The Pomeranian is a spunky little dog with an endearing, fluffy appearance. Although they look like cuddly teddy bears, their love for canine sports shouldn't go without notice. There is much more to this breed than what appears on the surface.
Origin and History
Pomeranian dogs are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Toy Group. The name of these small but energetic dogs is derived from the region in which they originated, the Prussian region of Pomerania. The spitz breeds are likely the ancestors of the Pomeranian. As we know them today, poms are much smaller than their European ancestors. While modern-day Pomeranians often weigh well below 10 pounds, their ancestors tipped the scales at as much as 30 pounds.
The Pomeranian was a breed enjoyed by many in Europe. Notably, Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria were both fond of the breed, with Queen Victoria even establishing her own Pomeranian kennel and showing the breed. She was also instrumental in the shift in the size of this breed. Queen Victoria favored smaller Pomeranians, and as a result, many dog breeders began to incorporate smaller dogs into their breeding program to selectively breed smaller Pomeranians.
The Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, and Norwegian Elkhound are all Spitz breeds, with the Pomeranian being the smallest of them all.
The pom is a petite breed with a long, fluffy double coat, erect ears, and a wedge-shaped head. Modern-day Pomeranians typically range in size from 7 to 12 inches at the withers and weigh approximately 3 to 7 pounds. As with most breeds, females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
The fur of a Pomeranian may be any solid color, but some of the most common colors include red, orange, white, and black. Two of the most distinguishing features of a Pomeranian are the almond-shaped eyes, which are both dark and intelligent, and the feathered tail, which curls forward over their backs.
The Pomeranian is an interesting dog known to charm even those who believe they will never enjoy owning a toy breed. The Pomeranian has an incredibly independent and confident spirit combined with a never-ending supply of energy. They also have a tendency to act as though they are unaware of their size and may provoke much larger dogs. Poms are also incredibly intelligent and can learn new tricks and behaviors with ease.
Their intelligence and confidence, however, can result in some training dilemmas. If the Pomeranian is not taught consistently and from an early age that the owner is the boss, they may have a tendency to be defiant and stubborn. Pomeranians also don't do well with small children. Children are enamored by these small, fluffy dogs, but Pomeranian dogs do not have a great deal of patience for being poked and prodded by small children and may snap at them as a result.
The Pomeranian easily learns new tricks but can be tricky when first beginning obedience training. They're a "big dog" in a small package and tend to have a mind of their own. Remaining consistent and using positive reinforcement is critical.
Pomeranians need early socialization, which involves exposing them to a wide range of people, sights, noises, and experiences. Keep these encounters positive and engaging to ensure your dog benefits. It's important to socialize your pom puppy so they develop into a well-rounded adult dog.
Poms are extremely energetic, but they do quite well in an apartment environment because they don't need much room to get their required exercise. Their high level of intelligence makes them natural performers. They learn tricks with ease and are often found in the entertainment field, where they delight onlookers with their variety of tricks. Agility is one sport Pomeranians enjoy. They are not the fastest breed, but they have the intelligence and endurance necessary to succeed in the sport.
Poms are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain medical conditions:
- Allergies: Food allergies are not uncommon in this breed. Watching for signs of skin irritation is key to managing allergies.
- Epilepsy: This condition causes mild to severe seizures.
- Eye problems: Cataracts, dry eyes, and difficulties with the tear ducts are all common in Pomeranians.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This is common in toy breeds and is caused by the blood supply to the femur being decreased.
- Collapsed trachea: Common in small breeds, this condition is genetic but can be caused by placing pressure on the throat, usually from using a collar rather than a harness.
Poms are known for their mild shedding. Generally, the undercoat sheds once per year. The best way to keep their fur from becoming matted is to brush them once or twice a week. They don't need to be bathed very often unless they get dirty.
Keeping an eye on your dog's teeth is essential because they are more susceptible to dental issues than other breeds. Brushing their teeth at least once a week is a general guideline, but it's recommended to brush this breed's teeth daily.
In general, Pomeranians live between 12 and 16 years, but some members of the breed have been known to live up to 18 years.
Fun Facts About the Breed
The Pomeranian is well-known, but there are some facts that you may not be aware of:
- Michelangelo had a Pomeranian with him as he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
- Pomeranians have 23 color combinations that are accepted by the AKC, which is significantly more than most breeds.
- Most Pomeranian pups change color with age.
- When poms were larger, they were used to pull sleds and herd reindeer.
- In addition to appearing in Katy Perry's Dark Horse music video, Jiff the Pomeranian holds two Guinness World Records: A 6.56 second time for the fastest 10-meter run on the rear legs, and the fastest 5-meter front leg run.
- Two Pomeranians survived the sinking of the Titanic.
Purchasing or Adopting a Pomeranian
A good place to start when searching for a pom puppy is with the American Pomeranian Club. The club has a breeder directory available as well as helpful tips on how to find responsible breeders with quality dogs. The AKC Marketplace page also has a breeder search. Expect to pay around $500 to $1,000, although higher-end show dogs from champion lines can cost as much as $1,500.
If you're searching for a rescue, and aren't particular about the dog's age, you can search the directories on PetFinder and Save-a-Rescue. You can also take a look at the following breed-specific rescue organizations:
- Recycled Pomeranians and Schipperkes: A non-profit rescue organization dedicated to rescuing Pomeranians and other small breeds in the Dallas, Texas area.
- Pawsitively Pom Rescue: A non-profit rescue organization located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offering rescued Pomeranians and mixes for adoption. A home visit is required.
- OC Pom Rescue: Located in Southern California, this rescue organization has both pom and pom mixes available for adoption as well as other small breeds.
Is the Pomeranian Right for You?
If you're searching for a small, loving companion with a big personality, the Pomeranian could be the dog for you. This isn't a breed meant for extremely active lifestyles, although they do enjoy a couple walks around the block and several canine sports. Training and socialization is critical, so you must also be willing to put in the time prior to bringing a pom home.