Pomeranian: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

Pomeranian: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

Pomeranians are most notable for their small stature, curly tail, fluffy coat, and big personalities. Known to be somewhat officious Poms are a loyal and friendly dog breed loved and adored by many including well-known historical figures such as Queen Victoria and Mozart.

Although they may not be the best choice of dog breed for families with smaller children, the Pomeranian can be the perfect companion for some. Poms are active, intelligent, devoted dogs and, believe it or not, are descended from 50+ pound dogs bred to pull sleds and herd. Read on to find out more about this vivacious and adorable dog breed.

Breed Overview

Breed GroupHeightWeightLife Expectancy
Toy Group 6 - 7 Inches3 - 7 lbs12 - 16 Years

History of the Pomeranian Dog Breed

Also known as the Zwergspitz or the Dwarf Spitz, the Pomeranian goes back centuries and is descended from the sled dogs of Lapland and Iceland. Originally the Pomeranian was a lot larger than the Pom we all know and love today as they were bred from dogs that were made for herding, guarding, and pulling sleds.

The dog breeds that the Pomeranian derived from were known as Spitz breeds which are responsible for some of the main characteristics of the Pom. These features include their small ears and thick double coat. Both the double coat and small ears were valuable to the breed as they would protect them from harsh, cold weather conditions.

It is believed that the downsizing of the breed began when they arrived in Europe along the coast of the Baltic sea. This may also be where Pomeranians got their name as the region along the coast was known as Pomerania.

During the 19th century, when visiting Italy, Queen Victoria fell in love with the breed bringing one back to England and then forming a breeding kennel, which sparked its popularity. It is also believed that the Queen was responsible for the further downsizing of the now toy dog which would separate it into a different breed group altogether.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Pomeranian dog breed made its way across the pond and into the United States where its popularity grew even more. By 1888 the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club and by 1909 the American Pomeranian Club was formed, accepted, and designated as the Parent Club for the Pom.

Small Pomeranian Spitz stands in the forest. Dog outdoor.

Breed Information

Before going in-depth about the Pomeranian, here are some quick, key facts for you to know. These may come in handy if you are considering owning a Pom.

  • Pomeranian dogs are not considered hypoallergenic
  • Poms have a thick double coat that will need frequent brushing and care
  • During warmer months, it’s important to keep Poms cool as their fur traps heat
  • Due to their minimal exercise needs, Poms are common pets in the city. Especially for those who live in apartments
  • Although they can be loyal, Poms can be stubborn and bold in nature which is common in toy breeds
  • Their alert nature can mean that they are prone to bark a lot
  • It is recommended that Poms are crate trained at an early age
  • Those looking to buy a Pomeranian must look thoroughly for a reputable breeder as Pom puppy mills can be very common.
  • Pomeranians can often get bald spots in their fur during old age

Breed Appearance

All Pomeranians will generally have the same physical characteristics. With a thick, soft coat, small fox-like face, curled tail, short ears, and small size but their colors and markings can vary.

Dog Size

As you probably already know, that despite their bold personality and immensely fluffy coats the pomeranian is small in size. A standard and healthy adult Pomeranian will be between six to seven inches in height and weigh between three to seven pounds.

Occasionally some Pomeranian puppies are born larger than their littermates. This is speculated to be because of their genetics as their ancestors were originally a lot larger in size and height.

In addition to this, you can also find smaller Poms known as a Teacup Pomeranian which can usually weigh less than the standard Pom. These pups are bred frequently and have become exceedingly popular over the past few years. However, due to their breeding and size, they can be prone to more health conditions.

Coat Type

As mentioned previously, this toy dog has a double coat this is made up of a long, straight overcoat and dense undercoat. Due to their genetic heritage, this double coat was ideal for trapping heat during harsh and cold weather conditions, so if you’re considering owning a Pom it may not be ideal to own one if you live in a hot area unless you can keep them cool.

Coat Colors

These small dogs are commonly seen sporting the usual red or cream-colored coats however the AKC recognizes several shades and markings. These breed standard colors include:

  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Sable
  • Tan and Chocolate
  • Red
  • Red Sable
  • Orange
  • Orange Sable
  • Cream
  • Cream Sable
  • Wold Sable
  • White
  • Beaver
  • Blue
  • Blue Sable
  • Blue Merle
  • Blue and Tan
  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Black and Brindle

Coat Markings

In addition to the huge list of recognized colors, there are also a number of markings that the Pom is affiliated with including:

  • Tri-Color markings
  • Parti-Colored
  • Sable
  • Brindle
  • Irish Marked
  • Mask
  • Tan Markings
  • Merle Marks
  • White Marks

Fun Facts!

