The remarkable German Spitz has a smile worth a million dollars and the personality to match. By Dr Rob Zammit.
It’s believed the German Spitz descended from Samoyed-type dogs which journeyed across Northern Europe with the Vikings. As these dogs spread over Europe, they contributed to the development of the herding and shepherd breeds.
Evolving during the Middle Ages in northern Germany and Holland, the German Spitz acquired a double coat that protected him from the harsh climates. It is thought the Pomeranian was bred down from this breed.
Queen Victoria was also a lover of the German Spitz and it is sometimes known as the Victorian Pomeranian.
Compact & cute
With a soft woolly undercoat and long harsh outer coat, the German Spitz is covered in profuse hair except for the face, ears and legs. The high-set tail is covered in long, spreading hair and carried curled over the back.
With its independent and happy outlook on life, the German Spitz is a devoted family member. Lorraine McCahon, who has been breeding Mittel Spitz for many years, says the breed’s zest for life and fun can be infectious.
“Any time spent with a German Spitz is memorable as they love being with you, dancing at your feet when they see you,” she says. “They are happy dogs, full of life; there are always fun and memorable moments.”
Although not a guard dog, its watchful personality will alert its family of any visitors.
This compact breed is almost square in outline and its brisk, effortless movement makes it a joy to take for a walk. They do like to play so regular exercising is easy to arrange.
The head is typical Spitz type: wedge shaped with a nearly flat skull and small, high-set, triangular ears. The muzzle is about half the length of the head and pointed. The coat extends to an abundant frill round the shoulders and front legs.
As the German Spitz comes in a full colour range with any markings acceptable, all the pups in one litter can be different colours and choosing your particular preference can be a tough job.
A smiling Spitz
Like all Spitz breeds, the German Spitz is not trimmed but a thorough brushing and a regular bath keeps its coat healthy. A good brushing at least every second day is essential.
They have to be brushed right down to the skin in order to keep their coat from matting. Care must be taken of nails, teeth and ears but, other than that, this is an easy-to-care-for breed. Attention must be taken from puppyhood to introduce them to obedience training to allow them to fulfil their potential as good family members.
The German Spitz, regardless of size, makes an ideal family pet for people who want a small, active and alert, profusely coated breed. With its happy, independent outlook on life and devotion to its family, the German Spitz is more than happy to live with young and old alike.
At a glance
Grooming: 4 ticks out of 5
Exercise: 3 ticks out of 5
Size: Mittel 30-38cm; Klein 23-29cm
Lifespan: Up to 15 years