Get to know this cute and popular breed!
Compiled by Charlene Bobis
Photos by Jeffrey C. Lim
Type: Spitz dog; also classified as a toy dog due to its size, and a companion dog for its temperament.
Origin: Central Europe, particularly the Pomerania region. The term ‘Wolfspitz’ refers to the sharp point which the dog’s ‘face’ (muzzle) should ideally attain; this may be the source for the confusion over the term ‘Pomeranian spitz’ which has mistakenly become popular in the Philippines.
Average Height: 13-28 cm at the withers
Average Weight: 2-2.5 kilograms
It is a common misconception that all Pomeranians are tiny dogs, but as international champion trainer Faustino “Tino” Farro points out, they actually come in a range of sizes. Given the breeds from which the Pomeranian descended (which include European sled dogs), some of them can reach sizes of 14 pounds without being obese.
Colors: The Pomeranian’s coat is its most noticeable feature; the thick double coat creates a ‘frill’ at its neck and chest which makes the dog look proud and noble. Its plumed tail—which develops as the dog grows—is another characteristic people remember about the Pomeranian. Its coat comes in a very wide variety of colors and color combinations. These include black, blue, brown, red, sable, and tan, with black, orange, and cream/white (or a combination thereof) being the most popular.
Health: Generally sturdy and healthy, it lives from 8-12 years on the average.
Temperament: Friendly, playful, lively, and intelligent; can be unfriendly to other dogs and highly possessive of its owner. Is highly likely to bark when stimulated, which is fairly easy to do. Extroverted and should be trained to prevent them from dominating their owners.
Popularity: This breed is among the dog breeds associated with royalty, particularly Queen Charlotte, who brought their forerunners to England in the late 1700s, and Queen Victoria, who exhibited a tiny dog named Windor’s Marco and set off a craze for the smaller dogs among the Victorian public.
2011 Registration statistics released in 2012 by the Philippine Canine Club, Inc. (PCCI) indicate that the Pomeranian was the third most popular dog breed in the country; observations by experts during dog shows between 2012 to 2015 would seem to indicate that the breed continues to be very popular. In the United States, the Pomeranian is among the top 20 dog breeds as well—and it’s interesting to note that the top Pomeranian was bred and trained by Filipinos.
Common Diseases to Watch Out For:
• Luxating patella (slipped disc)
• Tracheal collapse (weakening of tracheal rings in windpipe)
• Alopecia X or black skin disease (BSD, in which the dog loses its fur—which usually does not grow back—and its skin turns black)
• Can thrive in condominiums or small living spaces
• Ideal for most novice owners
• Does not shed much; is fairly easy to groom on one’s own
• Does not like wandering far away from its owner
• Very intelligent and loyal; often recommended for middle-aged empty nesters
• Excellent watchdogs
• Early socialization leads to dogs with highly ideal temperaments as Pomeranian puppies respond well to
• Takes well to trick training, especially with food rewards
• Tends to dislike being left alone
• Sensitive to hot weather
• Tends to drool
• May not be ideal for families with small children (but those 7 years of age and older are fine with the dog) unless owners are willing to invest in a trainer who can sensitize the Pomeranian to dealing with small children
• Gains weight easily if diet and exercise are not carefully watched
• Can be difficult to house-train/housebreak
• Can have “big dog” syndrome andchallenge bigger dogs
• Can get easily bored so owners shouldmake sure their toys are rotated andthere is a variety of activities for them
Highlights from the American Kennel Club Breed Standard
General Appearance: The Pomeranian is a compact, short-backed, active toy dog of Nordic descent. The double coat consists of a short dense undercoat with a profuse harsh-textured longer outer coat. The heavily plumed tail is one of the characteristics of the breed. It is set high and lies flat on the back. He is alert in character, exhibits intelligence in expression, is buoyant in deportment, and is inquisitive by nature. The Pomeranian is cocky, commanding, and animated as he gaits. He is sound in composition and action.
Size, Proportion, Substance:
Weight – is from 3 to 7 pounds with the ideal weight for show specimens being 4 to 6 pounds. Any dog over or under the limits is objectionable; however, overall quality should be favored over size.
Proportion – The Pomeranian is a square breed with a short back. The ratio of body length to height at the withers being 1 to 1. These proportions are measured from the prosternum to the point of buttocks, and from the highest point of the withers to the ground.
Substance – Sturdy, medium-boned.
Head – in balance with the body, when viewed from above, broad at the back tapering to the nose to form a wedge.
Expression – may be referred to as foxlike, denoting his alert and intelligent nature.
Eyes – dark, bright, medium sized, and almond shaped; set well into the skull with the width between the eyes balancing the other facial features. Eye rims are black, except self-colored in chocolate, beaver and blue.