  • Two of the three dogs that survived the sinking of the Titanic were Pomeranians
  • History states that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Marie Antoinette were Pom owners/admirers
  • The APC held its first show for Poms in 1911. 262 Pomeranians were entered which goes to show how popular they really were!
  • Although a member of the toy breed group, the Pom was originally a member of the Spitz breed group.

Clever pomeranian dog with a book.

Personality

Temperament

Smaller dog breeds, such as the pomeranian, tend to be vivacious and vocal but that doesn’t imply that they are all that way inclined. The Pomeranian breed is known to be lively, clever, curious, and bold although it’s important to understand that dogs can have differing personalities.

Most Poms have a big personality that some would associate with larger dogs however, depending on how you raise and train them, they can sometimes grow to be calm and duteous. Pomeranians that are taught obedience young often mature to be watchful and dedicated members of the family but this may not come without obstacles as they are known to be somewhat stubborn dogs.

Energy Level

Pomeranians are regarded as lively but they are not the most energetic pets compared to other dog breeds. In a nutshell, they are considered to have a moderate to high energy level and like most dogs, will need entertaining, exercising, and training to effectively burn it off.

Barking

In short, Pomeranians have a tendency to bark a lot. Since they are descended from guard and sled dogs it’s in their nature as it’s their way of communicating to their owners. In the modern era, excessive barking can be a bother (unless you prefer a fluffy doorbell) as Poms can often bark at the slightest of noises. However, this behavior can often be turned off with regular training or can be adapted so that your dog barks on command rather than when they please.

Sociability

Like other dogs, Pomeranians will need to be socialized from an early age for them to be able to interact suitably with other people, pets, and animals. Once grown, they can be very socially curious dogs that will love spending time with you outside or around the house.

Children and Other Pets

Poms aren’t known to have aggressive or possessive personality traits but they do like to play. These small dogs can get along very well with other smaller dogs, cats, and even children. However, it is not recommended that you get yourself a Pomeranian if you have small children due to the Poms’ fragility. Children who aren’t old enough to understand how to play with and treat pets may accidentally injure a small dog whilst trying to play with them.

It is also worth noting that if a Pom isn’t socialized thoroughly with other animals they may also have difficulty backing down from confrontation especially with larger dogs. Frequent training will ensure that they will listen to owners’ commands if they feel uneasy about the presence of another dog. Social training will also help them to understand that other dogs are not a threat.

Entertaining Your Pom

Entertaining your canine friend is important as not only does it burn excess energy but it can help you bond with them. There are numerous ways you can entertain a Pom including getting them a variety of dog toys to play with, letting them run and frolic in the yard, or taking them for walks. Visits to the dog park are also recommended as well as enrolling them in some form of dog sports as these can be great ways to bond, train, and exercise them.

Some dogs are made to be excellent swimmers and although Pomeranians can learn to swim they aren’t the best. Whereas swimming can be an excellent way to burn off energy for some dogs, Poms must be supervised when in any body of water. This is because they do not possess the same stamina as other breeds and are at risk of drowning if left alone.

Some Pomeranians can be standoffish when it comes to water and may not like getting wet at all (you’ll know this to be true if they dread bath time) although others may enjoy a simple paddle. Just remember that their thick coat may take a while to dry if they’ve been in the water and that it can be uncomfortable for some dogs.

Care of the Pomeranian Dog Breed

Before you are set on getting yourself a cute little Pomeranian, it’s important to understand all of their pet care needs before making the final decision. Poms may not be the highest maintenance dog but they still require a decent level of care that you must ensure you are able to provide.

Training

Training any dog is important regardless of what breed they are. It will not only teach them good behavior but will also prevent them from developing bad or destructive habits later in life. The earlier you train a Pom the better as they can be prone to separation anxiety and excessive barking.

It’s vital that you approach training with patience and persistence as Pomeranians can be stubborn despite being intelligent dogs. However, Poms generally love a challenge and can excel quickly when training.

