Pomeranian dogs are small, with a fox-like face, lion-like neck ruff and long double coat in a variety of colors and markings. Their ears are upright, and their gait is bold and agile. Personality and health wise they’ve got some significant pros and cons. These perky, lively toy dogs are bossy and inquisitive, but they are also very friendly and affectionate to their families. At just 6-7 inches tall and weighing under 7lbs, they are a bit too fragile for kids, but can get on well with older teenagers. They are no pocket pet, despite their size. And they’d rather be chasing a ball than carried around in a backpack.
- Where do Pomeranians come from?
- Colors, coats and shedding
- Pomeranian personality
- Common health conditions
- Adoption, puppies and breeders
Although they look like lapdogs, the Pomeranian is historically bred from herding and sled dog roots in Germany and Poland. Their characteristics reflect that hard working history. Despite being a toy type, they do well with agility and obedience training too. They are protective and can make surprisingly good guard dogs. The Pomeranian is a unique little dog. Eye-catching in appearance, compact in size and full of personality.
The Pomeranian of today has come a long way from their German ancestors of the Pomerania region. The ancestors of the Pomeranian were used for herding sheep and protecting livestock. Before that they possibly even worked as sled dogs in the Arctic. So you can see they were once fairly large dogs.
The English Kennel Club recognised the Pomeranian in 1870. They really gained notoriety when Queen Victoria began breeding and showing them herself in the late 1880’s. It was around this time that the American Kennel Club also recognised them.
Although they were originally fairly large dogs, the Pomeranian today is far smaller than their ancestors. They are now classified as one of the Toy group of dogs.
- Did you know, famous Pomeranian owners in times gone by included Mozart, Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria!
- Modern day pom lovers include P Diddy, Samantha Mumba, Sandra Bullock, Sly Stallone and several Hiltons.
- The Pomeranian is also classed by many as a teddy bear dog!
People sometimes refer to the Pomeranian as a little lion. They have a pointed face and a small, very furry body. Their head is pointed and almost fox-like in shape. They have a narrow muzzle and ears that sit erect. Their tail is high set, and hangs back straight out from their body. A long spread of fur covers it.
How Big Are Pomeranians?
They are a compact, short dog. On average they weigh between 3 and 7lb, and stand 6-7 inches tall. Although there is some variation, and females are usually smaller than males.
They may be small but they are energetic and bouncy little dogs. Poms tend to vocalise their thoughts in surprisingly loud barks and yaps.
Coats and Colors
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the Pomeranian is his coat. It is made up of a soft fluffy undercoat. This is covered by a long, straight and rough textured overcoat. This long coat keeps his whole body well furred. It feathers around their legs and neck profusely.
They are commonly of a single color only. This can range from white through to orange, brown and black. Rarer colors like white and black can be quite sought after.
The most iconic image of the Pomeranian is probably in that strong orange color, which goes towards the image of the little lion.
Grooming Your Pomeranian
To keep your Pomeranian clean and comfortable you will need to brush him every day without fail. And bathe him regularly too. From the day that you bring your pup home, kindly introduce him to the concept of brushing. Beginning by just very lightly stroking him with a soft brush, and rewarding his good behavior with little treats and reassurance.
Grooming will make up a significant part of your care routine for your Pom’s lifespan. So it’s essential that you get off on the right foot and help him learn to enjoy the process.
Poms can overheat in warmer climates. In the summer you may want to consider having his coat clipped, so he is more comfortable. Or reducing your walks to shady areas or cooler times of day.
Are They Hypoallergenic?
Pomeranians have long coats. At least once or twice a year you will need to deal with them heavily shedding this fur. They can molt excessively. And, due to the consistent need for grooming, fluff floating around your house could be an issue all year around.
We recommend you get into good habits with grooming your Pomeranian and clearing up after you do so. This then won’t seem like such a big deal once you are used to it. Just make sure not to let it get on top of you, and groom him on a daily basis.
This is not a hypoallergenic dog breed, and if you have a dander allergy is best avoided.
We certainly can’t accuse the Pomeranian of being a boring dog. He is a real character packed into a tiny body. He has plenty of love and loyalty to give his family.
He’s inclined to be bold, stubborn, tenacious and spirited. As a result, you will need to channel his intelligence with productive positive reinforcement training. He can get bored or lose interest easily, so keep his lessons short and fun.
Help him to appreciate that you and your family are a source of fun. Let him burn off his energy regularly and productively. Although small in stature, Pomeranians are lively little dogs. They need at least one good walk a day. Along with plenty of play time interacting with their toys and human companions.
