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Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian: Detailed Breed Comparison

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Last Updated on 10/04/2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on April 10, 2024.

Prospective dog owners are often charmed by the fluffy appearance and friendly demeanor of Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian dogs when deciding between them. Despite their resemblance, there are distinct differences that are important to consider. 

I recently had the pleasure of hosting two Japanese Spitz dogs belonging to friends who are seasoned Pomeranian exhibitors. These Japanese Spitz dogs were a delightful presence in my home. They exhibited remarkable agility, easily outpacing my Pomeranians with their energetic antics.

Particularly amusing was their playful behavior of darting across the top of the sofa, a spot my Pomeranians couldn’t quite reach. This display of skill and spirited energy made the Japanese Spitz a captivating addition to our household, showcasing their unique charm and vivacity.

Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian
Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian

Japanese Spitz vs. Pomeranian Differences

The Japanese Spitz is known for its joyful and bold spirit. It typically has a pure white coat with a mane-like feature around the neck. This breed doesn’t require much space, making it adaptable to various living conditions.

On the other hand, the Pomeranian is a small dog breed with a thick double coat and a distinctive foxy face. These small dogs have personality, toting a plush ruff around their neck and a curled tail carried over the dog’s backs. 

The Japanese Spitz and the Pomeranian share a similar energy level. The Japanese Spitz is slightly more active, which means it is suited for owners with an active lifestyle. The Pomeranian’s unique physical traits, intelligence, and curiosity have made it a beloved choice among small dog lovers.

When comparing the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian, two of the best breeds for individuals and families alike, there are a few key points to consider. Both breeds are known for their eagerness to please and intelligence, making them excellent candidates for positive reinforcement training sessions.

The Japanese Spitz, recognized by the American Kennel Club for excellence in companionship, is larger than the Pomeranian. Yet, both share a strikingly beautiful appearance and a thick double coat commonly available among dog breeds.

The Pomeranian, a popular breed known for its energetic and affectionate nature, often excels as a therapy dog due to its small size and friendly temperament. This breed’s popularity is slightly higher in urban areas with limited space, making them a fantastic choice for apartment dwellers.

On the other hand, with its cheerful and loyal disposition, the Japanese Spitz is a wonderful family companion and meets the breed standard for being an attentive and friendly pet.

Both dog breeds require regular grooming and exercise, but their ability to learn quickly and respond to training makes them contenders for the title of the best dog for various lifestyles.

Key Takeaways

  • Japanese Spitz and Pomeranians are small, friendly dogs suited for various living spaces.
  • The two breeds ‘ physical and personality traits differ, reflecting their lifestyle adaptation.
  • Both require regular grooming due to their thick coats and have similar energy levels.

Breed Origins and History

This section will explore the distinct backgrounds of two lovable and similar-looking breeds: the Pomeranian and the Japanese Spitz. Despite their shared Spitz heritage, these dogs have unique histories in different parts of the world.

Pomeranian Roots and Development

The Pomeranian takes its name from the region formerly known as Pomerania, now split between modern-day Germany and Poland. Historically, these dogs were larger and worked as sheep herders. Over time, the breed was miniaturized into the small companion dog we know today.

Royal influence, particularly by Queen Victoria, who owned a smaller Pomeranian, played a significant role in popularizing the tiny version of the breed. The Pomeranian’s development into a breed known for its luxuriant fur and expressive fox-like face is well-documented in Europe, particularly in Germany, where various regional Spitz breeds were refined into what the Pomeranian is now.

Japanese Spitz
Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz Breed Evolution

My examination of the Japanese Spitz reveals a breed with a more recent and less-documented history. The development of the Japanese Spitz began in the early 20th century in Japan. It is believed that crossbreeding various imported Spitz dogs has resulted in the creation of a breed suited to the Japanese climate and urban living.

Their stark white coat, pointy ears, and joyful demeanor have made them a popular choice for families. While not as influential globally as the Pomeranian, the Japanese Spitz’s history reflects Japan’s effort to create a distinct national breed with the positive attributes of other Spitz dogs.

