The Pomeranian
Descended from Ancient Spitz Dogs

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The Pomeranian was once larger than it now is and has a very long and quite amazing history. From Queen Victoria to Martin Luther, from Isaac Newton to Michelangelo it has won the hearts of many people. It is certainly a little dog with a big personality.

The Pomeranian is a great lap dog and companion and is quite a different dog, especially in size to what it once was when developed in Pomerania. It has gone from being one mostly only favored by the royal and nobles to a very popular dog amongst the everyday people. However care must be taken, this is not a dog for homes with small children. It is important not to over spoil it and to give it training and socialization.

Here is the Pomeranian at a Glance
Name Pomeranian
Other Names Deutsche Spitze, Zwergspitz, Spitz Nain, Spitz Enano, Zwers, Dwarf Spitz
Nicknames Pom, Pom Pom, Loulou
Origin Germany and Poland
Average size Small (toy)
Average weight 3 to 7 pounds
Average height 7 to 12 inches
Life span 12 to 16 years
Coat type Double - thick, soft undercoat, long, straight, shiny, harsh top coat
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, blue, tan, brown, cream, orange, sable, red, Silver, gold, grey, brindle, fawn, white
Popularity Ranked 21st by the AKC
Intelligence Very good – it is an intelligent dog
Tolerance to heat Moderate – it cannot handle overly warm climates
Tolerance to cold Very good – its coat means it is well able to handle cold climates
Shedding Moderate all year but males can shed undercoats once or twice a year and females can shed undercoat when in season, after a litter or when stressed
Drooling Low – does not drool
Obesity Prone to obesity – watch its exercise and feeding
Grooming/brushing Moderate to high – has some particular needs and will need daily brushing
Barking Frequent – will bark at anything
Exercise needs Moderate – very active indoors and then will need daily walks outside too
Trainability Moderate easy – Enjoy it but sessions should be kept short and fun
Friendliness Good – it can be friendly but can be wary
Good first dog Very good – It is not a hard dog to own so it is very good for first owners
Good family pet Good – while affectionate with its owners it needs help with children and other pets so is more a couple's pet than a family pet
Good with children Moderate – it is not naturally good with children and will need socialization and supervision
Good with other dogs Moderate – it needs socialization and training to be happy around other dogs
Good with other pets Good with socialization – does not have a high prey drive
Good with strangers Good – can be wary
Good apartment dog Very good – its size means it is able to happily live in an apartment as long as it gets daily outside exercise
Handles alone time well Low – it does not like being alone and can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Quite a healthy dog but can be prone to deafness, patellar luxation and can also suffer with allergies and have dental problems
Medical expenses $435 a year including basic medical needs and pet insurance
Food expenses $75 a year for dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $460 a year for professional grooming, license, training, toys and miscellaneous costs
Average annual expense $970 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $900
Biting Statistics Attacks doing bodily harm: 1 Maimings: 0 Child Victims: 1 Deaths: 1
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The Pomeranian's Beginnings

The development of the Pomeranian happened in the German and Polish province of Pomerania hence their name. They are descended from very old Spitz breeds from Northern Europe. Spitz is German for sharp point which refers to the shape of their muzzles. Back then they were bred to be larger, some weighing as much as thirty pounds. It was a popular dog in Europe back then, it is said that Michelangelo's Pom watched him paint the Sistine Chapel, Martin Luther often wrote of his Pom in his writings, Mozart composed an aria to his Pom and Isaac Newton had a Pom who had a fondness for chewing his papers.

It came to England in 1761 with Princess Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz which was a neighboring province to Pomerania. She married an English prince who came to be King George III and brought with her two Poms who then weighed over 20 pounds. However while the Pom was popular with the nobles and royals it did not catch on with the public.

New Lease on Life

The lack of popularity changed with her granddaughter, who became Queen Victoria. She was also a fan of the dog and actually had her own breeding kennel. She had a preference for the smaller versions of the Pom and so other breeders in England began to breed the dog smaller decreasing the size by as much as 50%. In 1891 the first English breed club was formed and they wrote a breed standard for the Pomeranian. In America it was recognized by the AKC in 1900.

For the first 30 years of the 1900s more Poms entered Crufts than any other breed. The size and standards were stabilized to what they are now and a wider range of colors became more acceptable from the more standard white, black, blue or chocolate. Two Poms survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. By the mid 1900s the Pomeranian was one of the most popular breeds in America. Today it is ranked 21st most popular dog by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

This is a small toy dog weighing 3 to 7 pounds and standing 7 to 12 inches. It has a wedged shaped head and a straight and short muzzle. Nose color changes with coat color and it has alond shaped dark eyes. It has erect and small ears set high on the head.

It is a sturdy and compact dog with a thick double coat and a ruff of fur around the neck. The undercoat is thick, fluffy and soft and the top coat is straight, long and shiny but harsh. It has a plumed tail that is set high and has feathering around legs. Colors are black, blue, tan, brown, cream, orange, sable, red, silver, gold, grey, brindle, merle, fawn and white.

The Inner Pomeranian

Temperament

It is a very extroverted and lively dog. It enjoys being social, and loves to meet new people who can lavish attention on it. It is a very inquisitive and alert dog and tends to bark a fair bit. It is intelligent and loyal and makes a great companion to many types of owners.

Poms do have an independent side to them so it will need a firm hand or it may develop bad behavior from being spoiled. As well as being spirited it is affectionate and loving to its family. It is very playful but can become very demanding if training is not given.

