Pomeranian

Pomeranians are small in stature but big in personality. Alert, intelligent, and confident, Pomeranians have a beautiful coat and a charming personality to match. Read on to learn more about this little, loveable breed.
By Katie Mills Giorgio
Pomeranian
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament

Pomeranian

height
  • 6 to 7 inches
weight
  • 3 to 7 pounds
life span
  • 12 to 16 years
breed size
  • small (0-25 lbs.)
good with
  • cats
  • families
temperament
  • outgoing
  • playful
  • friendly
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • frequent
exercise needs
  • medium
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • frequent
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • toy
coat length/texture
  • long
  • medium
  • wiry
colors
  • black
  • red
  • blue
  • cream
  • gold / yellow
  • fawn
  • white
patterns
  • bicolor
  • tricolor
  • sable
  • saddle / blanket
  • brindle
  • black and tan
  • liver and tan
  • blue and tan
other traits
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • highly territorial
  • high potential for weight gain
  • apartment-friendly
  • cold weather tolerant
  • good for first-time pet owners

Pomeranians are tiny but mighty. These pint-sized pooches weigh 3 to 7 pounds, making them the smallest of the spitz, or Nordic, but they have the demeanor of a larger dog. Bright and spunky, Poms, as they are often called by admirers of the breed, are whip-smart. Training a Pomeranian is easy because they love to learn new tricks to make their owner happy. But they are also happy to spend time on their own. “These pups live to learn tricks and can alternate between wanting to please and being stubbornly independent,” says Pam Nichols, DVM, president-elect of the American Animal Hospital Association.

While Pomeranians are petite enough to fit in a purse, they’d much rather walk on their own four paws. They have the courage and stamina of much larger dogs, and you’ll often find them keeping busy trotting all around the house. The perennially popular breed—historically favored by royalty—may have a thick, beautiful coat that comes in nearly two dozen colors and patterns, but they are surprisingly easy to groom. While they can get a bit mouthy, Pomeranians (also known as the Zwergspitz, dwarf spitz, and loulou in some places), are ideal, loyal companions for many people.

Appearance

There’s much to love about the Pomeranian’s darling smiley face. The smallest of the spitz breeds—weighing in at no more than 7 pounds—their face is often described as fox-like thanks to a wedge-shaped head and erect ears. Their sweet, almond-shaped eyes are dark and their noses are either dark or the same color as their coat. When it comes to coats, Poms come in a whole spectrum of hues and patterns. Orange and red are the most common Pomeranian colors, but Poms also come in black, black and tan, blue, blue and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, cream, cream sable, brindle, and white. Poms that are white with patches of any other color are called "parti-colored." Like a proud lion, a Pomeranian’s signature appearance includes a frill around the neck and chest and ample fluffy fur all over thanks to a thick double coat. The best part is, a Pom’s coat only looks like it would be difficult to care for. And don’t forget their fancy, plumed tail—that develops with age—that feathers out in the back. 

Temperament

The Pomeranian temperament is proud to match their proud looks. Alert and inquisitive, Poms spend their days in a lively way without being hyperactive. They are very clever dogs who can adapt from snuggling on your lap—they love to give kisses—or trotting around the house on some self-prescribed mission, to competing on agility courses and going for brisk walks to greet everyone in the neighborhood. They are born extroverts. 

Be aware of their curiosity, independence, and take-charge temperament. Pomeranians like to explore new things and will guard the home and their family—with plenty of barking as a soundtrack—but may also get themselves in trouble when they challenge larger dogs. Poms may be aware of their beauty, but they don’t seem to process their stature. 

Living Needs

If you are older or busy, Pomeranians make an ideal pet because they aren’t an overly dependent breed. Poms are also an ideal indoor pet. They don’t take up a lot of space but are surprisingly hearty, active little pups who enjoy getting out for walks. They especially love to meet new people and dogs along the way. They do just fine living in an apartment or a home with little or no yard. Do keep an eye on them when outside as they are escape artists—slipping through cracks or climbing small fences—and are susceptible to predatory birds because they are so petite. 

