Pomeranian Breed Guide

The Pomeranian is a toy breed with a double coat that comes in all colors, variations, and patterns. Red and orange are the most popular coat types. The breed's coat consists of a dense, short undercoat and a profuse, harshly textured outer coat. This breed has a heavily plumed tail that is one of its defining characteristics. The eyes are medium, dark, and almond shaped, and the ears are small and pointy. These dogs have a fox-like appearance. Pomeranians measure 8 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 3 to 7 pounds.

Pomeranians are not the easiest of dogs to train, and the breed can be willful and stubborn. Training is best done by an experienced professional, as Poms will quickly and easily dominate a weak owner.

Intelligent, animated, and extroverted, Pomeranians are perfect for families interested in a dog with a lot of personality. These dogs love to please and are very outgoing, which makes them perfect companions for older children. Some lean toward cocky, though, and most are demanding when it comes to attention. Their small size means less need for exercise, but their thick coat requires frequent brushing.

Pomeranians were once considerably larger, with most weighing as much as 30 pounds. At some point during the 19th century, these dogs were bred down to their current size.

Extroverted, intelligent, spirited, and bold, Pomeranians make great family pets. They get along with children and other pets, but they tend to be wary of strangers. They are protective without being codependent or clingy, and they are busy without being hyperactive.

Poms need a lot of daily exercise, but their small size makes it possible to meet most of their exercise needs indoors. Games, short walks, and regular playtime are usually sufficient to keep these little dogs physically and mentally stimulated. When outdoors, it is important to keep Pomeranians on a leash and away from larger dogs; these tiny dogs think they are much bigger than they are, and they tend to "take on" bigger dogs.

Pomeranians are loving and affectionate and they enjoy lap time, cuddling, and family activities. If left alone for long periods, relegated to the yard for much of the day, or otherwise neglected, they will become bored, lonely, and depressed.

Pomeranians are known to suffer from a variety of health problems and genetic diseases that can negatively affect length or quality of life. Some serious conditions seen in the breed include collapsing trachea, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, growth hormone abnormalities, and a heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus. Additionally, Poms are prone to dental disease and tooth loss.

Pomeranians are also prone to open fontanel, shoulder luxation, luxating patellas, and a hip problem called Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Eye conditions, such as entropion, progressive retinal atrophy, tear duct problems, and cataracts, are seen more often in this breed than in some other dogs, and Poms may also develop a condition that causes widespread hair loss. This disease is known by many names, including genetic alopecia, black-skin disease, elephant skin, and others.

With routine veterinary care, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and canine vaccinations, Pomeranians typically live 15 years or longer.

Pomeranians are not the easiest of dogs to train, and the breed can be willful and stubborn. Training is best done by an experienced professional, as Poms will quickly and easily dominate a weak owner. Firmness and consistency are key, and special attention should be given to the breed's tendency to bark excessively. If this behavior is not addressed early in life, it can reach unreasonable levels and annoy neighbors.

Poms don't take well to housetraining, either. They may refuse to go outside if it's too hot, too cold, or too wet. The best thing to do is compromise and teach these dogs to potty on puppy pads when going outside is not desirable or possible.

Socialization from the first months of life helps ensure Pomeranians grow into tolerant and confident adults. Puppy kindergarten is a good first step, and visits to the local dog park are beneficial later in life. These dogs will also benefit from frequent contact with unfamiliar people, and this can be accomplished with walks on a leash around the neighborhood and by visiting local businesses.

Easy to groom due to their small size, Pomeranians have a double coat that needs brushing every few days to prevent tangling. Some dogs may require more frequent brushing with a harsh slicker brush. Poms tend to shed quite a lot, but the breed's overall small size means there isn't much hair for them to lose. Frequent brushing will keep most loose hair off furniture and clothing.

Pomeranians only need bathing every month or two unless they get into something sticky, stinky, or harmful. A gentle dog shampoo and a thorough rinsing will clean the coat without causing skin irritation or drying.

Like other small dogs, Poms need daily attention to dental care. The teeth should be brushed with a canine toothpaste and toothbrush to prevent tartar buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease, and these dogs should undergo regular professional cleanings and examinations. The ears should be cleaned weekly and checked for redness, odor, discharge, and other signs of infection, and the nails should be clipped often enough to keep them from clicking on the floor.

Pomeranians came from the historical region of Pomerania, which is now Poland and Germany. These dogs were used primarily as sheep herders, and the breed boasts some of the toughest sledding dogs as its ancestors.

It is not known exactly when Poms started being bred down in size, but it is clear that the smaller dogs were an instant hit. In fact, many famous historical figures were huge fans of the breed, including Marie Antoinette and Mozart.

In 1888, after visiting Italy, Queen Victoria brought one of these dogs back to England with her. This caused a rapid and dramatic surge in the breed's popularity. By 1900, these dogs were being shown all over the United States and England. Today, the Pomeranian is a very popular companion animal and competitive show dog in America.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Pomeranian breed in 1888.