Which breed group is the German Spitz in?
Breed group: Utility
German Spitz breed history
Fossilised remains suggest that European Spitz-type dogs date back to the early stone age. The German Spitz is an ancestor of the chow chow and Akita and would have been kept by hunter-gatherers. Thousands of years ago, the northern plains of Germany were swampy marshes which eventually turned into peat bogs. The Remains of Spitz dogs have been found in these bogs. Later, Nordic herding dogs arrived with the Vikings and these are also ancestors of today’s Spitz dogs. Fast forward to the 18th century and the dogs were developed in several areas of Germany and this resulted in regional variations. The dogs would accompany carriages and guard them at night but eventually became popular as companions.
When James I ascended to the English throne, his German wife received visitors from her homeland who bought Spitz dogs with them. They soon became very fashionable with the English nobility. In Victorian times, smaller examples of the dogs were developed and these became known as Pomeranians. The popularity of the breed declined in the UK during World War I when all German breeds feel out of favour due to the hostilities.
Today, the breed is divided into two types – the Spitz klein (small) and the Spitz mittel (medium).
German Spitz breed characteristics
The German Spitz is a compact dog with a square look when viewed in profile. These dogs possess broad heads with virtually flat skulls, long muzzles and usually black noses. Their oval eyes are set obliquely, and their triangular ears are set high. Spitz dogs boast strong back legs and small, cat-like feet. Their tails are set high and are carried curled but not over the dogs’ backs. The double coats can be a variety of colours and are made up of a woolly undercoat and coarser topcoat. Hair around the necks of Spitz dogs forms distinctive frills and their legs are feathered.
Notable for its friendly nature, the German Spitz builds strong bonds with people and is a fun-loving dog with an independent streak.
- Lifespan: 14-18 years
- Height: up to 29cm (klein)
- Height: up to 38cm (mittel)
- Weight: up to 8kg (klein)
- Weight: up to 11kg (mittel)
- Strong back legs
- Tails carried curled
- Double coats in a variety of colours
- Fur forms a frill around the neck
Health issues with the German Spitz
These robust little dogs tend to enjoy long lives but can suffer from the following conditions:
- Retinal dysplasia (RD)
- Multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRD)
- Persistent pupillary membranes (PPM)
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Patella Luxation (slipping stifle)
- Mouth and dental issues
What is the Garman Spitz bred for?
With such a long history, the German Spitz has been bred for a variety of purposes across the centuries including hunting, guarding and companionship. These days, the dogs are popular pets and perform well in show rings.
What sort of owners does the German Spitz suit?
Friendly and people-orientated, the German Spitz is a wonderful pet. Its sense of fun is hugely engaging, and you have to love the charisma of these memorable dogs. They are rarely aggressive and love to be involved with family life. However, they do require rigorous training if they are to be completely obedient. If inadequately trained, they can become very vocal which is problematic for owners living in apartments. A garden with a secure fence is a must for the German Spitz to be truly happy and well-behaved.
The German Spitz is great with children and ideal for family life. The dogs usually get on fine with other pets and shed only moderately but their coats need plenty of grooming. Their cute appearance and relatively small size belie the fact that they are active outdoor dogs that need a generous amount of exercise in order to thrive. They can be noisy and destructive when bored and so suit owners who can spend time walking and entertaining them.
This dog is ideal for households where at least one person is at home all day and who can devote time to their pet. The dogs are good choices for first-time owners as long as they are prepared for a furry friend that will take over their lives.