Dog sports are great to include in a coaching regime as they can provide incredible health benefits as well as a good level of mental stimulation. It will also help to improve your communication techniques and provide useful methods to use to teach your dog.

If you need any tips or advice on specific training accessories or methods, take a look through our training archive to find some useful information and guides.

Exercise

Like all dogs, Poms enjoy the comfort of their own home and a relaxing snooze next to their owners although it’s vital that they get daily exercise to keep them active and fend off obesity. Pomeranians have a moderate level of energy but they are still small dogs which means they won’t need at much exercise as you may think.

Generally, 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to keep a Pomeranian in good shape whether it’s a walk to the park or a run around in the garden. Frequent play times will also help to keep your Pomeranian dog in good shape.

Feeding

Pomeranians thrive best when on a high-quality, high-protein diet consisting of small kibble. A healthy diet will help to prevent health and dental conditions and may also increase their life expectancy.

Providing your Pomeranian puppy with a balanced diet will also ensure that they develop safely and healthily. Ample micronutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and probiotics will provide them with everything they need to be healthy inside and out.

When choosing dog food for your Pomeranian, always read the feeding guidelines to ensure that they are getting the appropriate amount of food each day. Weight monitoring is also crucial when caring for a Pom to avoid obesity. It may also be beneficial to speak to your breeder or vet to get the best advice concerning the dietary needs of the particular dog breed.

If you need help finding suitable and safe food for a Pom, have a read of our guide of the best for Pomeranians.

Grooming Needs

Although they have thick, double coats a Pomeranian dog is relatively easy to groom due to its small size. It is recommended that dog owners brush their Pom at least twice a week. Frequent brushing of the coat is necessary to untangle fur, prevent matting, and generally keep it looking healthy.

Pomeranians will need to bathe once a month to maintain a good hygiene standard. Using an effective shampoo and conditioner can also help to reduce the matting and tangling of the fur and can keep coats in good condition and looking great.

Shedding

As you can imagine, the Pomeranian does shed but usually, the hairs are that fine that they often go unnoticed. Regular brushing will reduce shedding significantly.

General Grooming Needs

Long nails can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs so it’s crucial that you keep your dog’s nails trimmed. You may also want to ensure their ears are cleaned regularly and are free from wax build-up. Pomeranians generally have small ears so the accumulation of wax may be rare but make sure to keep an eye out to avoid infections.

Potential Health Issues

Pomeranians are generally healthy dogs that can have a longer life span compared to other breeds. However, they can be vulnerable to certain health issues that can affect toy breeds amongst other issues. Some of these conditions are uncommon but it’s important to understand that it’s not impossible for a Pomeranian to suffer from one of them.

If you’re looking to purchase a Pomeranian from a breeder always make sure you obtain proof that the necessary tests have taken place to ensure your pup and its parents are healthy. Trustworthy breeders will be able to provide proof without hesitation and even introduce you to both of the pup’s parents.

Heart Condition

Heart issues (such as heart disease) can occur in smaller breeds at any time throughout their life span with some passing from heart failure in their senior years. Whenever you plan a check-up for your Pomeranian you must always get their heart checked. Veterinary medicine can often help their expectancy in some cases and may even prevent them from exacerbating.

Seizures

Seizures can be terrifying for a dog owner and their pet. Sadly Pomeranians can sometimes inherit idiopathic epilepsy. Unfortunately, it is not fully understood why they get this condition although some speculate that it could due to liver or kidney problems. If it is found that your Pomeranian suffers from seizures, talk to your vet to discuss care and treatments.

If you would like to know more regarding seizures in dogs, take a look at our thorough guide found here.

Hip Dysplasia

Genetics and diet can have a hand in the development of hip dysplasia which is where the hip ball and socket joint are malformed. Eventually, the deformity of the area can cause it to deteriorate over time so that the dog will lose all function. This condition is more common in larger breeds but can sometimes occur in small dogs.

Luxating Patellas

This is where the knee slips out of place from the leg bone. Most Poms can lead normal lives with these conditions however it can be very painful for them. Luxating patellas are a common issue with the Pomeranian dog breed which is why puppies must be examined and graded by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Hypothyroidism

This is another condition that can be checked for when your Pomeranian is a puppy. It is where the body doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone which can result in dry skin, dry fur, hair loss, and behavioral problems. You can also request the Pomeranian parent thyroid test results from breeders to ensure that your puppy will be unlikely to develop it.