Very affectionate dogs, Pomeranians do not like to be apart. They do best with humans who are home most of the time. And able to provide the levels of companionship and stimulation that they thrive on.
Pomeranians are known for being very loyal dogs. This is due in part to their guarding nature. Their sheepdog ancestors needed to have some guarding instincts. They protected their flock from poachers and predators. These instincts remain in full despite their diminished stature.
Do They Make Good Watchdogs?
Looking for a dog to let you know when people come near to your house? The Pom won’t disappoint. However, if you are looking for a quiet companion, then a Pomeranian puppy is possible not the best choice. They are definitely vocal and prone to yapping and barking in the home. Their bark is quite high in pitch, and can be very piercing.
Although pint-sized, your Pomeranian puppy will become a very attentive watchdog. Barking to alert you to strangers passing by outside the window. Or visitors approaching your door.
The levels of their barking will mean that not just you, but also your neighbours will be aware whenever someone comes too near to the home.
You may also find that you are not able to leave your Pomeranian puppy alone in the back yard. This is because he will make quite a racket when he sees something interesting. Or if he wants your attention or simply gets bored for a moment.
You can raise these vocal puppies in such a way that their barking is reduced to a minimum. Never reward your pup for barking by reacting, rewarding or giving him attention for it. However do be aware that a Pom’s minimum barking may equal some owners’ ideas of a maximum amount of tolerated noise.
Are Pomeranians Friendly?
Pomeranians love the adults they live with. They are often very attentive, loyal, and openly pleased to spend time together. They are very affectionate dogs. However, they are not always keen on imposed handling or physical interaction. So you will need to be aware of the signs that they are getting fed up/ And know when to give them a bit of space.
Using a crate can really help with this. It will give your Pom a place of his own to retire to when he needs a break. This doesn’t mean they won’t choose to be a bit of a lap dog on occasion. But you shouldn’t push them into it.
If you properly socialize your Pom from a young age, they will be likely to get along well with other dogs. And even pets of different species too. One potential issue to watch out for however is that they can display ‘bossy’ behaviors. As a result they can get into trouble with bigger more aggressive dogs out on walks.
Training and Exercise
Because Pomeranians are small even in adulthood, it’s important to try to avoid confrontational situations where they could be injured by other people’s dogs. A large dog can break a small dogs neck. For exampe simply by picking them up and shaking them. So you must be careful not to put a Pomeranian puppy into a situation that could cause him harm.
As small dogs, Pomeranians do not need a great deal of training by way of house manners. You will find it easy to walk your Pomeranian puppy using a harness and leash. You can do this regardless of whether he has any formal heel work in place. They are light and small enough that problems that can be annoying in larger dogs like jumping up or shoving are no big deal.
The most important thing for your Pom to have is good socialization. In addition he needs a good recall to keep him safe off leash.
However, due to their intelligence and active natures, positive reinforcement training can be a great way to keep their energies focused in a fun and productive way. It will also help them to bond strongly to their owner and trainer.
Although Pomeranians are popular dogs, the quantity of registered pedigree Poms is actually fairly low. Their population size is low. Pomerians therefore have a smaller gene pool than some other types of dog. The small population increases their risk of genetic disease.
There are a few health issues that you will need to be aware of and active against as a Pomeranian puppy owner.
Luxating Patellas are a fairly significant concern for Pomeranian owners. In this condition the kneecap is not properly set at the joint and moves around. It is a fairly common condition amongst Pomeranians. It can result in them becoming lame or in pain. This is usually as a result of their conformation, something which they will have been born with. In addition it can be exacerbated as they grow, or through injury.
They can also suffer from hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, where the joint is malformed again. However, these are less common issues. The potential for your puppy to suffer can be easily checked by looking at the parents’ hip and elbows scores. These should be as even and near to 0:0 as possible.
There are various eye problems that Pomeranian owners need to be aware of. These includ ectropion, dry eye, and cataracts. In addition they can suffer distichiasis, where the eyelashes are over length and turned in.
Make sure your pup’s parents have clear eye health. In addition, check your Pom’s eyes regularly. If he is pawing at them or they seem red or to have discharge, take him to the vet straight away.
Due to the excessive fur surrounding their ears, Poms can be prone to ear infections. Make sure you watch out for signs of discomfort. These include scratching or head rubbing. Take him to the vet straight away to avoid it getting worse.
You can help to keep their ears healthy with regular ear cleaning.
Pomeranians can suffer with skin irritations and problems with fur growth. Their skin underneath the thick fur can become flakey or sore where it has no exposure to the air. Be careful which dog shampoos you use on your Pom puppy. Avoid using strong household chemicals around them as this could potentially exacerbate the problem.