Physical Characteristics

In this section, I will compare the distinct physical features of the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian breeds. Focusing on their size, coat, and breed-specific characteristics will clearly show how they physically differ.

Size and Weight Comparison

The Japanese Spitz breed typically stands between 12 to 15 inches at the withers and has an average weight of 10 to 25 pounds. In contrast, the Pomeranian is smaller, with an average height of 6 to 7 inches at the shoulder and an average weight of 3 to 7 pounds.

  • Japanese Spitz Dog
    • Average Weight: 10-25 pounds
    • Average Height: 12-15 inches
  • Pomeranian Breed
    • Average Weight: 3-7 pounds
    • Average Height: 6-7 inches

Coat and Color Variations

Pomeranians are recognized for their fluffy double coats in various colors, such as orange, black, white, red, cream, blue, and many more.

On the other hand, the Japanese Spitz is known for its dense and straight, primarily white, fluffy double coat, which provides a striking appearance amongst Spitz breeds.

  • Japanese Spitz
    • Coat: Fluffy, White Double Coat
  • Pomeranian
    • Coat: Fluffy, Double Coat
    • Colors: White, Black, Red, Orange, Cream, Blue, and more.
Black Pomeranian
Black Pomeranian

Breed-Specific Features

My examination of breed-specific features reveals that the Japanese Spitz has a pointed muzzle and ears with a tail that curls over its back, contributing to its distinctive silhouette. The Pomeranian is equally distinct with its plumed tail that fans out over its back and a shorter muzzle that gives it a characteristic ‘pom’ expression. Both breeds share the typical Spitz look, alert expressions, and luxuriant manes.

  • Japanese Spitz
    • Pointed muzzle and ears
    • Tail: Curls over the back
  • Pomeranian
    • Short muzzle
    • Tail: Plumes over the back

I can confidently illustrate the differences and similarities between these two charming spitz family breeds by exploring the specific physical characteristics such as size, coat, and distinctive features.

Personality and Temperament Comparison

In my analysis of the Pomeranian and Japanese Spitz breeds, I’ve observed distinct temperament and personality traits that are appealing and significant for prospective owners. These characteristics shape their behavior in different ways.

Pomeranian Character Traits

The Pomeranian is an intelligent breed, often quick to learn but can display a streak of stubbornness. They’re immensely playful and affectionate, always ready to engage in activities with their owners. Moreover, Pomeranians tend to be quite alert and can be protective of their family, which, paired with their boldness, sometimes makes them unaware of their small size.

Japanese Spitz Behavioral Attributes

Japanese Spitz dogs exhibit an active and playful temperament, matched with an equally impressive intelligence. They are known for being friendly and affectionate, qualities that make them great companions. These dogs are also loyal and obedient, making training a smoother process. Despite their friendly nature, they are often quieter and less yappy than their Pomeranian counterparts.

Health and Care

In my experience, when considering the health and care of Japanese Spitz and Pomeranians, being informed about the typical health issues that each breed might encounter is crucial. Understanding their grooming and maintenance requirements and recognizing their exercise needs to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

Common Health Conditions

While generally healthy, the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian breeds can have breed-specific health concerns. I have observed that Japanese Spitz may experience conditions like patellar luxation, where the kneecap dislocates, and potential eye issues such as runny eyes.

Pomeranians and Japanese Spitz can suffer from similar health problems. Pomeranians may also suffer from luxating patella but have a predisposition to more severe health issues like collapsed trachea and cataracts.

  • Japanese Spitz: Typical life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.
    • Runny Eyes
    • Patellar Luxation
  • Pomeranian: Common lifespan ranges from 12 to 16 years.

Grooming and Maintenance

Both dog breeds have a dense double coat that needs frequent grooming to avoid matting and control shedding.

Pomeranians, in particular, are known for their extravagant fur, which demands daily brushing to keep their coat looking their best. Japanese Spitz, while also needing routine grooming, may not require as much attention as the Pomeranian’s luxurious mane.