Collapsing Tracheas

This condition is where the cartilage within a dog’s windpipe weakens and either collapses or flattens. When this happens it can be difficult for air to pass through making it difficult for your Pomeranian to breathe. In some cases, the condition can be mild as it can be treated by a vet however it can be fatal if ignored.

Alopecia X/Black Skin Disease

Spitz breeds, such as the Pom, are often affected by this disease which can result in patchy fur and dark pigmentation of the skin. A Pomeranian with this condition will experience severe hair loss but will fortunately not suffer pain.

Other Health Conditions To Look Out For

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Eye Conditions

Dental Diseases

It’s also vital that you take good care of their teeth and gums to prevent diseases that can result in tooth decay and loss. Take a look in your local pet store to find doggy dental products to help you take care of their mouths. You can also purchase dental-friendly stick treats to provide additional support.

Take Care Of Your Pom In The Heat

Since a Pomeranian has a thick coat they can become very warm during the warmer months so it’s crucial that you take steps to keep them cool to prevent heatstroke.

Healthcare Tips

As mentioned previously, Poms are generally healthy dogs with a long life span so it is uncommon for them to develop a disease or condition but you must always be vigilant as it isn’t impossible.

When you have a dog it is important to provide them with a healthy diet as this will reduce the chances of illness later in life. A high-quality diet will supply your Pom with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to protect its overall health.

Take your dog to regular check-ups at the vet to ensure they’re healthy. These visits can give owners peace of mind and even catch problems in their early stages which can, most often than not, make them easier to treat.

A beautiful dog runs through the bright autumn forest, the Spitz.

Adopt Don’t Shop (Rescue Groups)

Rescuing a dog can be rewarding. Not only are you giving a Pomeranian a second chance of finding their forever home but you’ll gain a new best friend. So if you’re looking to give a dog a new home try looking on the internet for local rescue groups. You may also want to take a look at the following pages:

Before adopting, always make sure you can provide everything the Pomeranian will need to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, some dogs that are rescued come from a background of neglect and abuse which can leave them emotionally and physically scarred. So it’s important to find out as much as you can about them and consider whether or not you can accommodate them before making a decision.

Price

If you’re set on getting yourself an adorable Pom Pup you may have to be ready to get out your wallet. These pups generally sell for between $500-$2000. That is a ginormous price range but bear in mind that a lot can factor into the price of a purebred puppy. Some show-dog quality Poms have been known to have been sold for up to $5000. The price of a Pomeranian dog can depend on a few things including gender, coat color, markings, age, and even the seller’s experience and location.

The American Kennel Club Marketplace is a great place to start when looking for a breeder. The AKC also helps pet owners to find trainers and groomers should they need support.

Additional Costs

If you’re a first-time owner, it’s important to consider the additional costs of raising and keeping the puppy. These will include:

  • Pet Insurance
  • Medical Care
  • Id Tag and Microchipping
  • Collars and other accessories (such as a leash or harness)
  • Toys
  • Beds
  • Food Supply
  • Treats
  • Training
  • Grooming (Home accessories or visits to the groomer)

Things To Consider When Purchasing From A Breeder

Reliable breeders will take good care of their parents and pups and not force their Poms to have litter after litter. Always make sure you meet the parents of the litter and ask for proof that the dogs have received the appropriate health screenings.

Good breeders will be able to offer detailed advice should you need help raising a happy and healthy pup. So make sure to keep note of any important questions you have.

Red Flags

If a breeder refuses to show you the parents or relevant documentation this is a big red flag. By being able to view these features you can ensure that the pup you receive is of a suitable standard and that, importantly, they and their parents are healthy.

Unfortunately, there are ‘breeders’ who will exploit their pets to get some extra cash, so always be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and report anything that looks mistrustful. Most reliable breeders will be registered and reachable through the AKC marketplace.

Sources:

  1. Introducing The Pomeranian, The American Pomeranian Club
Destin Benoit

A former Special Forces Canine Handler, Destin Benoit has extensive knowledge and experience with military canine training. He has worked with multiple military dogs in the most stressful places and situations in the world. Currently, Destin is a SOC Canine Handler, aiding in the protection of US diplomats abroad.

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