German Spitz vs. Pomeranian: Breed Differences & Similarities

The German Spitz and the Pomeranian share the same ancestry, descending from larger sled-pulling Arctic breeds they date back almost 6,000 years, and their history has been intertwined ever since. These guys originate from Germany where they were both traditionally used as herding and watch dogs, and although they are now more commonly found in family homes, they still make for a great watch dog with their piercing barking.

At a quick glance, the German Spitz and the Pomeranian are similar looking pups, however, upon closer inspection they are quite different in their appearance. Their temperament is very similar, as are most of the other factors surrounding them both. Let’s take a closer look at what those differences are and get into the finer details.

Breed Comparison Chart

 
German Spitz
Pomeranian
Height
12 – 15 inches (M & F)
6 - 7 inches (M & F)
Weight
24 – 26 pounds (M & F)
3 - 7 pounds (M&F)
Temperament
Devoted, Lively, Attentive
Inquisitive, Bold, Lively
Energy
Moderate
Moderate
Health
Average
Average
Grooming
Daily Brushing
Daily Brushing
Lifespan
13 - 15 years
12-16 years
Price
$800+
$1,000+

History Comparison

The word ‘Spitz’ is an umbrella term used to describe many breeds of dogs who are stocky with heavy coats, who have erect ears and usually a pluming tail that carries up their back. Pomeranian is a direct descendant, or even just a ‘toy’ version of the German Spitz, and as such their history is closely entwined.

German Spitz

The German Spitz was first documented in the 15th Century in the area of Pomerania, and there they were used as farming watch dogs by the poorer members of society. It was in the 18th Century that his popularity boomed thanks to visiting royal nobles who took a fancy to him. George I, King of England during the 18th Century, had a German wife who was a big fan of the breed, as were all of her visiting friends who also brought their Spitz’s with them too.

It is important to note that there are officially five types of German Spitz breeds:

  • Wolfspitz / Keeshond
  • Grossespitz / Giant
  • Mittel Spitz / Medium
  • Klein Spitz / Miniature
  • Toy Spitz / Pomeranian

In this article we will be referring to the Mittel Spitz, or the medium sized Spitz, as this is what most people think of when they are referring to a ‘German Spitz’. The German Spitz population suffered a massive decline in numbers after World War I, but by breeding the Keeshond with the Pomeranian, fanciers revived the Mittel’s numbers once again. The German Spitz is a relatively new breed to America, and as such he is currently in the Foundation Stock Service Program, which allows rarer breeds to establish full recognizable status within the American Kennel Club (AKC). Because of this he does not have a popularity rating to compare with the Pomeranian, and is much rarer in America.

Additionally, the AKC, the United Kennel Club  and the Canadian Kennel Club are the only major clubs in the world that recognize the American Eskimo Dog as a separate breed, many other kennel clubs see him as the same German Spitz breed. It is believed by some that this separation was due to anti-German sentiment, and the renaming of many German breeds. If you like the German Spitz, be sure to check him out too as they are also very similar, if not the same, but that is a discussion for another day!

Pomeranian

The Pomeranian’s name was taken from the province in Germany in which they were popular. It is believed that famous individual’s, such as Michaelango, favored the smallest Spitz dogs, and Isaac Newton had a Pomeranian who is said to have eaten many of his manuscripts. Just like the German Spitz, the Pomeranian became popular in the 18th Century with English Royalty, but the Pomeranian’s back then were much bigger and not as popular with the masses. This changed when Queen Victoria I stumbled across a 12 pound Pomeranian in Italy, and it then became her life-long pastime to create much smaller Pomeranians, and eventually he was refined to the size that we know of today.

Since then the Pomeranian with his smaller toy stature became an instant hit across the world, and the first Pomeranian to be entered into the AKC was in 1888. He is currently ranked as the 23rd most popular breed in America. The Pomeranian is also known as the Zwergspitz in many European countries.

Appearance Comparison

The German Spitz and the Pomeranian are small sized pups, with the Pomeranian being the toy version. The German Spitz measures 12 to 15 inches from paw to shoulder, in both males and females, whereas the Pomeranian measures only 6 to 7 inches, again in both males and females. The German Spitz will weigh 24 to 26 pounds whereas the Pomeranian will weigh a tiny 3 to 7 pounds, again both weights are the same for both males and females in both breeds. As you can see from the numbers, the German Spitz can be up to two times taller and weigh up to three times more than the Pomeranian.

After the significant size difference, the second biggest difference between them is their coat. They both have double coats which enabled them to keep warm whilst watching their herds and farms in Germany. However, the German Spitz’s under coat is soft and fluffy, and his outer coat is coarser and straighter. Whereas the Pomeranian’s undercoat is short and dense, with his outer coat being finer longer fur, which gives him his fuzzball appearance, more so than the German Spitz. If you were to wet the fur of both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian, you would see just how much bigger the German Spitz is compared to the Pomeranian.  The Poms come in many different colors, including black.

