In this article we are going to take an honest look at the Pomeranian breed. Finding out all about his temperament, care and health.
If you are thinking of buying a Pomeranian puppy, we hope to help you decide whether you can offer the right home to this fun, fabulous little dog.
The History of the Pomeranian
The Pomeranian of today has come a long way from his German ancestors of the Pomerania region.
Once fairly large dogs, the Pomeranian has ancestors who were used for herding sheep and protecting livestock, and before that possibly even worked as sled dogs in the Arctic.
Recognised by the English Kennel Club in 1870, the Pomeranian really gained notoriety when Queen Victoria began breeding and showing them herself in the late 1880’s, around the time that the American Kennel Club also recognised the breed.
Although they were originally fairly large dogs, the Pomeranian today is far smaller than his ancestors and is now classified as one of the Toy breeds of dog.
The Pomeranian is sometimes referred to as a little lion. They have a pointed face and a small, very furry body. The Kennel Club described them as a compact, short-coupled dog. On average weighing just 2kg.
Their head is pointed and almost fox-like in shape, with a narrow muzzle and ears that sit erect. Their tail is high set, and hangs back straight out from their body. It is covered in a long spread of fur.
They may be small but they are energetic and bouncy little dogs, with a tendency to vocalise their thoughts in surprisingly loud barks and yaps.
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the Pomeranian is his coat. It is made up of a soft fluffy undercoat, covered by a long, straight and rough textured overcoat.
Their whole body is well furred with this long coat, which feathers around their legs and neck profusely.
They are commonly of a single colour only, but this can range from white through to orange, brown and black. The most iconic image of the Pomeranian is probably in that strong orange colour, which goes towards the image of the little lion.
How to Groom a 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 behaviour 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.
In the summer you may also want to consider having his coat clipped, as they can overheat in warmer climates.
Or reducing your walks to shady areas or cooler times of day.
Pomeranians have long coats, and at least once or twice a year you will need to deal with them heavily shedding this fur.
They can moult excessively, and due to the consistent need for grooming fluff floating around you house could be an issue all year around.
This said, provided you get into good habits with grooming your Pomeranian and clearing up after you do so, this 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.
The Pomeranian can certainly never be accused of being a boring dog. He is a real character packed into a tiny body, with plenty of love and loyalty to give his family.
Inclined to be bold, stubborn, tenacious and spirited, you will need to channel his intelligence with productive positive reinforcement training. Make sure that your lessons are short and fun, to prevent him getting bored or losing interest.
Help him to appreciate that you and your family are a source of fun, and 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.
When properly socialised from a young age they are inclined 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’ behaviours, which could get them into trouble with bigger more aggressive dogs out on walks.
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 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.
Are Pomeranians Friendly?
Pomeranians love the adults they live with. They are often very attentive and loyal, 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, as it will give your Pom a place of his own to retire to when he needs a break.
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 to protect their flock from poachers and predators, and these instincts remain in full despite their diminished stature.
Do Pomeranians 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.
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 adjacent 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, as he will make quite a racket when he sees something interesting, wants you attention or simply gets bored for a moment.
When you visit your potential Pomeranian puppy’s breeder, watch the mother’s reactions to you carefully. She will probably bark, but this should not be excessive or aggressive in nature. Once you have come into her home, she should greet you with a wagging tail and an easy manner, and the barking should abate.
Although they are vocal dogs by nature, to an extent it is possible to raise a puppy in such a way that his 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 good with children?
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. Whilst adults are usually able to see when a dog is giving warning signs of having been petted too long or too roughly, a young child could fail to notice 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, and could accidentally injure or even kill a frail Pom by trying to lift him, dropping him awkwardly or even patting him too hard.
If you have a Pomeranian puppy and young children, ensure that they are never left unsupervised together. Baby gates, crates and puppy pens will help you to manage them so that neither one is put in the position of being accidentally hurt by the other.
How do you Socialize a Pomeranian Puppy?
Due to their guarding natures, it is very important that you begin socialisation with your Pomerianian 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.
Invite lots of guests of different shapes, sizes and ages around to your house when the puppy is small, to get him used to people coming and going.
As small dogs, Pomeranians do not need a great deal of training by way of house manners. Unless you are particularly fastidious about that sort of thing, you will find it easy to walk your Pomeranian puppy using a harness and leash 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 the socialisation mentioned above, and 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 focussed in a fun and productive way, which will also help them to bond strongly to their owner and trainer.
Are Pomeranians Healthy?
Although Pomeranians are popular dogs, the quantity of registered pedigree Poms is actually fairly low. Their breed population size is noted by the Kennel Club as being low. This puts them at higher risk of genetic diseases than some other more prevalent breeds of dog because the gene pool is reduced.