Ears – small, mounted high and carried erect. Proper ear set should be favored over size.
Skull – closed, slightly round but not domed.
Stop – well pronounced.
Muzzle – rather short, straight, free of lippiness, neither coarse nor snipey. Ratio oflength of muzzle to skull is 1/3 to 2/3.
Nose – pigment is black except if colored in chocolate, beaver and blue.
Bite – scissors, one tooth out of alignment is acceptable.
Major Faults – Round, domed skull. Undershot, overshot or wry bite.
Neck, Topline, Body:
Neck – set well into the shoulders with sufficient length to allow the head to be carried proud and high.
Topline – level from withers to croup.
Body – compact and well-ribbed.
Chest – oval tapered extending to the point of elbows with a pronounced prosternum.
Back – short-coupled, straight and strong.
Loin – short with slight tuck-up. Croup is flat.
Tail – heavily plumed, set high and lies flat and straight on the back.
Major Fault – Low tail set.
Shoulders – well laid back. Shoulder blade and upper arm length are equal.
Elbows – held close to the body and turn neither in nor out. Legs when viewed from the front are moderately spaced, straight and parallel to each other, set well behind the forechest. Height from withers to elbows approximately equals height from ground to elbow. Shoulders and legs are moderately muscled. Pasterns straight and strong.
Feet- round, tight, appearing cat-like, well-arched, compact, and turn neither in nor out, standing well up on toes. Dewclaws may be removed.
Major Fault – Down in pasterns.
Hindquarters – angulation balances that of the forequarters. Buttocks are well behind the set of the tail.
Thighs – moderately muscled. Upper thigh and lower leg length are equal.
Stifles – strong, moderately bent and clearly defined.
Legs – when viewed from the rear straight and parallel to each other. Hocks when viewed from the side are perpendicular to the ground and strong. Feet same as forequarters. Dewclaws may be removed.
Major Fault – Cowhocks, knees turning in or out or lack of soundness in legs or stifles.
Coat: The Pomeranian is a double-coated breed. The body should be well covered with a short, dense undercoat with long harsh-textured guard hair growing through, forming the longer abundant outer coat which stands off from the body. The coat should form a ruff around the neck, framing the head, extending over the shoulders and chest. Head and leg coat is tightly packed and shorter in length than that of the body. Forelegs are well-feathered. Thighs and hind legs are heavily coated to the hock forming a skirt.
Tail is profusely covered with long, harsh spreading straight hair forming a plume. Females may not carry as thick or long a coat as a male.
Puppy coat may be dense and shorter overall and may or may not show guard hair. A cotton type coat is undesirable in an adult. Coat should be in good and healthy condition especially the skirt, tail, and undercarriage. Trimming for neatness and a clean outline is permissible.
Major Fault – soft, flat or open coat.
Color: All colors, patterns, and variations thereof are allowed and must be judged on an equal basis.
Brindle – Dark cross stripes on any solid color or allowed pattern.
Parti – White base with any solid color or allowed pattern. A white blaze is preferred on the head. Ticking is undesirable.
Extreme Piebald – White with patches of color on head and base of tail.
Piebald – White with patches of color on head, body, and base of tail.
Irish – Color on the head and body with white legs, chest and collar.
Tan Points – Any solid color or allowed pattern with markings sharply defined above each eye, inside the ears, muzzle, throat, forechest, all lower legs and feet, the underside of the tail and skirt. The richer the tan the more desirable. Tan markings should be readily visible.
Major Fault – Distinct white on whole foot or on one or more whole feet (except white or parti) on any acceptable color or pattern.
Classifications – The Open Classes at specialty shows may be divided by color as follows: Open Red, Orange, Cream, and Sable; Open Black, Brown, and Blue; Open Any Other Color, Pattern, or Variation.
Gait: The Pomeranian’s movement has good reach in the forequarters and strong drive with the hindquarters, displaying efficient, ground covering movement that should never be viewed as ineffective or busy.
Head carriage should remain high and proud with the overall outline maintained. Gait is smooth, free, balanced and brisk. When viewed from the front and rear while moving at a walk or slow trot the Pomeranian should double track, but as the speed increases the legs converge slightly towards a center line. The forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in nor out. The topline should remain firm and level with the overall balance maintained.
Temperament: The Pomeranian is an extrovert, exhibiting great intelligence and a vivacious spirit, making him a great companion dog as well as a competitive show dog. Even though a Toy dog, the Pomeranian must be subject to the same requirements of soundness and structure prescribed for all breeds, and any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
This appeared as “Meet the Pomeranians” in Animal Scene’s February 2016 issue.