The Japanese Spitz is a beautiful small to medium sized dog breed similar to the white Pomeranian, American Eskimo and Samoyed. This intelligent dog has a pleasant temperament, is low maintenance and gets along well with children. With a longer than average expected life span, the Japanese Spitz makes a delightful life companion.
Origin & History
This dog breed was developed in Japan and descended from the crossing of white German Spitz dogs and other white Spitz breeds shipped over from China.
After World War II, the Japanese Spitz breed’s standards were formalised and recognised by the Japan Kennel Club. The breed was first shown in a dog show in Tokyo in 1921.
Japanese Spitz dogs began to be exported to other parts of the world in the 1950s. As a result, many national kennel clubs began to recognise the breed, although they differ in standard sizes.
The American Kennel Club is yet to recognise this breed because the club believes the Japanese Spitz has a striking resemblance to the American Eskimo. In 2019, the club admitted the breed to their Foundation Stock Service, which is an optional registrations service.
The Japanese Spitz has a square body and deep chest. The small muzzle is pointed, and the dog’s ears stand erect in a triangular shape. With a wedge-shaped face, this adorable breed has beautiful dark eyes with white eyelashes.
This small dog has a thick, pure white double coat. The fur around the muzzle, ears and front of the legs is shorter than the rest of the body. Around the Japanese Spitz’s neck is a ruff of long fur. The dog’s long tail is covered with long hair, curls over and lies on the dog’s back.
Size & Weight
Despite many kennel clubs differing on the standard size of this small dog breed, the height at the shoulders ranges from 10 and 15 inches (25 to 40cm). Like other dog breeds, the female Japanese Spitz tends to be smaller than the male. The weight of the breed ranges from 11 to 19 pounds (5 to 9kg).
Character & Abilities
The Japanese Spitz is loyal, courageous and affectionate. He craves personalised attention and is friendly with a playful spirit. He is most content when around his owners no matter the activity, even cuddling on the couch.
When approached by strangers, this dog will bark loudly but calm down after reassurance that all is well. Among other dogs and pets, a well socialised Japanese Spitz loves to play and interact.
This small dog breed is not naturally aggressive. Instead, he is gentle and gets along well with children. He enjoys playing and is protective of them.
The Japanese Spitz loves to please and is eager to learn. Therefore, they approach everything with a good-natured smile.
Because this dog breed is devoted to his human companions, he can develop separation anxiety and unwanted behaviour when separated from them for too long.
Exercise & Nutrition Needs
The Japanese Spitz has moderate needs for exercise and a walk a day is enough. However, he appreciates running off the leash and can be allowed to once in a while to burn excess energy.
Some of this playtime can involve vigorous play like fetch, tug of war or chasing a frisbee. This dog can also be a good jogging partner and swimming on occasion. He may also enjoy agility and obedience activities.
The ideal diet for this breed is formulated to cater for small to medium-sized dogs with average energy levels. Two feeds a day is enough for the adult Japanese Spitz. Fresh, clean water should always be available.
When in doubt, consult with a dog nutritionist or veterinarian.
At first sight of this dog’s beautiful white coat, one would think he requires intensive grooming. But the truth is that this breed’s coat has a texture that allows dirt and mud to brush off easily.
Regular brushing is needed to prevent the long hair from matting and developing knots. Brushing also removes dead hair and reduces shedding.
This dog does not have a doggy smell and should be bathed only when necessary because his skin tends to dry more than other dog breeds. Too many baths remove natural oils and moisture, leading to itchiness.
Oral hygiene involves regular teeth brushing with vet-recommended dog toothpaste. During grooming, the skin, ears and paw pads should be kept clean and examined for the presence of parasites and any redness or inflammation.
Trainability & Intelligence
This family-friendly small dog breed is brilliant, eager to please and obedient. He is easy to train and learns quickly because he responds well, especially with positive reinforcement like praise and treats.
Though this breed was developed for companionship, he has excellent guarding skills and is fearless. He has a natural desire to protect his loved ones. This makes it possible to train the Japanese Spitz to be a watchdog.
Early socialisation and puppy training will ensure the Spitz doesn’t have problem behaviours.
Living Conditions & Adaptability
The Japanese Spitz can live comfortably in an apartment or home with a yard. However, the breed thrives on human companionship and shouldn’t be left alone for prolonged periods.
This small dog can tolerate cold weather but prefers to live in the warm home with his human companions. He is adventurous and will enjoy car rides, hikes and other outdoor experiences with his family.
Health & Life Expectancy
Considered reasonably healthy, this small dog breed may be predisposed to:
- Luxating patellas where the kneecaps become dislocated
- Runny eyes because of small tear ducts, allergies or stress
- Dry skin, especially when bathed too frequently
Annual visits to the vet should ensure that the Japanese Spitz is kept in top form and catch any health issues early.
The Japanese Spitz has a lifespan of 10 to 16 years.
The Japanese Spitz was developed to be a companion dog and has become increasingly popular because of his pleasant personality, minimal needs, adaptability and long life span. This Spitz is a spirited, dedicated addition to any family.
Here at All The Small Dog Breeds, we value the dog adoption process, and we are committed to providing small dog breed descriptions that will help in decision making. We know how important it is to understand a breed and find a compatible dog that fits the home perfectly.