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I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was red, medium sized and prick eared, like a miniature, extra shaggy Husky.
“Excuse me,” I asked, “Is that a Spitz?”
“Yes, the woman replied. It’s a Medium.”
Last year I wrote a book about Pomeranians, but I’d never seen their ancestor -- it’s not (yet) an AKC recognized breed.
I contained my excitement and took lots and lots of pictures. Later I saw more – all Mediums but several different examples -- and continued to click away.
Sometimes called the German Spitz, this breed comes in three sizes: “Toy” “Medium” and “Giant”. In their country of origin, the Keeshond (or Wolf) and Pomeranian (also called Toy) are also considered part of the group. They all have a foxy head with small prick ears, an outstanding ruff of hair around the neck and a metronome wagging bushy tail carried high over the back.
They have the long outstanding coat with the profuse undercoat of most Northern breeds, and are the very opposite of hypoallergenic.
They come in black, brown, white, orange, red and gray; as well as cream, sable, black and tan and parti-colored. It’s actually hard to imagine a color the Spitz doesn’t come in.
Temperament-wise they are bright and friendly. Like all self-confident dogs, they do best around owners that treat them with the respect they deserve and are as intelligent as they are. They enjoy children who are looking for an active and friendly playmate.
He can trace his roots in a direct line to artic wolves and is among the oldest breeds in Northern Europe.
As close as we can tell, they were developed around 1000, about the time that the Vikings decided that burning and pillaging were not as politically correct as they had been led to believe. The former marauders began to trade with people instead and needed a sturdy and loyal dog to keep them company on the long voyages, but above all they needed a dog friendly to strangers. A snarl and a growl aren’t very good for custom! So over the years the breed was developed; bright, self-confident and, more than anything, friendly.
Size: a) Wolfspitz/Keeshond 19.3 inches at the shoulder (not a small dog)
b) Giant 18.1 inches at the shoulder(not a small dog)
c) Medium 13.4 inches height at the shoulder
d) Miniature 10.2 inches height at the shoulder
e) Toy/Pomeranian 7.9 inches height at the shoulder
Coat Care: 6 – medium. He doesn’t need much brushing but can get tangled. Brushing can also help to keep the shedding manageable. They do better untrimmed as cutting off the long guard hairs can cause the undercoat to mat.
Trainability: 8 – medium to high. This is a smart breed that learns easily, needs a trainer that respects him and can keep him occupied.
Energy level: 7 -- medium They do know how to relax but they also enjoy a good romp, and are happiest when in the thick of activity.
Good with Children: 6 – medium They love a good game but have little tolerance for teasing.
Noise level: medium – 7 They will bark to send an alarm, but are not otherwise noisy.
Low Shedding/hypoallergenic: – 10, very high They shed all the time; then at certain times, they shed even more.
To get more information about the breed, contact the German Spitz Club of Great Britain. If you are interested in a puppy, they are quite rare in the US; you can check with the UK group for what they know and follow the rare breed listings in the back of Dog Fancy. How can you tell if a breeder is reputable? Check out What Makes a Responsible Breeder. And check out What Makes a Responsible Pet Owner to see if YOU have what it takes.
People come to About Small Dogs to find a good dog, one that matches their lifestyle, their family and what they yearn for.
The best people to explain the finer points of what a breed is like are the people who own and are owned by them.
If you own this breed, this means YOU. What is your dog like? What stories can you tell? What would you like to say to someone who is considering your breed? What is your dog's sterling qualities? How about some of his or her not so great characteristics? Tell us a bit about the ideal owner for your breed as well.
People become good dog owners because they are educated. You know your breed better than any others. Share what you know!
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