Pomeranian

Pomeranian

Originally made popular by Queen Victoria, the Pomeranian is a confident, vivacious breed that hasn't forgotten its royal roots. While originally a larger dog—descendants of Spitz-type dogs—the smaller size of the Pomeranian doesn't dampen a big personality. Poms are confident and playful, with a curious nature. There's no shortage of boldness here—the Pomeranian needs a confident owner who is willing to enforce the rules.


Other Names

Other names for the Pomeranian include Pompom and Pom.


Pomeranian Mixes

Pomeranian mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues, but small dogs such as a mixed breed Poms are often adopted quickly. To adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Pomeranian, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you're interested.


While a Pomeranian mix may show some of the physical characteristics and traits of the breed, the genetics of the other breeds in the mix may also be present. Most shelters do not perform DNA testing on the animals they care for—breed is often determined based on physical characteristics, as well as information provided at the dog's surrender.


Pomeranian mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog's personality through a series of evaluations—even if the dog's temperament may not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.


Pomeranian mixes may include Beagle, Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, as well as terrier and spaniel types.

Physical Description

Coat

The Pomeranian's double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat and a thicker, textured overcoat. It forms a ruff around the neck, feathered legs, and skirted hindquarters. The most common colors are orange, black, and white, though any color or marking is allowed.


Height

Average Height: 6-7 inches


Weight

Average Weight: 3-7 pounds

Breed Standard & History

The Pomeranian is a compact, yet sturdy dog. Its body is as long as it is tall, offering a square appearance. The Pomeranian is medium boned and well-balanced. Small ears must be set high and erect. Dark eyes are balanced and offer an alert and intelligent expression. A short, fox-like muzzle should display a scissor-bite. The soft, full undercoat is covered by a thick, textured overcoat. A ruff is visible at the face. Forelegs are feathered and a skirt is present at the rear. Plumed tail should be high-set and rest across the back. All colors are allowed. Movement should be brisk and efficient, with the head carried proudly. – AKC Breed Standards


The diminutive Pomeranian likely descended from the Spitz family of dogs—considered the oldest type of dog, and closely related to the wolf. The name comes from the Baltic region—formerly called 'Pomerania'—where the smaller size is said to have developed. The dogs became known as Zwergspitz, or Dwarf-Spitz, in Germany. Though there isn't much documentation available, the breed was likely used to pull sleds and herd sheep.


Pomeranians were mentioned by James Boswell in a diary entry from 1764. Queen Charlotte of the British Royal Family kept two Poms in England in the 1760s.


The breed gained fame when Queen Victoria owned four Pomeranians, the smallest of which was 12 pounds. She established her own kennel and her animals competed as show dogs. Though most Pomeranians were still weighing in at around 20 pounds, her little dog furthered the popularity of small Poms, and breeders began developing smaller dogs to meet the demand.


The AKC recognized the Pomeranian in 1888. Of the three dogs who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, two were Pomeranians.


Other well-known Pomeranian owners include Joséphine de Beauharnais, the wife of Napoleon I of France; Mozart, who dedicated an aria to his pet Pom Pimperl; and Sir Isaac Newton, whose Pomeranian Diamond destroyed some of Newton's research.


AKC Breed Category

Toy Group

Personality

General Temperament

The bold and playful Pomeranian is self-assured and rarely shy. Though they are small in stature, they have huge, extroverted personalities. They are intelligent, but often stubborn, so a certain firmness is necessary in a Pom owner. They are always on alert, and often bark at passers-by—or just out of boredom.


Family Life

Are Pomeranians Good with Kids? Well-socialized Pomeranians may be able to live or play with children, but supervision is recommended. They do not tolerate rough play and can be mouthy. Though sturdy, the Pom is a small dog and children should be taught gentle handling skills to prevent injury to the dog.


Are Pomeranians Good with Other Pets? Pomeranians tend to do well with other dogs if properly socialized and introduced. They may be possessive over food or toys, so supervision and feeding separately may be necessary. Play with larger breeds should be supervised to ensure it isn't too rough as Poms may be injured if play is too rambunctious. Pomeranians tend to get along well with cats.


Protective

The Pomeranian is a dedicated companion who is always on alert. Poms often bark when someone approaches the home, or if other animals walk through the yard. They are not likely guard dogs due to their tiny size, but they make wonderful watchdogs.


Energy Levels

Pomeranians have an abundance of energy. They are a perky, bouncy breed that lives for play, but also appreciate quiet time spent cuddling.


Specific Concerns

  • Can be nippy
  • Potential for resource guarding
  • May be difficult to housebreak
  • Stubborn and independent thinkers, can be difficult to train and may be manipulative
  • Known to bark

Requirements

Indoor 

Tiny Pomeranians don't take up a lot of space, and they don't need much space to exercise. Their daily requirements for exercise may be fulfilled through indoor play and a short walk outside. They make wonderful apartment companions, though barking may be a concern.