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Small dog syndrome can be a problem with Poms, where owners over spoiled it and allowed it to think it is the pack leader. If a Pom is exhibiting traits such as challenging larger dogs, aggression towards strangers, excessive barking, separation anxiety, being nervous and temperamental this is something your raising has caused not natural examples of a Poms temperament.

Living with a Pomeranian

Training expectations

Training a Pom will be moderately easy so expect things to be gradual but not painful. It is intelligent and eager to please but has a short attention span and an independent side. When training use positive techniques and keep the sessions short and interesting. It enjoys learning tricks and the attention performing them brings to it. This is also a good way to give it some mental stimulation.

Early training and socialization are important. Exposing it to different situations, places, sounds, sights and people will ensure it grows to be more accepting, well rounded and trustworthy. Sometimes it will be disinclined to listen to your orders! Be consistent and very firm while still being positive. Set clear rules and do not let its smallness and cuteness to sway you.

Housebreaking may be more difficult as it is so easy for them to sneak off into a corner somewhere without you seeing and being able to correct it. Before it becomes a bad habit you are struggling to break carry out crate training that you are consistent with.

How active is the Pomeranian?

They are active and lively but as a toy breed this is not much in our terms. It will enjoy playing with its toys indoors and is of a size where apartment living is completely fine. Take it out for a short to medium walk once or twice a day and play with it and that should be enough. Allowing them some time off leash somewhere safe to run around is also a god idea. It can be found in obedience as well as agility events when in dog shows.

Caring for the Pomeranian

Grooming needs

Pomeranians shed a moderate amount all year but there are times when it is is heavier for example males shed the undercoat once or twice a year in seasonal shedding and females who have not been spayed will shed undercoats too when they are in season, when they are stressed and when delivering a litter. To keep up with the loose hair it should be brushed daily and vacuuming is likely going to be needed daily too as there will be hair on furnishings and such. When brushing make sure you get all the way down to the undercoat. Since it is long haired it will need regular trips to a professional groomer.

The Pom should be bathed as it needs it using a dog shampoo. When you give a dog a bath too frequently it can cause dry skin problems from damaging the skin's natural oils. It will need its ears checked for infection once a week and then give them a wipe clean. Its teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week. Its nails will need to be clipped when they get too long, and this is something to be done by someone with experience or by a professional groomer.

Feeding time

It will need to be fed ¼ to ½ a cup of high quality dry dog food each day. This should be divided into two meals a day at least. A better quality food is more nutritious and better for the dog as it has less unnecessary fillers. Amounts can vary somewhat depending on metabolism, activity levels, size and age. Be prepared the Pom can be a picky eater.

Children and other animals

It is a great dog around children, but because of its size it is fragile and that can be a problem around smaller children who do not know how to take care. A lot of Pom breeders will not actually sell to homes with young children. The Pom is easy to injure and care needs to be taken. Teach children how to play and be affectionate with it in a safe and careful way.

Most Poms get on well with other pets like cats though socialization and being raised with them can help. Larger dogs can be a problem though as the Pom can challenge them despite its size and a larger dog could hurt it or worse even sometimes with just rough play. It will need supervision around other dogs to protect it.

What Might Go Wrong

Health Concerns

In general the Pom is a healthy dog but conditions it can suffer from include Patellar Luxation, Dental problems, Allergies, Epilepsy, Collapsed Trachea, Legg-Perthes, Hip Dysplasia and Eye Problems. To get a healthy dog buy from a breeder who is trustworthy and can show you parental health clearances. Its life span is 12 to 16 years.

Often people see a toy dog and see its cuteness and want one without considering the ramifications. But there is a lot of responsibility to owning a dog like this because it is fragile and even simple things need to be thought out. Accidentally kicking, tripping over or sitting on the Pom will kill it or seriously injure it. Allowing it to jump too high or too far can lead to similar consequences. Other pets or dogs could hurt it and since it tends to challenge large dogs it will be up to you to protect it. A toy dog needs more supervision and awareness.

Biting Statistics

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When looking at reports over the last 34 years on dog attacks on people the Pom can be found to have been involved in 1 attack that led to the death of the victim. The fact is even despite its size a Pomeranian can be aggressive and can attack under the right circumstances as can any dog. Make sure you get one you can give the right exercise to and food to, that you give training and socialization and treat it well. A dog is less likely to have issues with aggression when raised properly.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Pomeranian have an average price of $900. However some breeders charge a lot more, and breeders of show dogs charge more than that! You can find prices ranging from $500 to $4000. You can look at your local shelters and rescues for something less costly and for the joy in giving a dog a new chances and home. This will then cost $50 to $200 but it will probably be adult Poms you find, not a puppy.

Initial costs also need to be considered. If it is female it will need spaying if it is male it will neutering. That can cost about $190. Other medical requirements will include blood tests, shots, micro chipping and deworming. For these routine medical procedures you can expect to pay about $70. It will need some basic items too such as a collar and leash, crate and carrier. These costs will start at $100.

Next there are annual costs to prepare for. Even a small dog like this one will cost something! Early obedience training for just the basics will cost about $120. Further training, professional help with a trainer or a school or training for shows will cost more.

You new dog will need to eat and you will want to offer it some treats, both as a treat now and then and to be used as part of your training techniques. Yearly food costs will start at $75 but if you prefer more upscale brands this will be more.

Other annual costs will include a license for $20, toys for $20, professional grooming for $265 and miscellaneous costs at $35. There are also medical annual costs – just the basics will cost $210 a year for things like vaccinations, check ups and flea prevention. Pet health insurance or some form of medical emergency savings will also be needed for $225 a year.

Overall annual costs for owning a Pomeranian will start at $970.

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