You might not know it to look at her, but the Pomeranian's great-great-grandmother once pulled sleds in northern Scandinavia. Pomeranians (or “Poms,” as their fans call them) were once much larger dogs. In the mid-19th century, Queen Victoria of England had them bred to their current size so they could better fit in the royal lap. The Pomeranian's biography, From Lapland to Lapdog, is coming soon to bookstores near you. (Just kidding.)
For such small dogs, these personality-filled puffballs sure have gotten around. One watched Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel's ceiling. Another was one of only three dogs to have survived the Titanic's sinking. You really can't keep a good dog down, it turns out.
Originally from Germany, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 3-7 pounds and lives an average of 12-16 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Toy group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Companion
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 13
FAMILY spitz, Northern (companion)
AREA OF ORIGIN Germany
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION companion
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 8-11 Weight: 3-7
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 8-11 Weight: 3-7
OTHER NAME none
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Low
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Somewhat affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A POMERANIAN'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
These are clever, curious, cheerful, and courageous dogs. Pomeranians are all fur and personality, really. This dog enters a room as though she owns everyone and everything in it, and assumes anyone in her presence is there to meet and admire her. Their teeny size means play with children and other dogs should definitely be supervised.
WHAT IS POMERANIAN BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Pomeranians are fairly active. Folks don't usually think of a seven-pound dog as “athletic,” but these are. While you can meet your Pom's exercise needs with indoor games, she'll appreciate the mental stimulation and socialization opportunities of a walk around the block or a trip to the small dog side of the dog park. (More time outside = more things to explore and more chances for people to admire her.) Don't worry though: this breed is also very happy to snuggle you once you get back home.
Poms can definitely be barkers. Be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often. This is often a losing battle, but give it your best shot.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A POMERANIAN?
Pomeranians respond well to training, though like many toy breeds, they're sometimes slow to housetrain. (Small bladders mean they just can't “hold it” very long.) They are intelligent and eager to please.
These dogs enjoy obedience, rally, freestyle, agility, and tracking events.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO POMERANIANS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Pomeranians have dense, short undercoats overlaid with lots of harsh, longer fur. You know just by looking at this fuzzball that your Pom is going to need a lot of brushing.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO POMERANIANS HAVE?
As a breed, Pomeranians are generally healthy. Some have problems with slipping kneecaps. Discourage them from jumping from heights. Others experience unexplained hair loss and, like most small breeds, can be prone to dental problems.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE POMERANIANS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Pomeranians among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as tiny as a Pomeranian! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A POMERANIAN'S BEST DAY?
7:00 a.m. — Trot around the house with important business to do.
7:15 a.m. — Trot around the block with important business to do.
7:30 a.m. — Breakfast.
7:35 a.m. — Bark at the neighbor.
7:45 a.m. — Curl up on your lap for a short nap.
SHOULD I ADOPT A POMERANIAN?
This breed's small size, moderate exercise needs, and adaptable nature mean she's comfortable just about anywhere — including an apartment, and especially on your lap. They're equally well-suited to warm and cold weather. This isn't a dog who'll sit happily in a purse — but if you're looking for a fearless explorer who just happens to fit in a handbasket, the Pomeranian might be the Rose to your Jack. (Bonus: if you do, for some reason, wind up on a sinking ship together, there's plenty of room for you and your Pom on any door that floats by.)
Have you decided that a Pomeranian is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.