It is the most primitive and oldest dog breed that originated from the central part of Europe. Spitz’s first relevance was found in 1450 when Germany’s Count Eberhard Zu Sayn noticed that this breed was a courageous guardian of the fields and home. Early associates of this kind were seen in Pomerania, a significant part of Poland and Germany.
Spitz is small in size, but they have a very sharp voice, due to which the fisherman and traders carried with themselves as watchdogs of their items. In farms, their sharp sound was used as the first warning of strangers. They usually sit up high and utilize their high pitched bark if they find and suspicious. In Germany, Spitz is called as mistbeller which means dung hill barkers.
Countrymen’s dog, Spitz, got popular with the upper class and with the royalty of England when George I acquired the throne in the 18th century. The king and his wife had innumerable German visitors who also brought Spitz with them. Queen Victoria and Queen Charlotte also became devoted lovers of this dog during their time.
World War I beginning saw a swift decline of this breed, but the breed made a comeback not before 1975 when Keeshonds were brought from Holland and raised to bigger Pomeranians.
FCI, largest international federation of Kennel clubs, sees the breed to be a family member of Toy Splitz/Pomeranian (smallest) and Wolfspitz/Keeshond (most massive) with German Spitz size in the middle. Hence, the history is interlinked with these two breeds.
- German Spitz Klein (or the Miniature Spitz)
- Grobspitz (or the Large/Giant Spitz)
- German Spitz Mittel (or the Standard/Medium Spitz, including the American Eskimo Dog)
- Zwergspitz (or the Dwarf/Toy Spitz/Pomeranian)
- Wolfsspitz or Keeshond
Temperament & Personality
Words like energetic and fun loving characterize German Spitz, it makes its family members laugh with its humorous activities. It is an excellent family companion which is always willing to delight its people. It has an independent as well as mischief nature, which can become troublesome when they are merged.
However, they are lovable and friendlier towards its family members but are shy and suspicious of unknown people. They go well with other household pets like cats and dogs. But some dogs can have a chasing instinct and might chase small animals. Socializing during puppy days can make them an ideal playmate for children. But their interaction requires supervision.
They are active, but moderate activity levels will be sufficient for them. But more extended activity is essential, taking them for long walks, jogs will make them happy. Providing an adequately fenced yard for exercising or playing is advisable as they tend to escape away from small holes. A fenced pond is safe for this breed. Indoor activities like chasing a ball rolled on the floor, hide and seek, teaching new tricks is also a part of the exercise. If they live a condo life, small walks in hallways will suffice.
Their mischievousness makes them do something or the other all day and providing them with toys and chews will keep them busy. Don’t make them too bored, if they have nothing to do the entire day, they will develop odd behaviors or might become destructive.
German Spitz has a double coat that sheds twice a year. The complete undercoat sheds within 2-3 weeks, and it requires regular brushing to remove its dead furs and knots. Rest of the year it sheds minimally and during this time brushing their coat twice a week will suffice to prevent knots and mats. They have natural oils in their coat and clipping their furs entirely will remove insulating properties from the coat. They do not require frequent bathing, bathe them when they are incredibly filthy.
Their ears are prone to ear infections due to water, dirt buildup and need regular checking to prevent infections and pain. Clean their ears with Vet prescribed ear solution. Also, brush their teeth to keep up with their oral health and clip their nails when they overgrow to prevent cracking.
- Retinal Dysplasia
- Persistent Pupillary Membrane
- Patellar Luxation
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Physical Examination
- Eye Examination
Random vet visits can reduce the chances of these problems. Also, buying a puppy from a responsible breeder can also reduce the risks.
Their eagerness to please attitude makes the training process easy. However, if they are forced to do anything they do not do well. They tend to bark at anything, something that is unusual or new, which needs to be minimized by training. They are natural watchdogs which make them vocal, but they should be trained in a way so that it does not become a problem.
Socialization at an early age will make them comfortable with strangers. Taking them to busy streets and parks will allow them to face new situations and make them cheerful with unknown people. Do not take single route every day try different routes and will enable them to meet new people every day.
Obedience training is crucial to prevent the pack of the leader issues. Additionally, commands training like no, sit, yes, stand, go, etc will polish their behavior and also improve the relationship between the owner and the pet. Positive reinforcements like treats and pats will make them learn quickly. Keep the session positive, short, relaxed and in variety to prevent boredom.
German Spitz does well on highly nutritious and well-balanced diet. However, 1-2 cups of dry food every day will suffice its energy requirements. For better digestion divide meals into two halves. Owners can also opt for raw food diet. Consult a dietician or a vet for a proper diet chart.