  • Daily Brushing: Essential for preventing tangles and matting.
  • Bathing: Monthly, or as necessary, to keep the coat clean.

Exercise Needs

The exercise needs of these breeds reflect their energy levels. Pomeranians have high energy and require daily exercise to prevent boredom and keep fit. The Japanese Spitz also enjoys being active and benefits from regular, but not excessive, exercise to maintain its health.

  • Daily Walks: Encouraged for both breeds.
  • Playtime: Pomeranians and Japanese Spitz both appreciate engaging play sessions.

By focusing on these aspects, the health and care of Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian dogs can be effectively managed.

Adaptability and Lifestyle

When considering a Japanese Spitz or a Pomeranian as a pet, it’s important to understand their adaptability and how they fit into various lifestyle settings. Both breeds are quite adaptable to different living conditions, and they share a common lineage that equips them with characteristics suitable for family living, socializing with other pets, and adapting to apartment living.

Living With Families and Children

I find that the Japanese Spitz is exceptionally well-suited for family life. Their affectionate nature and patient temperament make them great companions for children. They enjoy being part of the family’s activities and are relatively easy to train, which is crucial for harmonious living.

In contrast, Pomeranians are also family-friendly but can be more independent. Parental supervision is advised, especially with younger children, to ensure the interactions are gentle, as Pomeranians are small and can be more fragile. Both breeds have a moderate activity level and will require regular play to keep them happy and healthy.

Compatibility With Other Pets

Japanese Spitz dogs and Pomeranians can coexist peacefully with other pets and socialize properly. Due to their social and playful nature, the Japanese Spitz might be more outgoing towards other animals. However, it’s important to introduce dogs to other pets carefully and gradually to foster positive interactions.

Apartment Living Suitability

Living in an apartment is a reality for many, and you would want a dog that fits this lifestyle. Pomeranians are very adaptable to apartment living, primarily due to their size and content nature with indoor activities.

They tend to bark, which is something to consider for apartment noise levels. The Japanese Spitz, while also good for apartments, may require a bit more physical activity. Still, their trainability and size make them a reasonable choice for an apartment companion. They are alert and can make good watchdogs, notifying you of anything unusual, but they are not prone to unnecessary barking.

In making a decision, it is imperative to match your lifestyle and living situation to the needs and characteristics of these breeds to ensure a happy home for you and your pet.

Pomeranian vs. Japanese Spitz Kennel Club Acceptance

When comparing the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian, it’s important to understand their status within kennel club groups and registration processes. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and other global kennel organizations categorize breeds into groups based on characteristics and roles.

Pomeranians, part of the Toy Group, are well recognized and registered due to their long history and popularity. They’re admired for their compact size and spirited personality, making them a favorite among dog enthusiasts.

Though equally charming and possessing similar endearing qualities, the Japanese Spitz has a more complex situation about Kennel Club recognition. Japanese Spitz dogs are now recognized in the United States.

Not all Kennel Clubs have recognized the Japanese Spitz breed yet, which affects their registration and eligibility for certain competitions. However, in countries where they are identified, they often fall into groups akin to the Utility Group, celebrated for their intelligence, obedience, and versatility.

Grasping the intricacies of Kennel Club registration is paramount for prospective owners. It determines the ability to participate in dog shows and competitions and provides insights into each breed’s standing and popularity within the dog breeding community. Both breeds offer unique joys and challenges, making them beloved companions worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

In comparing the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian, it’s essential to understand their physical and temperament differences, maintenance levels, and typical prices. Exploring how they differ from other Spitz breeds and what to expect from their crossbreed is worthwhile.

What are the main size differences between the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian?

While both breeds are small, the Japanese Spitz generally stands taller, averaging 12 to 15 inches at the wither, and weighs between 11 to 20 pounds. 

Typically, a Pomeranian weighs between 3 and 7 pounds and is about 8 to 11 inches tall.

How do the temperaments of the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian compare?

