The Pomeranian is a small, Spitz-type toy dog named after the Pomerania region of northern Poland and eastern Germany. The breed has featured in the top 20 most popular dog breeds in the USA every year since at least 1998.
Affectionately referred to as the “Pompom”, the Pomeranian weighs less than 4 kg and is usually around 13 – 28 cm tall. They are known for their soft, long fur, and come in the widest variety of colours of any dog breed. The most common are orange, black, or white.
Queen Victoria owned a very small Pomeranian and is credited with boosting its popularity as well as the resulting 50% decrease in breed size during her time.
They are very playful, active, friendly and intelligent. They are incredibly alert dogs, and they often bark when encountering new environments and people/animals. This can develop into a habit of excessive barking.
The life expectancy of a Pomeranian is between 12 and 16 years, but a well-bred, well-fed and often-exercised dog could live even longer.
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The Pomeranian is a proud, extroverted and lively dog. It is eager to learn, loyal, and affectionate. It is quite an independent breed and is very alert and curious.
If properly introduced to other dogs and pets, the Pomeranian will usually get along well with them. They can be quite reserved around strangers, often barking, growling or even biting. They are great watchdogs and will alert you when there are visitors. However, this behaviour can often get out of hand and they can develop a habit of barking excessively.
Pomeranians are not generally clingy dogs, but can easily develop “Small Dog Syndrome”, which induces the dog to believe it is pack leader over the human. This can lead to serious behavioural problems such as separation anxiety, wilfulness, nervousness, temperamental behaviour, and aggression towards larger dogs.
Pomeranians make great companions for elderly people and people who live in apartments as they are very active indoors, especially when given toys. They do, however, need a daily walk – Pomeranians who do not could develop behavioural problems.
As they are very intelligent dogs, they can learn many tricks. Training them is a great way to stimulate them mentally, as mental exercise is just as important for Pomeranians as physical activity.
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The Pomeranian’s ancestors were large working Spitz-type (German for “sharp point”, referring to its nose and muzzle) dogs from the Arctic regions. It is named after the region Pomerania, which despite not being the breed’s place of origin is credited with the breeding which led to the original Pomeranian.
It can be traced back to ancient Egypt (seen on drawings in tombs), Greece (seen in pottery depicting Apollo & Aphrodite) and in China.
Queen Charlotte and King George III brought two Pomeranians to England in 1767. Paintings of the dog in this period show a noticeably larger type (weighing between 14-23 kg) than the dog we see today.
Queen Victoria, however, is credited with the surge in popularity of the breed. During her 64 year reign, she bred more than 15 different breeds of dogs, and in her later years fell in love with the Pomeranian. She had a particularly small Pomeranian and began importing other small Pomeranians to add to her breeding program. In fact, as she lay on her deathbed, she requested that her favourite Pomeranian, called Turi, be brought to her. Her contemporaries King George IV and the wife of Napoleon I were both owners.
It was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1898 and officially recognised two years later.
Only three dogs survived the Titanic’s sinking in 1912, two of which were Pomeranians. Both escaped with their owners in lifeboats 6 and 7.
The earliest known Pomeranian brought to Australia was a chocolate-coloured dog in 1910. However, an 1879 advertisement offers a reward for the return of a white Pomeranian to Melbourne, so it is possible that the dogs have been in Australia since the 19th century.
Pomeranian Club of NSW: http://www.pomclubnsw.com/