The German Spitz’s tail is slightly curled to one side, whereas the Pomeranian has a heavily plumed tail that is set high and sits flat against his back. The Pomeranian has 18 standard colors that are recognized, whereas the German Spitz has just 8 recognized colors.

They also have different shaped heads and muzzles. The German Spitz has a much longer muzzle that is ½ of his skull, whereas the Pomeranian has a much shorter muzzle that is 1/3 of his skull. The German Spitz’s ears are triangle shaped that are erect and always visible, compared to the Pomeranian’s that are also erect, but they often disappear in his fluffy mane.

Full details of the German Spitz’s breed standards are listed by the Federation Cynologique Internationale, and the Pomeranian’s breed standards are listed by the AKC.

Temperament Comparison

Despite their differing appearance they have a similar temperament. They are both little pocket rockets, who are lively and bouncy for hours on end. They are constantly on the go, and because of this you need to be with them for most of the day, either entertaining them or having a cuddle, or if you do have to leave them for extended periods of time then it is imperative that you leave them with something to do. Their little legs might not need the exercise, but their brain rarely stops to rest.

They are both very sociable and inquisitive dogs who will want to be friends with everyone. They are also very affectionate with their family and will love to spend the afternoon napping on your lap. They also enjoy the company of children, but due to both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian’s small size, it is imperative to teach them how to handle a small dog properly, because they are a lot more delicate than children think.

Because of their watchdog past they are very barky, and they have definitely not lost this trait. This is great if you are after a cute canine that will alert you to everything, but if you aren’t that tolerant of barking, or you live somewhere with noise restrictions, then neither of these guys are for you. For this reason, whilst they are generally happy with other dogs, their response will either be to yap because they are excited, or they will yap because they are challenging their fellow comrades. Their fearless challenges are often what causes them to be injured by other dogs who aren’t familiar with these little guys getting in their faces.

Exercise Comparison

Both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian are firecrackers, just like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, they bounce all day long! They are considered to be medium energy dogs, and need up to 30 minutes of active exercise a day, this can consist of two walks a day, as long as you are also entertaining them both throughout the day, or they can entertain themselves in the garden. They both need a considerable amount of exercise for a small dog, so do not expect a lapdog out of these guys, for both can be quite the destructive devil if they want to be!

Training Comparison

As with any dog, it is important to socialize these guys as early as possible. Not only does this increase your chances of having a well-mannered adult pooch, but it also means that they are comfortable in many different situations. Whilst they are not timid in any sense of the word, their small size often makes the world much larger and scarier, and socialization shapes them into the dogs that they should be; fearless and vivacious.

Although some view his high-pitched bark as cute, he should be trained to stop barking on command. Not only can it become tiresome after a while, but it also prevents him picking fights with the bigger dogs, which will in turn prevent him from getting into any trouble. Be sure to read up on bark training with these little guys.

Health Comparison

Both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian are generally healthy dogs, with a long lifespan. Because the German Spitz is a relatively new breed in America, there is little information to suggest exactly what tests are recommended for him, but as he suffers from similar problems as the Pomeranian, it is a safe bet for his parent’s to have the same recommended health evaluations:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

The American Pomeranian Club have listed his health details in more detail on their website.

Nutrition Comparison

The German Spitz will eat slightly more at around 2 cups of food a day, whereas the Pomeranian will eat around 1 to 1 ½ cups a day. As with any dog, giving him top-quality kibble is the easiest way to enhance his health.

Grooming Comparison

Both the German Spitz and the Pomeranian need brushing everyday to ensure that his hair is kept tangle free, as well as assisting in the management of his shedding and fuzzy hair. Neither of them needs to be bathed regularly, just so long as it is not more than once every 6 weeks, you should be bathe them as and when they need a general spruce! Dental cleaning should be made a priority with these small guys, as their small jaws increase their chances of experiencing dental health problems. Brushing them several times a week will be adequate.

Price Comparison

With the German Spitz being quite rare in America, there is little demand for them compared to the Pomeranian. Whilst there is little information on the price of a German Spitz, it would appear that the average is $800+, which is much less compared to the cost of a Pomeranian, which is anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000.

Final Thoughts

The German Spitz and the Pomeranian are similar in their feisty and life-loving temperament, and despite appearing to look similar, they are quite different when you get down to the finer details. These guys are not your average small dog, they require moderate exercise and need specific training to ensure that they do not get too arrogant, so you must research them if you are considering welcoming one of these little guys into your home.

They share ancestry and history, and as such their similar traits almost go hand in hand. Whatever their differences, they are both adorable small fluff balls that are full of energy and fun. So, if it’s a small dog with a big character that you are after, then these guys are exactly that!

Leave a Comment