Outdoor 

A daily easy-paced walk outdoors is often plenty for a Pomeranian. While Pomeranians developed from hardy sled dogs, they are not built to live outdoors. Their fur may keep them warm when temperatures dip but they do not handle frigid temperatures well. They should not be expected to live outdoors, and should not be left outside alone.


Exercise 

Energetic Poms can get the majority of their exercise needs while playing indoors and with a short walk or two outdoors each day. When leashed for walks outdoors, a harness is recommended in order to prevent tracheal collapse caused by pulling at the collar.


Endurance 

Pomeranians love to run and play, and they may seem difficult to keep up with at times. Their ancestors were built to work, and that impressive endurance is still present in the breed today. Poms excel at agility and other sports that require stamina—though sled pulling is no longer on their duty roster.


Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: A properly conditioned Pomeranian may be able to keep up on an easy jog of a mile or so, but they aren't built for long-distance running.
  • Hiking Miles: Though small, the Pomeranian has a big dog attitude when it comes to hiking. They'll tackle the trail with enthusiasm and may be able to manage short hikes—possibly up to five miles, if well-conditioned. Harnesses—rather than leashes—are ideal to prevent an obstructed airway due to trachea damage.


Food 

Pomeranians are an energetic breed and their activity level should be taken into consideration when it comes to feeding. The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food (based on average weight and activity level) to feed is ¼ to ½ cup per day, but more may be necessary for a larger or more active Pomeranian. This amount should be split between two or three meals.


Pomeranians may be prone to food guarding behaviors. It may be necessary to feed a Pomeranian separately from other animals in the home. Children should never be allowed to touch or remove food from any dog while it is eating.


Alone Time 

While social, Pomeranians can learn to spend up to eight hours alone during the day. Small breeds may not be able to hold their bladder all day, so a dog walker may be necessary. Their exercise needs can be fulfilled through indoor play throughout the day, as well as a short daily walk.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

12-16 years


Grooming

The fluffy double coat that the Pomeranian shows off requires regular maintenance. Brushing multiple times per week and trips to the groomer for a trim every one to two months is necessary. Shaving is not recommended for the Pomeranian. They shed heavily, so allergy sufferers may have difficulty with this breed.


Common Health Issues

While Pomeranians are a generally healthy breed, some of the more common health concerns are:


  • Trachea collapse
  • Dental concerns and tooth loss
  • Dislocated kneecaps (luxating patella)
  • Deafness
  • Eye concerns
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Hypothyroidism

You can minimize serious health concerns in a Pomeranian by purchasing her from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.

Trainability

Basics

While intelligent, the Pomeranian can be willful or manipulative. They can learn basic commands with ease, though getting them to cooperate can be more difficult. Handlers must be consistent and never allow a Pomeranian to make the rules. Training a Pomeranian not to bark unless necessary should begin early. As with many small breeds, housetraining may be difficult, so consistency is key.


Advanced Training

Agility is a favorite of the energetic Pomeranian. The athleticism of their ancestors shines through when they compete in agility. They're also natural performers with the ability to learn advanced tricks.


Sporting Dog Training

While the Spitz breeds from whom the Pomeranian descended have a history as hunting dogs, the Pom is not an ideal sporting dog. They may have some prey drive and chase rodents in the yard, but they are not built for the hunt.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Pomeranians.

Explore Other Breeds

Pomeranians grow rapidly through puppyhood, then their growth slows at around 10 months of age. They are considered an adult at one year, but may continue to grow until the 18-month mark.

Sometime around the four- to six-month mark, Pomeranian puppies go through a phase Pom owners affectionately refer to as the 'puppy uglies.' Their fluffy puppy coat sheds drastically in order to make way for their adult double coat. When this happens, they are often left with a scraggly, patchy coat of fur. No Pomeranian is immune, though some may have it easier than others.


Extra brushing and regular bathing during this time will help the process along. Poms may be more susceptible to cold temperatures and a coat or sweater may be necessary to prevent a chill.


During this puppy shed, coat color or markings may darken, lighten, or change entirely. The color change may be barely noticeable, but more obvious changes are possible—such as brown fur turning to cream or parti coloring appearing. The 'uglies' phase usually lasts until one year of age, when the adult coat finishes growing in.


Abnormal hair loss after one year of age may be attributed to 'alopecia x,' a disorder that causes hair loss in Pomeranians and other breeds. This symmetrical pattern baldness is also called 'black skin disease' because the skin may change color. Treatment does not always reverse the hair loss attributed to the condition, but it is not harmful and the hair loss is not contagious.

Occasionally, Pomeranians that are larger—closer to the size of their Spitz ancestors—are born in a purebred litter. If a Pom tops 10 pounds they're considered a 'partial throwback,' and at over 14 pounds they're referred to as a 'throwback' Pomeranian. This throwback gene is unpredictable and can't be bred for. A litter of otherwise tiny Poms may include a single puppy with the throwback gene. These Pomeranians offer the same personality as their smaller counterparts, and they do not suffer from an increase in health concerns. Throwback Poms are not accepted in the show ring as they are outside of breed standards, but may excel at agility or other competitions.