We also see coat loss and resultant alopecia in Pomeranians. Affected dogs will appear to have a normal coat as a puppy. However, at some point in the first few years of their lives they will lose the fur on their body or tail. Fortunately, it does not appear to cause them any discomfort or related health problems. But it does leave them looking somewhat dishevelled!
Pom owners frequently complain of their dogs developing dental issues. They are small dogs with a large number of teeth. Overcrowding is common. This can lead to rotten teeth and diseased gums. Causing the dog to have pain when eating or a reluctance to eat.
A good diet of high protein kibble or raw food, combined with regular check ups at the veterinarian will help you to keep his mouth healthy. If you feel that his breath has suddenly become smelly, take him along for a visit at the vets.
Protecting your Dog from Injury
One of the leading health issues with toy dogs is directly related to their size. One of the most prevalent for Pomeranians is perhaps the collapsing tracheas.
As small frail dogs, Pomeranians have soft and vulnerable throats. It is essential that a Pomeranian puppy is walked on a harness and not a traditional collar and lead. This is to prevent him suffering from damage to his throat when he pulls.
They are fragile creatures with big dog personalities. This means that whilst they have all the enthusiasm for life and getting stuck in that their ancestors have, they don’t have the body to back it up.
Your Pomeranian will need protecting from larger dogs, being dropped, jumping down high steps, or even getting sat on or accidentally kicked.
Pomeranians can also fail to have their fontanels close into adulthood, therefore making them more vulnerable to head trauma. Check with your vet at his routine visit to find out whether this is something your puppy will be at risk from.
Hydrocephalus is a congenital condition that can occur in Pomeranians. Specifically, this where spinal fluid accumulates on the brain due to an inability to exit normally. This is usually related to an obstruction. Obstruction can be caused by the conformation, the shape and structure, of the dog’s skull. This can lead to blindness, constant barking, and swelling of the head leading to seizures.
Another nasty condition you need to be aware of when looking for a Pomeranian is that of syringomyelia
I am concerned to note several from Pom owners reporting symptoms that sound like those related to Syringomyelia. In other words unexplained twitching, itching and disorientation. This disorder is commonly associated with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and it’s a pretty terrifying one for dog lovers.
A Pomeranian can live a long, happy and healthy life if properly bred and cared for.
Despite the slightly gloomy health section related to this little dog, he does actually have a pretty good potential lifespan. If you can avoid the genetic disease pitfalls, he lives on average 12 to 16 years.
Are Pomeranians Good With Kids?
Pomeranians do not have the best reputation with children, for a couple of reasons. One reason is that they are not tolerant of pushy interactions. Your dog will give warning signs when they have been petted too long or too roughly. However, a young child could fail to notice these until it is past the point of no return. Poms are small but feisty, and have been known to snap when pushed too far.
Although a well socialised friendly Pomeranian could be a wonderful companion for a child, there is another reason that it might not be sensible to attempt this with young children. That is the Pomeranian’s size and stature.
He is a very fragile dog. The nicest toddler in the world is still unreliable. They could accidentally injure or even kill a frail Pom. For example by trying to lift him, dropping him awkwardly or even patting him too hard. For this reason we do not recommend the Pomeranian for a young family.
If you do have a Pomeranian puppy and young children, ensure that they are never left unsupervised together. You can use baby gates, crates and puppy pens to manage them, so that neither one is put in the position of being accidentally hurt by the other.
Rescuing a Pomeranian
Before getting a puppy, do consider rescuing an older Pom in need of a loving home. There is a selection of rescue centers below, but if we’ve missed yours off just let us know in the comments below.
The best way to buy a Pomeranian puppy is from a breeder who focused on health and temperament. Who has a motivation beyond the financial for having litters, and offers lifetime support to you as a potential owner.
Pomeranians are rising rapidly in popularity. Sadly, many of the people breeding them are not doing so with consideration for the potential health or temperament issues that can crop up.
It is therefore incredibly important that should you choose to buy a Pomeranian puppy, you do so from a breeder who has had all relevant health checks carried out. The breeder should be focused on only breeding from dogs who are friendly and confident.
Raising a Pomeranian Puppy
Caring for a vulnerable Pomeranian puppy is a big responsibility. There are some great guides to help you with all aspects of puppy care and training. Take a look at our guide to feeding your Pom pup, and our more general guides to potty training, what you need for a puppy to get started.
Due to their guarding natures, it is very important that you begin socialisation with your Pomeranian puppy at an early age. This will give him the best chance of mixing happily with other people regardless of how well he knows them – whether on walks or at home.