August 17, 2017

Introduction to the Pomeranian

Dainty and diminutive, Pomeranians are Toy dogs weighing less than 10 pounds.

Originally a Nordic Spitz breed, Poms, as they are often called, are one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and many other countries. The American Kennel Club reports that the Pomeranian is currently ranked 20th in popularity in the United States.

Pomeranians are known for being lively, intelligent, and outgoing. With the right training they can be very good family dogs.

Because of their small size and moderate exercise requirements they are popular as apartment dogs.

Pomeranians have a thick, dense doublecoat that requires regular brushing and care. The breed comes in a wide range of colors. Poms make excellent companions.

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History of the Pomeranian

Today’s Pomeranian is somewhat different from the original Pomeranian. The breed takes its name from a region known as Pomerania along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. This area is now part of Poland and Germany. Pomeranians were originally a Spitz breed and probably not from Pomerania. It’s likely that they were descended from sled dogs from Iceland and Lapland. In these early years the dogs weigh as much as 30 to 40 pounds. They were used not only for sledding but also for herding sheep. Their harsh double coat protected them in this climate and remains today. Eventually they were bred to be a smaller size.

Once the breed was established in Great Britain, Pomeranians were recognized by the new Kennel Club in England in 1870. At that time the breed was known as the “Spitzdog.” However, the breed didn’t become popular until about 1888 when Queen Victoria became involved with the breed. At this time the Queen was given a Pomeranian from Florence, Italy named “Marco” and the results changed the history of the bred. The breed became extremely popular. In addition, Queen Victoria’s influence led to the breed becoming smaller. Marco was only 12 pounds and the Queen imported smaller Poms into England. It is said that during Queen Victoria’s lifetime the size of Pomeranians decreased by about 50 percent. The Queen was so devoted to the breed that a Pom was next to her when she died.

Pomeranians had also been imported to the United States at this time and were seen at dog shows. The AKC accepted Poms and started registering the breed in 1888.

Today Pomeranians weigh between 3 and 7 pounds. Pomeranian show dogs usually weigh between 4 and 6 pounds. Individuals should stand about 11 inches tall at the withers (top of shoulders). Poms have a dense double coat and their tail is heavily plumed, lying flat on their back. The breed comes in many colors but some of the most popular are orange, black, and cream or white. Other colors include red, sable, brown, blue, tri-color, brindle, spotted, black and tan, brown and tan, and other combinations.

It’s always easy to recognize the little Pomeranian because of his fox-like face and alert black eyes. In behavior they are vivacious but docile. Poms are small but they are sturdier than they look. The breed is usually healthy and they tend to have a long lifespan, often living between 12 and 16 years. They make wonderful companions for many people.

Pomeranian Health-Related Issues

While they are quite small, Pomeranians are nevertheless usually healthy and sturdy. However, like most dogs they can be subject to some health issues.

Teeth

As with many Toy breeds, Poms can have some teeth problems. They can collect more tartar on their teeth than some breeds and early tooth loss can be a problem. The American Pomeranian Club recommends feeding your Pomeranian a dry kibble to discourage tartar buildup or feeding a tartar control diet. It’s also important to brush your Pom’s teeth often and have your vet check your dog’s teeth when you visit for annual vaccinations.

Luxating Patella

Pomeranians can have problems with luxating patellas. This is a common problem with many Toy breeds. The patella is the kneecap and a luxating patella is similar to having a slipped kneecap for a human. This problem can occur due to injury/trauma or because of the shape of the patella. When the patella “luxates,” it means that it will jump out of its normal grooves, causing the dog pain. The rear leg can lock up when the leg is off the ground. The dog will usually bunny hop for a stride or two until the muscle relaxes. This is usually a momentary pain and then the dog can resume his normal gait. This can be a minor problem for some dogs but it can worsen over time for other dogs and the dog may require surgery. If surgery is needed, the dog is usually able to resume normal activities after a few weeks.

Tracheal Collapse

Pomernians are also a breed that can experience tracheal collapse. Again, this is a condition that often occurs in small dogs. In this condition the dog’s windpipe normally has tracheal rings to hold its shape. If the rings are weak and collapse, the windpipe can shut off, interfering with the dog’s airway. Signs of tracheal collapse include intolerance to exercise, fainting, a honking cough, and coughing that gets worse when the dog is excited or when he exerts himself. There is some thought that tracheal collapse can be caused by a dog pulling against the leash too much. For this reason it’s often recommended that small dogs wear harnesses or a martingale-type collar to lessen pressure on the throat.

Black Skin Disease

Black Skin Disease, also known as Alopecia X, includes alopecia or hair loss and hyperpigmentation – darkened skin. It’s also known as severe hair loss syndrome, pseudo-Cushing’s Disease, and by other names. It strikes male Pomeranians more often than females. It’s believed that there may be a genetic element to the disease but no one really knows the causes at this time. Black Skin Disease can occur at any time in a dog’s life but it doesn’t usually show up until after a dog is an adult. The American Pomeranian Club is supporting research to find the cause of this disease. The club and its members do not support the euthanasia of dogs that have Alopecia X or Black Skin Disease.

