Is the German Spitz the right breed for me?

The German Spitz is an intelligent and lively breed; originally they were companion and watchdogs. Developed from the larger European Spitz they are miniature versions of the Keeshond and the Wolf spitz. They were known as Pomeranians originally and became popular in the UK during the 18th century. Miniaturised by the Victorians into the very small and highly popular Pomeranians that are seen today. In the late 1970s a few individuals began the move to reintroduce the original slightly bigger spitz from the continent, they were recognised by the Kennel Club in 1985.

There are two sizes recognised by the Kennel Club. The Klein (23-29cms / 9-11.5ins) The Mittel (30-38cms / 12-15ins) The two sizes have only been separated for a few years in the UK and occasionally a Klein sized puppy will appear in a Mittel litter and visa versa. They come in a wide variety of colours, from snow white to jet-black, cream, gold, black and tan, sable (black hairs over a lighter colour) and chocolate.

German Spitz can make marvelous pets, but they are not suitable for everyone. They are a lively intelligent breed but can have a streak of independence and can be noisy if they are not taught otherwise. They have a profuse double coat, which moults twice a year and needs regular care. They do not need an excessive amount of exercise but will quite happily keep up on long walks, keeping that lively and intelligent mind occupied is important to prevent boredom with its associated problems. They learn quickly and love to please their owners and with good training can excel at mini agility heelwork to music and obedience. They are not usually a destructive breed but as with all breeds, if they are bored by being left all day with nothing to do, it may make them more inclined to bark excessively or chew on things they shouldn't. They are generally a lively and happy breed, and if raised properly and correctly socialised they will happily mix with other people and dogs. They are very intelligent and learn easily and quickly with motivational methods of training, they do not respond well to being made to do things. If you want a breed that gives 100% obedience then maybe another breed would be best for you.

Compared to some other breeds they are pretty healthy. There have been some cases of eye diseases such as PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and RD (Retinal Dysplasia)(Click here for more information), puppies should only be bought from breeders who eye test their breeding stock, there is no excuse for not having this done. There have been occasional cases of patella luxation (slipping kneecap)(Click here for more information), there is no official test for patella luxation in the UK but affected adults should never be bred from.

Before deciding to buy a German Spitz Puppy there are a few things to consider.

Lost in a sea of hairHair? In common with most of the Spitz breeds, German Spitz �blow� their coat twice a year, the entire undercoat comes out over about two or three weeks, the dog will need to be brushed daily to remove the old coat, and you will have hair on your clothes, furniture and carpets. On the plus side, unlike a lot of other breeds during the rest of the year hair loss is minimal. Although they do have a heavy coat they don�t need as much grooming as some other breeds, a quick brush every two days or so and a thorough brush out once a week is normally adequate to keep the coat in good condition and prevent mats and knots developing. The only exception to this is the twice-yearly coat moult where the entire undercoat comes out over the course of a few weeks, during this time daily brushing is advised to remove the old coat and encourage the new coat to come through. You will be very surprised to see how much hair can come off such a small dog! Keeping them cool in the summer is just a matter of giving them somewhere cool and shaded to rest in, plenty of water and not letting them race around during the hottest part of the day. Their coat should never be clipped off as this can actually make them hotter by removing the insulating properties of the coat. They do not need to be bathed very often; even mud will brush out of the coat if allowed to dry first.

PupsWell behaved children? Children MUST be taught that the puppy is not a toy. Although not a �fragile� breed the German Spitz is a small breed and can easily be injured by rough handling, being trodden on or fallen on by a toddler. As is often said �It�s not how good the German Spitz is with children but how good your children are with dogs�

Noise? The German Spitz can be very vocal; their first reaction to anything new or unusual is to bark especially if this is allowed to become a habit. The barking can be reduced with training but this must be taken into consideration if you have neighbours. You have to remember that this breed is descended from dogs used as watchdogs, their usual first reaction to anything new or alarming is to bark, they are excellent watchdogs. This tendency to bark should not be allowed to become a problem.

AgilityTime? The intelligence of the German Spitz makes them a charming and lively breed that can excel at canine activities like mini agility and obedience, but it also means that they need mental stimulation and like to be kept occupied. As with all dogs, they should not be left on their own all day, this can cause boredom and could result in barking and destructive behaviour. Have you got the time to spend with the dog, training, playing and walking?

Safe and secure garden? The curiosity of the breed means that you MUST have a secure garden with good fencing, they can squeeze out of the smallest gaps and holes in search of adventure. Ponds are a hazard and must be fenced off to prevent puppies getting access.

A home for life? The German Spitz can live for 12 to 15 years old. Can you offer a permanent home to a dog for that length of time? No one knows what the future holds, marriage, divorce, new babies, illness; many dogs end up in rescue when they get caught up in these situations. If the worst happens and you need to re home your dog it is VERY important that you contact your dogs breeder, they will know people who would like to give an older dog a home or else will keep the dog themselves until a home is found.

If after all that you still think that you could offer a wonderful, loving, permanent home to a German Spitz puppy then contact some breeders or owners and arrange to meet some adults and puppies. Make sure that you let the breeder know whether you are looking for a German Spitz for a pet or wish to show and possibly breed in the future. Ensure that the breeder has had their bitch eye tested and that the father of the litter has also been eye tested clear for PRA and RD. Many breeders now have their puppy�s eye tested between 6 and 8 weeks old which can pick up potential eye problems. See our eye testing page for more details.