As a relative to the Spitz family, Pomeranians are descended from large, Arctic-dwelling working breeds, particularly the German Spitz. Although the origins of the Pomeranian are largely unknown, it is widely believed that the dog earned its name from the Pomerania region in Poland. While the Pomeranian likely originated elsewhere, it is the people of this region that are credited with developing the breed as we know it today. Little is known about the Pomeranian’s popularity prior to the 1700’s when it was introduced to the royal family of England. This introduction popularized the breed, especially as Queen Charlotte had great affinity for her dogs, Phoebe and Mercury, who were often depicted in paintings. Queen Charlotte’s daughter, Queen Victoria, enthusiastically bred Pomeranians and is responsible for dramatically shrinking their size by approximately 50%. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1888. An interesting tidbit is that two Pomeranians survived the sinking of the Titanic, making their way onto lifeboats with their owners.
As companion-bred dogs, Pomeranians can be highly affectionate towards their owners. However, they also are said to suffer from “Napoleon Complex” and can behave aggressively towards other animals in order to prove themselves. They are excellent watch dogs, with a strong territorial instinct and are prone to barking at new stimuli, sometimes to the point of excess. However, Pomeranians are highly intelligent and trainable, and can therefore be easily trained and socialized in order to avoid this behavior. They require little exercise, but their big personality and playful nature ensures they are always up for an adventure.
As a toy breed, Pomeranians are small dogs, typically standing 5 – 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing less than 8 lbs. They have a thick double-coat that requires daily brushing in order to keep shedding to a minimum. Trimming should be performed every 6 – 8 weeks in order to keep the coat’s length manageable and avoid tangling and matting. The most common Pomeranian colors are orange, cream and white, and black; however, 18 colors and 9 markings are admissible, making this breed one of the most variable in coloring.
In general, the Pomeranian is an extremely sturdy breed, with a life expectancy of 12 – 16 years. Preventative maintenance is imperative for this breed, as ear, eye, and dental issues can arise if routine care is not provided. Although hip dysplasia is rare in this breed, luxating patella is common. Tracheal collapse is also experienced by Pomeranians disproportionately relative to other breeds, so it is important to always use a harness, as opposed to a collar, when leashing your dog. In addition, “black skin disease,” also called Alopecia X, is typical. Here, a Pomeranian will experience hair loss as well as darkening of the skin. A healthy diet is important for Pomeranians as obesity can exacerbate many of the health issues they are prone to developing. Little exercise is required for this breed; however, a daily walk is recommended in order to keep this breed mentally and physically stimulated.