These are the main health issues that affect Pomeranians. Other health problems that can occur in the breed include hypothyroidism (low thyroid), heart problems, hypoglycemia (especially in young puppies), idiopathic seizures (cause unknown), and Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP) – a problem with hip joint conformation. Hip dysplasia can occur but rarely.

Most of these problems are rare but if you are thinking of getting a Pomeranian you should talk to breeders about health issues. Make sure you discuss health testing in puppies and adults. Ask questions about their contract and what health guarantees they provide. No one can guarantee that a dog will never get sick or develop a health problem, even from perfectly healthy parents, but good breeders do health screening and educate buyers about health issues.

Pomeranian Temperament

Lively and always the star of any home, Poms are also loyal, loving, and devoted to their owners. Although the breed used to have a reputation for being dedicated to one person, today they are believed to spread their attention to the entire family. The breed is known for being energetic and playful but they also love affection. If you are thinking of getting a Pomeranian, expect to spend plenty of time petting your dog and paying attention to him. Otherwise he will never be happy.

Pomeranians enjoy being close to their families and they tend to be a little protective of their people, despite their Toy size. Poms can be territorial and they can be barkers. They typically make good watch dogs because they are so alert and aware of what’s going on. Barking can become a problem with some Poms unless you train them not to bark. In fact, Poms can be quite yappy if you don’t make them stop barking which will not make them any friends with your neighbors.

Although Pomeranians are often friendly and outgoing with people they know, they can be suspicious of strangers, which can lead to more barking. It’s important to socialize your Pomeranian from a young age to work on issues like barking, accepting friendly strangers, and being less territorial. Take your Pom with you when you go places, and enroll in a puppy preschool or puppy kindergarten class.

Poms are very smart little dogs and they are quite good at wrapping their owners around their paws. A Pomeranian can use his cute face and playful personality to get what he wants. If being cute doesn’t work, your Pom can also become dominant and spoiled at home. No matter how small or cute your Pom is, we suggest that you make rules for him in the home and stick to them. Don’t let your adorable little dog become a brat.

Like most dogs, Poms enjoy toys so make sure you provide your Pom with some safe toys. Since Pomeranians can be prone to teeth trouble, it’s a good idea to avoid things like rawhides and other chews that make cause tooth loss or a broken tooth.

Pomeranians generally make great pets for older kids but they are usually too tiny for small children. Although they are sturdier than they look, they can still be injured by toddlers or by small children that play too roughly. A teenager who wants a gentle, playful companion would be perfect for a Pomeranian.

Poms usually get along well with cats or other small dogs, but it’s generally best to avoid having a Pomeranian live with a dog that is very large. Poms can be easily injured by a medium or large dog that wants to play with them, for example.

A Pomeranian can be a very good companion for someone who is older since they don’t require a lot of exercise outside. A Pom can also be a good dog for someone living in an apartment as long as the dog doesn’t bark a lot. Poms are also popular with people who travel a lot. They are great for people in RVs, for example; and they can fly in-cabin in a carrier on a plane.

Pomeranian Grooming

According to the American Pomeranian Club and people familiar with the breed, it is easy to maintain a Pomeranian’s coat in beautiful condition. Poms have an abundant coat and it’s important to spend “a few minutes” brushing it a couple of times a week to avoid any matting. The coat does shed constantly so if you don’t brush it regularly it will mat and then it can become a mess. You can trim the coat every 1-2 months. Expect your dog to “blow coat” a couple of times a year when there will be a big shed and the undercoat will come out. At this time the coat will be even more prone to tangling so you may have to brush more often.

Some owners prefer to keep their Pomeranians in a short, buzzed clip. This requires professional grooming every few weeks to keep your dog looking nice. You will still need to brush your dog regularly because even while the coat is short, it will still shed.

Poms only require infrequent bathing when they get dirty. Their harsh double coat protects them from most dirt.

Obviously, if you are considering showing your Pomeranian you would need to spend more time on the coat. You should contact your local kennel club and talk to the breeder who sold you your dog for more information about conditioning the coat for showing.

Other than brushing your Pom’s coat, you also need to keep your dog’s nails trimmed. Some people also trim the excess fur between the paw pads.

