Pomeranian

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Pomeranian

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Introduction

The Pomeranian, also known as the Zwergspitz and commonly called the Pom, descends from spitz-type sled dogs of Iceland. Despite its present diminutive size, the Pomeranian originally was used as a sheep-herding dog and was much larger than it is today, weighing up to 30 pounds. This vivacious and extroverted little dog is one of the most favored of all toy breeds, both in the show ring and at home. They are known for their tiny size and abundant coat. Poms are excellent watch dogs and home protectors. They are especially good with children and the elderly. To its fanciers, the Pomeranian is the ideal companion, suitable for any urban or rural household. The Pomeranian was accepted into the Toy Group of the American Kennel Club in 1888.
Pomeranians have a dense, double coat, which requires regular attention. They typically weigh between 3 and 7 pounds, with the ideal weight for the show ring being 4 to 6 pounds. The average adult Pom is between 7 and 12 inches at the withers. All colors are accepted in this breed.

History & Health

History

The Pomeranian was not well known until about 1870, when The Kennel Club (England) first recognized the breed. In 1888, on a trip to France, Queen Victoria became enamored by a Pomeranian named Marco, and brought him back with her to England. As legend has it, Queen Victoria wanted her favorite dog, a Pom named Turi, to be with her when she died. Turi was with Victoria when she died in 1901. Other enthusiasts of the breed include Marie Antoinette, Amadeus Mozart and Emile Zola.
The Pomeranian was shown in the Miscellaneous Class of the American Kennel Club as far back as 1888. They were accepted for full registration in 1900, as a member of the Toy Group. The American Pomeranian Club held its first specialty show in 1911. Today's Pom excels not only in the conformation show ring, but also in obedience, agility and other performance disciplines.

Health

The average life span of the Pomeranian is 13 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include collapsing trachea, hypothyroidism, elbow luxation, shoulder luxation, patellar luxation, hydrocephalus, entropion, cataracts, generalized progressive retinal atrophy, cryptorchidism and patent ductus arteriosus.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

Pomeranians weigh about five pounds but they have the personalities of something a lot larger. They are curious dogs, alert and interested in everything that is going on around them. Often, their favorite spot at home is perched on a windowsill where they can take in as much neighborhood action as they can, barking often to let you know that someone is walking by. They love to be the center of attention, and have been known to behave mischievously in order to garner the attention they crave. Poms are very well suited for active seniors who can devote all of their time and energy to their dog.

Activity Requirements

Pomeranians can live happily in homes of all sizes. They are small enough to live in apartments or condos, but active enough to flourish in a large home. They should be walked daily to burn off energy, and this helps maintain temperament. They enjoy running, so some yard time every week will be welcome.
Poms need to keep their minds active. They are smart dogs and if left to their own devices will get into mischief, so to keep them happy many owners enroll their Pomeranians in agility training to keep both mind and body in tip top shape.

Trainability

Poms are notoriously difficult to train. They like to be the boss and don't take kindly to someone telling them what to do. They are stubborn, bossy, manipulative and require gentle but firm leadership. It can be easy to back off of training because they are so small and they can charm the pants off even the most heard-hearted trainer, but consistency is the key to training. Poms don't have to be unruly; they can be trained and socialized to be well-mannered. Food is an excellent motivational tool, as is lots of happy, exuberant praise. Keep training sessions short, but never let your Pom decide when it's time to pack it in.
Early socialization is also important in raising a well-mannered Pomeranian. They are naturally standoffish around strangers, and this can easily get out of hand and become fearfulness or even aggression. You must teach your Pom as a puppy that new people, new animals, and new situations are exciting adventures.
Once leadership is established and basic obedience has been mastered, Poms can do well on the agility course. They are spry little dogs who like to use their brains, and while they can be stubborn they will eat up the extra bonding time with you, and will enjoy the physical exercise.

Behavioral Traits

Pomeranians are not recommended for families with small children. They are possessive of their toys and food and can snap or bite toddlers who do not understand how to respect a dog's boundaries. They demand a lot of attention and can become resentful of children who may take the focus away from them.
It can be easy to shelter a Pomeranian because of their tiny size, but sheltering your Pom is not a good idea. Over-sheltered Pomeranians can become very high strung. It is important to give your Pomeranian independence. Let him walk on a leash rather than tote him around in a bag and socialize him around people and other animals so that he knows how to greet and be greeted with proper manners.
Pomeranians bark at everything and everybody and it can be difficult to train this tendency out of them. Socialization and proper exercise can help, but the consensus among Pom owners is that this is a yappy dog and patience is required to own one.

Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE
The Pomeranian is a compact, short-backed, active toy dog of Nordic descent. The double coat consists of a short dense undercoat with a profuse harsh-textured longer outer coat. The heavily plumed tail is one of the characteristics of the breed. It is set high and lies flat on the back. He is alert in character, exhibits intelligence in expression, is buoyant in deportment, and inquisitive by nature. The Pomeranian is cocky, commanding, and animated as he gaits. He is sound in composition and action.

SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE
Weight – is from3 to 7 pounds with the ideal weight for show specimens being 4 to 6 pounds. Any dog over or under the limits is objectionable; however, overall quality should be favored over size. Proportion – The Pomeranian is a square breed with a short back. The ratio of body length to height at the withers being 1 to 1. These proportions are measured from the prosternum to the point of buttocks, and from the highest point of the withers to the ground. Substance – Sturdy, medium-boned.

HEAD
Head - in balance with the body, when viewed from above, broad at the back tapering to the nose to form a wedge. Expression – may be referred to as fox-like, denoting his alert and intelligent nature. Eyes – dark, bright, medium sized, and almond shaped; set well into the skull with the width between the eyes balancing the other facial features. Eye rims are black, except self-colored in chocolate, beaver and blue. Ears - small, mounted high and carried erect. Proper ear set should be favored over size. Skull - closed, slightly round but not domed. Stop - well pronounced. Muzzle – rather short, straight, free of lippiness, neither coarse nor snipey. Ratio of length of muzzle to skull is 1/3 to 2/3. Nose - pigment is black except self-colored in chocolate, beaver and blue. Bite - scissors, one tooth out of alignment is acceptable. Major Faults - Round, domed skull. Undershot, overshot or wry bite. Disqualification – Eye(s) light blue, blue marbled, blue flecked.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY
Neck - set well into the shoulders with sufficient length to allow the head to be carried proud and high. Topline - level from withers to croup. Body - compact and well-ribbed. Chest - oval tapered extending to the point of elbowswith apronounced prosternum. Back - short-coupled, straight and strong. Loin - short with slight tuck-up. Croup is flat. Tail - heavily plumed, set high and lies flat and straight on the back. Major Fault - Low tail set.

FOREQUARTERS
Shoulders – well laid back. Shoulder blade and upper arm length are equal.Elbows - held close to the body and turn neither in nor out. Legs – when viewed from the front are moderately spaced, straight and parallel to each other, set well behind the forechest. Height from withers to elbows approximately equals height from ground to elbow. Shoulders and legs are moderately muscled. Pasterns –straight and strong. Feet- round, tight, appearing cat-like, well-arched, compact, and turn neither in nor out, standing well up on toes. Dewclaws– may be removed. Major Fault - Down in pasterns.

HINDQUARTERS
Hindquarters – angulation balances that of the forequarters. Buttocks are well behind the set of the tail. Thighs - moderately muscled. Upper thigh and lower leg length are equal. Stifles - strong, moderately bent and clearly defined. Legs - when viewed from the rear straight and parallel to each other. Hocks – when viewed from the side are perpendicular to the ground and strong. Feet –same as forequarters. Dewclaws– may be removed. Major Fault - Cowhocks, knees turning in or out or lack of soundness in legs or stifles.

COAT
The Pomeranian is a double-coated breed. The body should be well covered with a short, dense undercoat with long harsh-textured guard hair growing through, forming the longer abundant outer coat which stands off from the body. The coat should form a ruff around the neck, framing the head, extending over the shoulders and chest. Head and leg coat is tightly packed and shorter in length than that of the body. Forelegs are well-feathered. Thighs and hind legs are heavily coated to the hock forming a skirt. Tail is profusely covered with long, harsh spreading straight hair forming a plume. Females may not carry as thick or long a coat as a male. Puppy coat may be dense and shorter overall and may or may not show guard hair. A cotton type coat is undesirable in an adult. Coat should be in good and healthy condition especially the skirt, tail, and undercarriage. Trimming for neatness and a clean outline is permissible. Major Fault – soft, flat or open coat.

COLOR
All colors, patterns, and variations there-of are allowed and must be judged on an equal basis.

Brindle–Dark cross stripes on any solid color or allowed pattern. Parti– White base with any solid color or allowed pattern. A white blaze is preferred on the head. Ticking is undesirable. Extreme Piebald: White with patches of color on head and base of tail. Piebald: White with patches of color on head, body, and base of tail. Irish: Color on the head and body with white legs, chest and collar. Tan Points – Any solid color or allowed pattern with markings sharply defined above each eye, inside the ears, muzzle, throat, forechest, all lower legs and feet, the underside of the tail and skirt. The richer the tan the more desirable. Tan markings should be readily visible.

Major Fault – Distinct white on whole foot or on one or more whole feet (except white or parti) on any acceptable color or pattern.

Classifications –The Open Classes at specialty shows may be divided by color as follows: Open Red, Orange, Cream, and Sable; Open Black, Brown, and Blue; Open Any Other Color, Pattern, or Variation

GAIT
The Pomeranian's movement has good reach in the forequarters and strong drive with the hindquarters, displaying efficient, ground covering movement that should never be viewed as ineffective or busy. Head carriage should remain high and proud with the overall outline maintained. Gait is smooth, free, balanced and brisk. When viewed from the front and rear while moving at a walk or slow trot the Pomeranian should double track, but as the speed increases the legs converge slightly towards a center line. The forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in nor out. The topline should remain firm and level with the overall balance maintained.

TEMPERAMENT
The Pomeranian is an extrovert, exhibiting great intelligence and a vivacious spirit, making him a great companion dog as well as a competitive show dog.

Even though a Toy dog, the Pomeranian must be subject to the same requirements of soundness and structure prescribed for all breeds, and any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

Disqualifications
Eye(s) light blue, blue marbled, blue flecked.

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