Poms love to play, perform for an audience, and do tricks. Make sure you have plenty of toys around—that you rotate out to keep things fresh—to challenge their active minds. Because they are smart and alert, Poms do well with agility training and as therapy dogs.

Poms are ideal in homes with older kids who know how to handle a small dog. Younger kids sometimes think of them too much like the toy they resemble. They can also co-exist with cats and other dogs, although they will need to be protected from bigger dogs. Don’t tell a Pom they are tiny, as they have no fear of challenging a larger dog. And they have quite the bark. It’s loud enough to make them a good watchdog. But train them early to stop barking on command or they may just bark all day long. 

Care

A double coat means double the fun when it comes to grooming your Pomeranian. Their undercoat is soft and dense, while a Pom’s outer coat is long, straight, and coarse. Luckily, they are small and the coat is deceptively easy to groom so it doesn’t take too much of your time. Their ample coat should be brushed a few times a week—start at their head and work your way down their body—with a medium to hard brush that can get all the way to their skin. This will help reduce their shedding. They only need to be bathed every couple of months. Make teeth brushing part of your regular routine, as Poms are prone to dental health issues.  

Thanks to their short, little legs, Poms don’t require a ton of exercise and are happy to go on a short walk or two each day, although they have the stamina to go on longer walks if you’d like. People love to watch them trot along, holding their head high with pride. 

They love to both snuggle up on your lap and play around the house. Making Poms the center of attention by teaching them new tricks is a great way to help them exercise and bond with the family. They don’t have long attention spans, so keep your training sessions short and fun, with lots of treats. Top priorities should be training them to walk on a leash and come when called. They can be a bit tough to housebreak, as they aren’t fans of going outside when it's cold or rainy. And you should not allow them to jump on and off furniture so they don’t injure their joints or break any bones. Early socialization is essential, too. Poms can become yappy dogs, so introduce them to lots of different people, places, and experiences when they are young so they know how to interact with the world as they get older.

Health

These small but mighty dogs are a rather healthy breed. However, there are a few health conditions Pomeranians are susceptible to. Some Poms suffer from allergies—both contact and food-related. They may also develop epilepsy and have seizures. A variety of eye problems, including cataracts, dry eye, and tear duct problems can impact Pomeranians and lead to blindness if untreated. You’ll also want to watch for hip dysplasia and luxating patellas which can impede their ability to move around. As with many toy breeds, Legg-Perthes Disease may be an issue that affects their hip joints. And Poms are prone to teeth and gum problems and early tooth loss, so make sure you visit your veterinarian regularly for check-ups.  

History

Believe it or not, Pomeranians trace their heritage back to large Arctic sled dogs. They are named for Pomerania, an area in northeastern Europe that is now part of Poland and western Germany, where they were bred as a miniature version of the larger, brawny dogs, such as Norwegian elkhound, the schipperke, the German spitz, the American Eskimo, and the Samoyed.

In the late 1800s, Queen Victoria of England became smitten with the breed on a trip to Florence, Italy, and returned to Britain with several Poms. Thanks to her adoration for the breed, Pomeranians quickly gained popularity. Queen Victoria was a serious breeder, credited today with reducing them from about 20 to 30 pounds to their current miniature size.

The early 1900s saw a surge in the popularity of Poms. They were brought to the United States about that time as well. The American Pomeranian Club was accepted as a member club of the AKC in 1909 and the first Pomeranian specialty show was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1911. By the middle of the century, Poms became one of the most popular dog breeds in America.

Fun Facts

  • Besides Queen Victoria, Poms were adored by other notable figures including theologian Martin Luther, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, Queen Marie Antoinette, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • When the Titanic sank in 1912, there were 12 dogs on board, all in first class. Only three dogs survived, including one Pekingese and two Pomeranians.
  • A Pom duo is called a “puff,” while a group of three or more is called a “tuft.”
  • In 2014, a Pomeranian named Jiff set the Guinness World Record for "Fastest Dog on Two Paws,” running 5 meters on his front in 7.76 seconds.