The Pomeranian is a tiny dog breed with a fox face that also goes by the names Zwergspitz, Dwarf Spitz and Loulou. The smallest member of the Spitz group of dogs, the Pom has a larger-than-life personality and is brave enough to challenge bigger dogs.
The Pom was developed in Pomerania, an old province in Central Europe. The breed is related to the Spitz or Northern group of dogs like the Norwegian Elkhound, German Spitz, American Eskimo, Schipperke and Samoyed. All these breeds have prick ears, wedge-shaped heads and thick coats.
Some of the famous owners of the Pom included:
- Theologian Martin Luther
- Artist Michelangelo
- Physicist Isaac Newton
- Composer Mozart
The Pom was introduced to England in the late 1700s but became popular after Queen Victoria fell in love with a sable and red Pom called Marco, who competed and won many honours in various dog shows. Even on her deathbed, the Queen wanted her small Pomeranians next to her.
English fanciers bred smaller Pomeranians in the 1900s and the standard was stabilized. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1900 and nine years later the American Pomeranian Club was designated as the Parent Club. This dog continues to hold top ranking as one of the most popular breeds.
The Pomeranian is small, cute and furry with erect ears. His face is fox-like, baby-doll or pansy and the eyes are dark and almond-shaped. His nose is usually dark or matches his coat colour. The tail is distinctly plumed and fans over his back.
A mature Pom stands 17cm to 30cm tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 3kg. Larger Poms weigh up to 6kg.
The dog’s thick double coat stands out with a luscious ruff around the neck and chest. The undercoat has soft fluffy fur while the topcoat has long shiny soft fur. Newborn Poms do not have the characteristic plume tail which develops months later.
Coat colours for early Poms were primarily solid colours but the range was expanded after an orange dog won awards in the 1920s. The dog can now be seen in red, orange, white or cream, brown, blue or black. There have been rare sightings of particoloured Poms.
The Pomeranian is outgoing, smart and vivacious. He is friendly and loves to meet new people but is suspicious of strangers. He is cute and feisty but has a mind of his own.
This dog gets along well with other animals especially when raised together but he may challenge bigger dogs because he doesn’t see himself as a small dog. He is not suited for homes with toddlers because he may easily get injured if accidentally dropped or trampled.
Curious and alert, the Pom will bark when something out of the ordinary occurs. This makes him an excellent watchdog but he needs to be trained to stop on command or he could keep doing it all day long.
Trainability and Intelligence
Quite intelligent, the Pom is bold and independent. He can easily learn new tricks and he loves being the centre of attention.
Training must begin early and puppy classes are recommended for this breed. It must be made clear to him who the top dog is in the household with consistent and firm training. If not, the Pom can easily run amok and become snappish.
Sessions need to be short, entertaining and reward-based. Whenever the Pom performs a trick correctly or obeys a command, he will be happy to receive hugs, hear words of praise and munch on healthy dog treats.
Many Poms are excellent in dog sports like obedience, agility, tracking and flyball. They can also be trained as support dogs for the hearing impaired, the sick and the elderly.
Potty training the Pom can be challenging and crate training is recommended.
Exercise Needs and Nutrition
This compact dog is energetic, active and requires plenty of exercise and playtime. He enjoys going for walks and makes a wonderful companion when exploring new paths.
The Pom has a short attention span and easily gets bored. It is best to keep a healthy supply of dog toys to rotate their use and keep the dog feeling challenged and entertained.
When walking the Pom, he should be trained to walk beside his owner to avoid pulling too hard against his collar as this can cause the dog’s trachea to collapse. Using a dog harness is recommended.
This extroverted dog can suffer from food allergies. Any physical symptoms like bloating and tummy discomfort should be addressed immediately. The Pom’s diet can include high-quality dog food that is formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
The Pom’s coat looks like a lot of work to maintain but typically only requires regular brushing to remove dead hair and distribute natural skin oils.
Male Poms shed their undercoats annually while unspayed females shed when in season, after delivery of a litter and when stressed.
This small dog breed is prone to teeth and gum problems. Regular oral hygiene and dental exams are essential.
Living Conditions and Adaptability
Though the Pom can be a nuisance and cause the neighbours to complain about his loud barking, his small size makes him suitable for apartment living.
Because the Pom is not overly dependent, he is the ideal pet for older people and people living with physical disabilities.
This tiny dog is not meant for outdoor living. When exposed to high heat and humidity, he can suffer heatstroke. He is also perceived as prey by wild birds and animals like eagles, owls, hawks, foxes and coyotes.
When playing outside, the Pom should be within sight to protect him from predators and kidnappers.
This small dog breed is generally healthy but predisposed to certain conditions like:
- Hip dysplasia
- Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
- Contact and food allergies
- Legg-Perthes Disease
- Patellar luxation
- Collapsed trachea
- Early tooth loss
As the Pom enters his senior years, his beautiful coat may develop bald spots.
The Pomeranian has a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years.
The Pom is a small sturdy dog with a big dog attitude. He makes a wonderful companion because he is affectionate, loyal and lively. He may not be the best choice for households with small children but gets along brilliantly with other pets, especially when brought up together. He can be trained to be an excellent support animal.
Adopting a new dog is a big decision and our team at All The Small Dog Breeds wants dog parents to be well prepared. We have compiled small dog breed descriptions with points to consider before choosing a puppy or dog to join a household.