The forerunners of today’s Pomeranian breed were large working dogs from the Arctic regions. These dogs are commonly known as the Wolfspitz or Spitz type, which is German for “sharp point” which was the term originally used by Count Eberhard zu Sayn in the 16th century as a reference to the features of the dog’s nose and muzzle. The Pomeranian is considered to be descended from the German Spitz.
The breed is thought to have acquired its name by association with the area known as Pomerania which is located in northern Poland and Germany along the Baltic Sea. Although not the origin of the breed, this area is credited with the breeding which led to the original Pomeranian type of dog. Proper documentation was lacking until the breed’s introduction into the United Kingdom.
An early modern recorded reference to the Pomeranian breed is from 2 November 1764, in a diary entry in James Boswell’s Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland. “The Frenchman had a Pomeranian dog named Pomer whom he was mighty fond of.” The offspring of a Pomeranian and a wolf bred by an animal merchant from London is discussed in Thomas Pennant’s A Tour in Scotland from 1769.
Two members of the British Royal Family influenced the evolution of the breed. In 1767, Queen Charlotte, Queen-consort of King George III of England, brought two Pomeranians to England.
Named Phoebe and Mercury, the dogs were depicted in paintings by Sir Thomas Gainsborough. These paintings depicted a dog larger than the modern breed, reportedly weighing as much as 30–50 lb (14–23 kg), but showing modern traits such as the heavy coat, ears and a tail curled over the back.
Red Sable Pomeranian
Queen Victoria, Queen Charlotte’s granddaughter, was also an enthusiast and established a large breeding kennel. One of her favoured dogs was a comparatively small red sable Pomeranian which she possibly named “Windsor’s Marco” and was reported to weigh only 12 lb (5.4 kg). When she first exhibited Marco in 1891, it caused the smaller-type Pomeranian to become immediately popular and breeders began selecting only the smaller specimens for breeding. During her lifetime, the size of the Pomeranian breed was reported to have decreased by 50%. Queen Victoria worked to improve and promote the Pomeranian breed by importing smaller Pomeranians of different colours from various European countries to add to her breeding program. Royal owners during this period also included Joséphine de Beauharnais, the wife of Napoleon I of France, and King George IV of England.
Pomeranians are typically friendly, lively and playful. They can be aggressive with other dogs and humans to try to prove themselves.Pomeranians are alert and aware of changes in their environment, and barking at new stimuli can develop into a habit of barking excessively in any situation. They are somewhat defensive of their territory and thus may bark when they hear outside noises. Pomeranians are intelligent, respond well to training, and can be very successful in getting what they want from their owners. They are extroverted and enjoy being the center of attention, but they can become dominant, willful and stubborn if not well trained and socialized.The use of toys can be an effective tool in training Pomeranians to spend time alone.
Pomeranian Puppy Health
The life expectancy of a Pomeranian is 12 to 16 years. A well-bred dog on a good diet with appropriate exercise will have few health problems; and, if kept trim and fit, a Pomeranian is a sturdy dog. The breed does have similar health issues to many dog breeds, although some issues such as hip dysplasia are uncommon because of the Pomeranian’s lightweight build. Some health issues can develop as a result of lack of attention to grooming and teeth-, ear-, and eye-cleaning. With routine care, these problems can be avoided. They are prone to early tooth loss, and dry food is recommended. Poms are one of the breeds with the smallest average litter size, with various sources giving numbers of between 1.9 and 2.7 puppies per litter.
The Pomeranian has been among the more popular dog breeds in the United States, featuring consistently in the top 20 of registered AKC dog breeds since at least 1998, when it was ranked #10; the breed was #17 in the 2011 rankings, dropping two spots from the previous year. In 2012 and 2013 it remained in the top twenty and was ranked at #19. In 2015, the breed fell to #21, falling further to #22 in both 2016 and 2017.