The German Spitz and the Pomeranian share the same ancestry. The Poms were larger dogs in the early days, and were used for hunting, herding and almost everything else their owners required of them.
Because the two breeds are very closely related, they’re similar in many ways and comparing their sizes, colours and physical characteristics helps you better appreciate the ways in which they do differ.
- 1 Pomeranians
- 2 The German Spitz
- 3 What is the difference between Pomeranian and German Spitz?
- 4 Why do some ” Poms” look more like the German Spitz?
Both breeds originated in Germany but the Pomeranian, as a breed, was developed in the United Kingdom. Pomeranians are smaller today than 100 years ago and are classified as a toy dog breed because of their small size.
The Pom is a short-backed, compact toy dog who thrives on being active. His double coat comprises of a harsh-textured, profuse, long outer coat and a dense short undercoat.
The Pom is inquisitive, alert, intelligent and expressive. He’s sound in action and composition and is buoyant in the way he carries himself. The Pomeranian is animated, commanding and cocky in nature. An average Pomeranian weighs 2 – 3 kgs but if you wish to show your Pom, his weight should be 1.8 – 2.2 kgs.
The FCI Toy Spitz ( Pomeranian) standard stipulates a height requirement of 20 cms at his withers. Poms come in a wide variety of colours: a very common colour is red or orange but other colours include: blue, black, white, cream, brown and sable as well as colour combinations such as blue and tan, black and tan as well as brindle and spotted versions.
You’ll find that Poms are highly intelligent and very friendly. They develop a powerful bond with their family and can live as long as 16 years if they’re healthy, treated well and, most important of all, loved.
The German Spitz
In FCI countries, the Spitz is a group of Spitz dogs, each governed by size/height.
• Wolfspitz/Keeshond. 49cm +/- 6cm.
• Giant Spitz. 46cm +/- 4cm.
• Medium size Spitz. 34cm +/- 4cm.
• Miniature Spitz. 26cm +/- 3cm.
• Toy Spitz/Pomeranian. 20cm +/- 2cm.
• Dogs under 18 cm are undesirable.
Each separate variety of the Spitz will have a specific weight that matches its size.
They can be any colour or combination of colours and they generally live a long life. As with the Pomeranian, these dogs are generally happy, agile, highly intelligent and buoyant. They’re happy to do as little or as much as you want. However, if left alone for long periods, they can become noisy and misbehave. They do enjoy barking and will warn you if something is happening or if an intruder is at the door.
In the USA and the UK, the German Spitz competes in the utility group. In Australia & New Zealand the German Spitz is in the non-sporting group.
The German Spitz is divided by height:
Klein: 23-29 cms (9-11 5ins) Mittel: 30-38 cms (12-15 ins).
During the late 1970s, the German Spitz were imported into the U.K. in an attempt to resurrect colours lost to the breed in that country. Mrs. Averil Cawthera imported Spitz wanting to reintroduce the white Pom (as opposed to the German Spitz). Many imports came from Holland and they included Tum-Tum van het Vlinderhof of Lireva.
The introduction of these dogs into the English Pomeranian world caused considerable angst amongst Pomeranian breeders and exhibitors until, in 1984, the kennel club intervened and set up a separate register for the German Spitz. At the Annual Meeting of the Pomeranian Club in 1978, a motion was moved to consider “to note persons placing the Victorian Pomeranians.”
In 1982, a special general meeting of the Pomeranian Club was held in an attempt to resolve the issue of the German Spitz. Prior to the separate register, several of the imports had been bred with Pomeranians and some of the top winning Pomeranians today have German Spitz imports way back in their pedigree.
Many years ago dog fanciers brought varieties of the German Spitz from Germany to the US and named them American Eskimos.
What is the difference between Pomeranian and German Spitz?
The FCI countries include Pomeranians in the group of Spitz dogs as a Toy Spitz/ Pomeranian and the standard states that the height at the withers for Toy Spitz/ Pomeranian needs to be 20 cms +/- 2cm. Australia, the U.K., the U.S.A., Canada and numerous other countries place the Pom in the toy dog category and he competes in the Toy group.
The Pomeranian breed standards for U.K., the U.S.A., Canada state weight requirements instead of a height. With U.S.A. and Canada having the Pomeranian between 3 and 7 lbs and the other countries 4-5 lb. (1.8-2.3 kg).
The heads of the two breeds vary greatly with the Pomeranian having a shorter muzzle:
Pom ratio of length of muzzle to skull is 1/3 to 2/3. The small ears are erect and mounted high. The proper set of ears is preferred to the size and ears will often be hidden in the ruff.
In contrast the head of a German Spitz is flat on top but is shaped like a broad wedge. The muzzle should be roughly half the length of his head so, when compared to a Pom, the muzzle is longer when factoring the animal’s size.
Their ears should be triangle in shape and set high on his head. They will always be visible, unlike Poms where the ears may be too small to notice if they’re hidden in the Pomeranian’s abundant coat.
The Tail-Sets of Pomeranian and the German Spitz Differ.
The Pom’s heavily-plumed tail lies flat and straight on his back. His buttocks are behind the tail’s set. The German Spitz’s tail curls over the back and is carried to one side or curls into a ring shape.
Pomeranian VS German Spitz Coat
Abundant outer coat. Forelegs are well-feathered. His hind legs and thighs have a heavy coat that runs to the hock, creating a skirt. You can trim your Pom to ensure he’s neat for the show ring.
German Spitz’s Coat:
When seen in silhouette, the German Spitz doesn’t have enough coat to resemble the Pom.
The standard is: “Abundant around neck and forequarters with a frill of profuse, but not excessive.” Because the Spitz dogs are usually in bigger proportions, the compact look of the Pomeranian isn’t there. The German Spitz isn’t a breed that needs trimming except for the legs beneath the hocks, the anal area and the feet. Anything else isn’t acceptable.
Why do some ” Poms” look more like the German Spitz?
“Pomeranians” bred by breeders who don’t compete at dog shows will frequently resemble the German Spitz more than the Pomeranian.
This is more often a result of poor breeding practises rather than having a German Spitz in the dog’s pedigree. If you wish the option available is to have the parentage of your dog verified with DNA testing.
Similar can occur in colour breeding programs. Pomeranian breed type often quickly deteriorates and reverts to German Spitz type. Coat, size, shortness of back and pigmentation are usually the first breed qualities to deteriorate with white to white Pom breedings.
This syndrome can be called “return to from whence it came” or “drag of the breed” and is evidence of the breed’s origins. Enjoy and love your little dog regardless of his ancestry.
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References and Further Reading:
Official Standard of the Pomeranian (AKC). American Kennel Club, 2011.
Official English Kennel Club Pomeranian Breed Standard , 2017.
Denise Leo, The Pomeranian Handbook.
Kimbering Pomeranians “1891-1991”.