Extroverted, intelligent and loyal
Approximately 15 years
Red, orange, white or cream, blue, brown or black, sometimes in combinations
Long and harsh outer coat, dense soft undercoat
Seasonally heavy twice per year, and more consistent year-round in warmer climates
The affectionate Pomeranian is an enthusiastic and devoted companion. Intelligent and vivacious, they enjoy learning new things and can even be taught to do tricks. In fact, they are often used as performance dogs, and excel in competitive obedience, agility, and even flyball. They are loyal and territorial and make excellent watch dogs.
Pomeranians are good companions for older, well-behaved children, as they can become anxious or snappish if over-stimulated by smaller children. This breed usually gets along with other household pets if introduced to them properly. Some individuals, however, seem to be unaware of their diminutive stature and may challenge much larger dogs. The Pomeranian is typically an excellent companion for the elderly.
Pomeranians are quite intelligent and capable of learning quickly, but they can also be stubborn. They are best trained by a firm and consistent owner who can maintain their role as boss throughout the dog’s life - otherwise, the self-confident Pomeranian will rule the house. Poms have a loud resounding bark, and some will bark excessively to announce the arrival of strangers, although this habit can be minimized if training starts early in the dog’s life.
The Pomeranian does not require extensive exercise and is relatively active indoors, and therefore will be happy living in an apartment as long as they are given a daily walk. The Pom can be incessant in it’s demand for attention, by following their owner around the house or even bouncing up and down on their lap.
A descendent of the Spitz family of dogs, the Pomeranian originated as a sled dog in Greenland, Iceland and Finland before being brought to Europe and England and employed as herding dogs (these individuals were much larger than the present Pom, weighing up to 30 lbs). When they reached the Pomerania region of Prussia, in present day Germany and Poland, the process of reducing the dog’s size was initiated. Although they were only reduced to approximately 20 lbs at that time, these smaller versions took on the name “Pomeranian” before being distributed throughout Europe. British breeders are credited with continuing the reduction process, bring the Pom to it’s current size of under 7 lbs. The breed’s popularity grew tremendously once a specimen became the beloved pet of Queen Victoria in 1888.
The first Pomeranians were shown in the U.S. in 1892, and the breed gained recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1900.
Body Structure and Composition
The most distinctive feature of the tiny Pomeranian is it’s profuse and fluffy double-coat, which includes a thick rough around the neck and feathered plumage on the tail. It is a well-balanced and sturdy dog, although individuals generally weigh no more than 7 lbs. The head is slightly rounded and with small ears that are mounted high and carried erect. This breed has a somewhat short muzzle with a pronounced “stop” (the angled point at which the muzzle meets the skull). The compact body is of medium bone, with a level topline and deep chest. The plumed tail lays across the top of the back. A Pomeranian’s gait is smooth and free.
Pomeranians possess an inquisitive and alert expression, sometimes leaning their head to one side and cocking their ears as if they understand.
Pomeranians are generally a very long-lived breed, with some well-bred individuals living well into their late teens. But since this is a very popular toy breed, it has suffered the unfortunate consequences of overbreeding by puppy-mills and “back yard” breeders.
The most common problem for Pomeranians appears to be Patellar Luxation, also known as “slipped stifle” or “trick knee.” This occurs when the kneelike joint above the hock slips out of place and may require surgery to correct. Hypothyroidism, which causes underactivity of the thyroid gland, is also a prevalent problem for this breed. Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include decreased appetite or weight gain, hair loss, recurring skin infections, and lethargy. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides certification of breeding stock to help prevent the spread of these diseases, among others, and reputable breeders should be able to provide this information to potential puppy buyers upon request.
Some Pomeranians experience various eye maladies, such as dry eye, cataracts and tear duct disorders. The Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) provides a registry for eye exams on breeding stock to help prevent the spread of heritable eye diseases. These exams can be performed by a Veterinary Opthamologist.
Breathing issues can plague the Pomeranian, although not all are life-threatening. Many Poms have a tendency to “reverse sneeze” which sounds a bit like a snort and does not cause harm to the dog. A collapsing trachea, on the other hand, can threaten the life or health of your dog and requires medical attention. If your dog makes a honking sound or coughs excessively (like it’s coughing up a hairball), be sure to see your vet as soon as possible.
Many Pomeranians are predisposed to Hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood sugar), although this is not an inherited trait. Small breed puppies tend to burn energy quicker than larger breeds, and since they don’t have the fat storage that larger breed do, they can go from high energy to total collapse quite quickly. Symptoms of a Hypoglycemic attack include weakness, confusion, a wobbly gait, grayish-blue gums and tongue, low body temperature, shivering/shaking, drooling or frothing at the mouth, or even a full seizure. The condition can be brought on by stress or sudden growth spurts, and is easily controlled with immediate veterinary treatment. It’s important to feed the puppy high-quality and high-calorie meals several times per day to help prevent this situation from developing. Puppies with Hypoglycemia will outgrow the disorder, but adult-onset Hypoglycemia is a much more serious issue. Adult Pomeranians with Hypoglycemia should not be bred.
Some Pomeranians can also suffer from epilepsy, heart problems, skin disorders, or hair loss issues such as Severe Hair Loss Syndrome (SHLS). SHLS occurs mainly in males and often becomes apparent later in the dog’s life, although a puppy-related version exists in which the puppy coat sheds but the adult coat does not grow. Always ask to see the sire and dam of the litter when purchasing a puppy.
The long, profuse coat of the Pomeranian requires regular brushing to keep it free of tangles and mats. This breed can be prone to dental issues, so it’s a good idea to have regular cleanings from a veterinarian.
Many famous historical figures have owned Pomeranians, including Michaelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, King Edward, and Queen Victoria.
The pint-sized Pomeranian has become a favorite pet of a variety of celebrities too numerous to list here.
The Pomeranian has been a very popular breed in the United States for at least the last 10 years. According to registration statistics provided by the American Kennel Club, the Pom has ranked in the top 15 most popular breeds for at least the last 15 years.
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Approximately 75 million dogs have humans in the United States. 10% of those dogs were rescued from a shelter with little or no known history.
The top 10 dog names of 2011 were: Bella, Max, Buddy, Daisy, Bailey, Lucy, Molly, Coco, Charlie and Rocky. Source: Banfield Pet Hospital
The list of most unusual names for 2011 include: Almost-A-Dog, Franco Furter, Stinky McStinkerson, Sir Seamus McPoop, Audrey Shepburn, Dewey Deimell, Knuckles Capone, Beagle Lugosi, Shooter McLovin, Uzi Duzi Du. Source: VIP Pet Insurance
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Dir. of Veterinary Services, spcaLA
Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know: Prescriptions for Happy, Healthy Cats and Dogs