Japanese Spitz: Dog Facts, Breed Information and Care Advice

July 9th, 2017
Japanese Spitz

A cheerful and affectionate breed, the Japanese Spitz is known for its loyalty and devotion.

The Japanese Spitz is a relatively new breed and was only introduced to the UK and Ireland in 1976. Their origins are quite obscure, but they are known to have originated from the far north of America and were bred by American Eskimos. In 1923, a small group of Spitz were discovered among rescue cargo from Canada at the time of the great Japanese earthquake. The dogs were taken into care but it wasn’t really known what kind of Spitz they were, although it is presumed they were of the American Eskimo variety. They were then cross-bred during the 1930s with a breed called the Russian Spitz, which had been brought back to Japan by soldiers returning from service in Russian Manchuria. In this way, the Japanese Spitz as we know it today came into existence.

Although the Japanese Spitz is now well established, it is still a relatively unknown and rare dog in Australia. Elizabeth Chapman, a Japanese Spitz breeder from Victoria, shares some advice on the personality, energy level and care requirements of this fascinating breed.

Cheerful and affectionate

The Japanese Spitz is known to be a very cheerful and affectionate breed that requires a loving, enriched environment in which to thrive. It is well known for its loyalty and devotion to any loving home. This bold little dog makes a great watchdog and will alert owners when it feels it’s necessary. They are quite wary of strangers but will accept them once they are introduced by their owners. These dogs also get along wonderfully with children and other pets. As with all breeds, however, children should be supervised when playing with the dogs. Socialisation and training are a must from a young age to ensure a well-mannered and adjusted adult dog.

The Japanese Spitz is a family dog and thrives on human companionship. It will fit in with people in most situations as long as it receives plenty of love and affection. The Japanese Spitz does not adapt well to solitary life in a backyard and would prefer to be inside with the family. They enjoy being wherever you are and will normally attach themselves to one member of the family and be their every shadow. This loving breed can live quite happily indoors as long as it gets adequate exercise.

Active breed

Quite an active little breed, the Japanese Spitz enjoys a daily walk or run in the park, which will also help keep it fit and happy. It will benefit from a regular chance to run off leash in a safe area. This breed requires an average-size backyard that is fully fenced. Breeders also recommend regular exercise to stop these pooches from becoming bored and getting up to mischief. The Japanese Spitz is very intelligent and quite easy to train as long as you are consistent. They are eager to please and learn quite quickly. The breed also excels in agility, flyball and obedience and loves to play a game of fetch or Frisbee.

Despite its beautiful long, pure white coat, the Japanese Spitz is a low-maintenance breed. Its coat is very easy to look after due to its texture. Mud and dirt will fall off and can be brushed out very easily. A regular brush or comb is needed to keep the coat from matting, and will require a little extra brushing when shedding, which only occurs once a year.

Check for good bloodlines

The Japanese Spitz is quite a healthy breed but can suffer from patella luxation (slipping patella) and can also be prone to runny eyes, but this is rarely caused by any serious eye defect. Many of these issues have been eliminated due to good breeding practices. Ask your breeder about bloodlines as responsible breeders will try to reduce the chances of your Japanese Spitz developing inherited problems.

The lifespan of this breed ranges from between 12 to 15 years. If you have the time and dedication for one of these admirable dogs, you will have a proud and affectionate companion for many years.


Care and exercise
This alert and lively dog is happy to be exercised with a walk or a game of catch. It is not demanding as long as its family is in sight. With a thick double coat, this breed must be brushed on a regular basis. When the coat starts to shed, it can take a lot of brushing to remove the dead coat. It is not a clipped breed and good brushing, right down to the skin, is essential to keep this dog looking beautiful and healthy.


With his lively, affectionate nature and compact size, the Japanese Spitz is well suited to all ages in the family. Exercise requirements are not high and it is quite happy living in a small area. Be prepared to spend at least half an hour, every second day keeping its coat properly groomed.

This relatively rare breed but is becoming more widely known. Its gentle and alert nature makes it the perfect addition to many loving homes.

Like the look of the Samoyed but would like something more compact and not as much coat? The Japanese Spitz is the answer. This pure white dog with its profuse, stand-off coat knows it is as pretty as a picture and struts just to show off. Standing between 30cm and 36cm at the shoulder and weighing 7-10 kilos, it is an ideal size for a family pet or a personal companion. Although affectionate and friendly, it can be wary of strangers and this makes it a good watch-dog.

The Japanese Spitz is said to be the first breed to receive official recognition in Japan as a purebred. This dainty dog has a characteristic Spitz-type pointed muzzle, small, round, black nose and dark almond eyes with black rims. Its triangular ears peek out from its mane which covers neck, shoulders and chest. Its tail is curled over the back and is covered in long hair. Face, ears and lower legs are covered in short hair.

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