis. As a result, a so-called “false joint” develops from the scar tissue and helps free the puppy from pain and allows it to walk once again.
This is another bone and joint problem which is relatively common among Pomeranians. It is a dislocation of the knee joint, which causes pain and lameness. This condition can be crippling in severe cases, but more often Poms are able to live normally even with this condition.
This condition causes the airway which connects the throat to the lungs to collapse easily. As a result, the airway can become partially or completely blocked. The symptoms of collapsed trachea include chronic harsh and dry coughing which sounds more like a honk. This can be caused by pulling the dog’s collar too much, so you should definitely teach your Pomeranian to walk beside you on a leash without pulling and tugging. You may also consider switching from using a collar to a harness which doesn’t put so much pressure on the throat and the trachea of the pup.
A collapsed trachea can be fixed via surgery or with certain medical treatments.
Dental and gum problems
Pomeranians commonly suffer from problems with the teeth and gums as well as early tooth loss. You should brush your dog’s teeth regularly, and take it to the vet for regular examinations and cleaning of the teeth and gums as well.
As a whole, Pomeranians are pretty sturdy little pups, and if you take the necessary precautions to keep them from becoming overweight or obese, as well as regularly check them for worrying symptoms and go on veterinary checkups, you can expect your dogs to live long and happy lives.
Some other conditions for which Pomeranian breeders are testing their dogs include hypothyroidism, alopecia X, congestive heart failure, and other genetic problems.
Developed in the German province of Pomerania, the ancestors of the Poms are several ancient Spitz breeds from the area and from other Northern countries. The closest relatives to the Pomeranians are the German Spitz, the Norwegian elkhound, the Samoyed, the American Eskimo dog, and the Schipperke. The typical traits of the dogs of the Spitz type are their wedge-shaped heads, thick furry coats and prick ears.
When they were first developed, Pomeranians used to be much larger dogs and would weigh about 30 lbs.
Right from the very beginning of their development, Pomeranians become widely popular dogs. Some historical figures such as Martin Luther, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, and Mozart had dogs from this breed. The famous theologian Martin Luther had a Pom called Belferlein whom he often mentioned in his famous writings. Michelangelo’s Pomeranian was said to have sat on a silk cushion and watch his master paint the Sistine Chapel.
Genial physicist Isaac Newton admitted that his Pomeranian named Diamond ate several of his manuscripts throughout the years.
The prodigy composer Mozart dedicated an entire opera aria to his Pomeranian named Pimperl.
A royal marriage brought the Pomeranians to England and increased their popularity among royalty. In 1761, Princess Sophie Charlotte from a province next to Pomerania married the future English King George III and brought her pair of Pomeranians to her new home and kingdom with her. The dogs named Mercury and Phebe weighed over 20 lbs. which seems to be the standard during those years. After this marriage, the Poms remained very popular among the members of royalty but not among the common public.
All of this changed when Victoria (who was Sophie Charlotte’s granddaughter) became the queen of England. During her 64 year reign as sovereign of the country, Victoria bred more than 15 different dog breeds. One of her favorites were the Pomeranians. She first saw dogs from this breed when visiting Italy in 1888, and she brought back a red Pom named Marco with her who became her favorite pet. Marco weighed just 12 lbs. and it is believed that he set the standard for breeding smaller-sized Pomeranians in the future.
Marco took part in a lot of competitions and shows and won numerous honors over the years.
Along with Marco, Victoria brought home three other dogs from the breed. The second favorite and most famous of them was Gina who also became champion of numerous dog shows in London.
Historical records show that Victoria was so fond of her Pomeranians that she asked for her Pom Turi to be placed alongside her while she was on her death bed.
Fanciers of the breed believe that Victoria’s love for the Pomeranians especially the smaller sized ones was the main reason why breeders began working on breeding much smaller dogs from this breed.
From 1900 to 1930 Pomeranians were the most popular dogs at the Crufts national championship dog show. It was then when the Pomeranian breed standard was established with a size corresponding to that of today’s Poms and with the coat fluffiness and frilling typical of today’s dogs from this breed.
The early Pomeranians were usually black, white, blue or chocolate, but after an orange dog from the breed began winning all shows in the 1920s the range of the acceptable colors of the coats of the Poms began expanding.
In 1888, Dick the Pomeranian became the first dog from the breed to be registered by the American Kennel Club. In 1892, the first Pomeranian appeared at a dog show in the USA, and the breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1900.
Their popularity in the US began increasing rapidly, and in 1909, the American Pomeranian Club became an official member of the AKC. During the 1950s, the Pomeranian became one of the most popular companion dog breeds in the USA. Today they are among the top 15 most popular breeds in the country.