The Japanese Spitz is known for being friendly, vigilant, and eager to please. They bond closely with their families and are excellent with children. In contrast, Pomeranians are friendly and energetic but can be more independent and assertive. Most owners consider the Japanese Spitz to be the better watchdog and a better family dog.

Which breed is considered more high maintenance, the Japanese Spitz or the Pomeranian?

Both dog breeds require regular grooming due to their double coats. However, Pomeranians often require more frequent brushing due to their denser and fuller coats. They may also need more attention to dental health.

What are the typical price ranges for a Pomeranian and a Japanese Spitz?

The purchase price for a Pomeranian varies widely. A well-bred dog from a reputable breeder may cost $500 to $5,500. Japanese Spitz, relatively rare in some countries, may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.

How does the German Spitz differ from the Japanese Spitz and the Pomeranian?

The German Spitz is another member of the Spitz family and is similar in appearance to both breeds. However, it is available in a broader range of sizes and can be larger than the Japanese Spitz and significantly bigger than the Pomeranian.

What should potential owners know about the Pomeranian and Japanese Spitz mix?

A mix of these breeds may result in a small to medium dog inheriting traits from both parents. These mixes can have diverse coat colors, and their temperament may combine the Pomeranian’s independence with the Japanese Spitz’s friendly nature.

Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian
Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian

Final Thoughts

In the debate between the Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian, dog lovers often compare two popular breeds that share many characteristics yet possess distinct traits, making each a unique companion. Kennel clubs recognize both breeds, and they are commonly available. The Pomeranian has a little more visibility, especially in the United States and European countries, where famous individuals often favor it.

The Japanese Spitz, originating from the Spitz breed, boasts a higher average height and is known for its more affectionate nature, making it an excellent dog breed for those seeking a friendly and house-friendly dog. Its long fur and outer coat make it well-suited for cold weather conditions, while its superb watchdog abilities ensure close attention to the household’s safety. On the other hand, the Pomeranian, with its distinct high-pitched bark and fluffy appearance, is a separate breed derived from the larger Spitz, known for being one of the friendliest and most affectionate dogs.

Both breeds require early socialization and regular exercise to maintain good behaviors and a healthy lifestyle. While Pomeranian dogs may have a higher exercise need, indicative of their lively and energetic nature, Japanese Spitz dogs are close behind, thriving in environments where they can get most walking and playtime, making both suitable for dog parks and active living environments.

Choosing the right breed comes down to understanding the specific needs, personality traits, and lifestyle changes each breed requires. With their easy-going personality and moderate shedding, Pomeranians can be a good fit for elderly people or those with little demand for most exercise. At the same time, with its protective nature and affectionate demeanor, the Japanese Spitz proves to be a healthy breed and a good choice for families seeking a more loving dog breed.

Ultimately, whether it’s the Japanese Spitz or Pomeranian, both breeds represent an excellent example of dogs with a low drooling tendency, average impulse to wander, and average emotional level.

They are both healthy dogs, generally free from major genetic diseases, and can adapt well to different living environments. The decision between these charming and affectionate breeds should be based on which dog’s characteristics best fit the prospective owner’s lifestyle, ensuring a lasting and loving relationship.

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References and Further Reading:
[1] Official Standard of the Pomeranian (AKC). American Kennel Club, 2011.
[2] English Kennel Club Pomeranian Breed Standard, 2017.
[3] Denise Leo, The Pomeranian Handbook.
[4] Milo G. Denlinger “The Complete Pomeranian.”
[5] Kimbering Pomeranians “1891-1991”.
[6] William Taplin’s “The Sportsman’s Cabinet.”
[7]  E. Parker “The Popular Pomeranian.”
[8] Lilla Ives “Show Pomeranians.”

Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian
Japanese Spitz vs Pomeranian


Denise Leo

Pomeranians are my passion, and I have shared my life with these darling little dogs for many decades. The creator and face behind this website is published author and Pomeranian breed authority Denise Leo of Dochlaggie Pomeranians.

Denise Leo
Denise Leo