There are a few health issues that you will need to be aware of and active against as a Pomeranian puppy owner.
Joint problems in Pomeranians
A fairly significant concern for Pomeranian owners is the luxating patellas, where the kneecap is not properly set at the joint and moves around. It is a fairly common condition amongst Pomeranians which can cause them to become lame or in pain. This is usually as a result of their conformation, something which they will have been born with and that 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 for this breed, and the potential for your puppy to suffer can be easily checked by looking at the parents’ hip and elbows scores, which should be as even and near to 0:0 as possible.
Eye Problems in Pomeranians
There are various eye problems that Pomeranian owners need to be aware of, including ectropion, dry eye, cataracts and distichiasis, where the eyelashes are over length and turned in.
Make sure your pup’s parents have clear eye health, and 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.
Ear problems in Pomeranians
Due to the excessive fur surrounding their ears, Poms can be prone to ear infections. Make sure you watch out for signs of discomfort such as scratching or head rubbing, and take him to the vet straight away to avoid it getting worse.
You can help to keep their ears healthy with regular ear cleaning.
Skin disorders in Pomeranians
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, and avoid using strong household chemicals around them as this could potentially exacerbate the problem.
Coat loss and resultant alopecia have also been seen in Pomeranians. Affected dogs will appear to have a normal coat as a puppy, but at some point in the first few years of their lives will lose the full 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!
Dental problems in Pomeranians
Pom owners frequently complain of their dogs developing dental issues. They are small dogs with a large number of teeth, and 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 Pomeranian from Injury
One of the leading health issues with our Toy breeds of dog 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 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.
You will need to protect your Pomeranian 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, 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.
Neurological conditions in Pomeranians
Hydrocephalus is a congenital condition that can occur in Pomeranians, where spinal fluid accumulates on the brain due to an inability to exit normally. This is usually related to an obstruction 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
Whilst doing in-depth research on this breed I have read a number of posts to Pomeranian websites, and was concerned to note several from Pom owners reporting symptoms that sound like those related to Syringomyelia. Namely 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.
My suspicions really concerned me so I expanded my search to include specifics on Syringomyelia in Pomeranians, and very sadly it came up trumps. There are a few people who have found cases of Syringomyelia in Pomeranians.
This Pomeranian website includes an interesting article identifying and pointing to research regarding the potential prevalence of this horrible condition in these little dogs. If you are thinking of getting a Pomeranian, give it a read and make you own mind up regarding the implications.
Health Testing for Pomeranians
Genetic testing is essential for helping to keep pedigree dog breeds healthy, and although it’s not yet known what the risks of a Pomeranian having Syringomyelia are, it sounds as though on some level they are definitely there. Syringomyelia is so devastating that I personally knowing this fact would not consider getting a puppy from a litter whose parents have not been tested as clear.
Falling in love with a puppy and finding out that he suffers from a dreadful yet avoidable disorder is unthinkable, and although you will have to hunt harder and longer to find a breeder who health screens, I believe you would be doing the right thing for your pup and the future of the breed by making this choice.
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. Noted as living on average 12 to 16 years.
The benefits of health screening for puppy parents cannot be mentioned too much, or stressed to furiously. If you want to buy a pedigree breed of dog, you must take the time to find a breeder who has adhered to all the recommended health tests and shown that their dogs have the best chance of producing fit and well puppies.
Take the time to find a healthy Pom puppy to share your life with and he will stay as your loyal companion for a considerable length of time. It will be well worth the effort.
What is the best way to buy a Pomeranian?
The best way to buy a Pomeranian puppy is from a breeder who focussed 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, and 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 and who focusses on only breeding from dogs who are friendly and confident.
A well bred, well socialised Pomeranian can be a charming and fun member of the family for many years.
Is a Pomeranian puppy right for me?
Pomeranian puppies are rising in popularity. Their small size and fabulous appearance are very appealing to a lot of people. They are fun and attentive, and will fit into almost any size of home.
They are perhaps best suited to adults who are both active and around most of the day.
Either able to bring their dog to work, or who work from home or are retired.
This will reduce a lot of the potential problems with separation anxiety and noise.
I would not recommend a Pomeranian to someone with small children. Nor would I recommend them to someone who is put off by a vocal dog.
If you are confident you can provide the right home for a Pom then you need to choose your pup with care.
Do not be tempted to pick the cheapest or most convenient litter. You may have to wait for several months to get a puppy from the right breeder, and to travel a long distance to visit him and pick him up.
You will then need to commit to dedicating yourself to high levels of socialisation for the first few weeks and months that he is with you. Exposing him to lots of new experiences, but keeping him safe from the potential harm of larger dogs or enthusiastic children in the outside world.
If you can do this you will have not only a very beautiful little dog, but a lovely, fun, loyal and charming companion for years to come.