Pomeranian Fun Facts:

  • Boo, a Pomeranian, has been a social media sensation. He has millions of Facebook Likes. He’s been called “The World’s Cutest Dog.” He could be the most well-known Pomeranian of all time. He could be mistaken for a teddy bear with his short haircut He even has his own web site and Wikipedia entry. Boo has been the subject of at least four photo books. That’s life for a Pomeranian.
  • Pomeranians may have had more royal owners than any other breed. Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England (1744-1818) had two white Pomeranians named Mercury and Phoebe. Her son, King George IV (1762-1830), was also a big fan of the breed. Queen Victoria (1819-1901), the granddaughter of Queen Charlotte, was a great supporter of the breed. She had multiple Poms, including Marco, Turi, and Gina. She was a breeder and did much to shape the breed’s current appearance, including its smaller size. Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), Queen of France, and Josephine Beauharnais (1763-1814), Empress of France, both had Pomeranians.
  • Other notables who had Pomeranians included Mozart, the painter Gainsborough, church reformer Martin Luther, and Sir Isaac Newton.
  • Two of the three dogs who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 were Pomeranians. They were in lifeboats with their owners.

Common Pomeranian Mixes:

Pomeranians are not very big, only weighing 3-7 pounds. They tend to have very small litters – usually with only one or two puppies. They are not usually the best dogs for crossbreeding or producing hybrid mixes, especially if the Pom is female and the male dog is larger. The puppies could be large enough to cause problems during whelping. However, here are some Pomeranian mixes found online. A Pomeranian crossed with one of these dogs will produce a mix that has been called the name you see listed.

  • Beagle – Pomeagle
  • Bichon Frise – Bichonaranian
  • Boston Terrier – Pomston
  • Brussels Griffon – Brusselranian
  • Cairn Terrier – Cairanian
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Cavapom
  • Chihuahua – Pomchi
  • Chinese Crested – Chinaranian
  • Cocker Spaniel – Cockeranian
  • Coton de Teluar – Pom-Coton
  • Dachshund – Dameranian
  • Havanese – Ewokian
  • HuskyPomsky
  • Jack Russell Terrier – Jackaranian
  • Lhasa Apso – LaPom
  • Maltese – Maltipom or Pomanees
  • Miniature Pinscher – Pineranian
  • Miniature Schnauzer – Pomanauze or Pom-A-Nauze
  • Papillon – Paperanian or PapiPom
  • Pekingese – Peek-A-Pom
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi – Corgipom
  • Poodle – Pomapoo
  • Pug – Pom-A-Pug
  • Rat Terrier – Pomerat
  • Shetland Sheepdog – Poshies
  • Shiba Inu – Pom-Shi
  • Shih Tzu – Shiranian
  • Silky Terrier – Pom-Silk Toy
  • Fox Terrier – Pom Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier – Yoranian

Pomeranian FAQs:

What is a Pomeranian’s Life Expectancy?

Pomeranians tend to be long-lived. Like many Toy dogs, they can have a long lifespan, often living to be 16 years of age.

Are Pomeranians easy to train?

Pomeranians are very intelligent dogs. Many people are unaware that Poms can participate in obedience, agility, and even tracking and other canine sports. They can do very well in these events. Many people enjoy training their Poms.

Poms can do well with training if you make it fun for them. You also have to be firm and consistent. Poms don’t usually know that they are small dogs and they won’t act like they are small. It’s up to you to keep your Pom from doing dangerous things like jumping from tall heights or getting in the face of big dogs. Otherwise, it’s not necessary to baby your Pomeranian. These are very confident dogs and inside that little body is a big dog who wants to do the same things other dogs do.

Some Toy dogs can be difficult to housetrain but Pomeranians are usually very bright. If you stick to a schedule and take your puppy or dog outside to relieve himself often, he should learn quickly. Like all dogs, Poms do very well if you use praise and rewards when training them, so be sure to praise and reward your puppy/dog when he relieves himself outside.

Do Pomeranians shed a lot of hair?

Yes, Poms shed constantly, though the undercoat only fully sheds twice a year for most dogs. At this time you can expect a full coat blow which means hair everywhere while your dog grows new fur. This is definitely a breed that sheds.

Do Pomeranians make good apartment pets?

Pomeranians usually make good apartment pets because of their small size. They also have very moderate exercise requirements which can easily be met if you live in the city. Poms do tend to bark a lot so this is something you will need to curb if your dog is prone to it. They usually bark because they are territorial and very alert to everything that goes on around them.

Are Pomeranians good with Children?

Poms are usually not the best choice if you have small kids. They can be injured is a child falls on them or plays too roughly. Small kids usually do better with a bigger dog that is less likely to be injured or accidentally harmed if a child tugs on his tail or trips over him. That’s why dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are so popular with families. Plus, they often have happy, bomb-proof personalities.

However, a Pomeranian is often a very good pet for a family with older kids or teenagers. After a child has learned how to treat a dog gently and is past the clumsy stage so a small dog won’t get hurt, a Pomeranian will love the extra attention from a child.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer and a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine, Dog News. She is the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com award-winner for 2013. Additionally, Carlotta is the author of Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Health and Happy, as well as other books about pets. She is a guest writer for numerous website and blogs and a frequent pet food reviewer.

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