German Spitz are independent and fun-loving. Their ancient status and breeding have led them to be pretty strong-willed and a bit stubborn. Learn about them below.
Height: 23 – 29 cm (German Spitz Klein), 30 – 38 cm (German Spitz Mittel)
Weight: 5 – 8kg (German Spitz Klein), 7 – 11kg (German Spitz Mittel)
Lifespan: 12 – 18 years
Pedigree Breed (recognised by the Kennel Club?): Yes. In the Utility Group.
Positives and Negatives of the Breed
- Loyal and loving
- Fun and sociable
- Super soft and fluffy
- Excellent with children
- High maintenance
- Easily bored
- Worse chronic health than average
- Energetic and needy
German Spitz doesn’t refer to one breed but several, the two most popular being the Klein (small) and Mittel (medium-sized).
They’re similar in many ways but actually, German Spitz are quite variable and have a variety of different coats, shaped faces and personalities.
German Spitz, at the heart, are companion dogs and they make loving and affectionate pets for almost any caring owner. They’re supremely cuddly, very cute and charming and this makes them a firm favourite for family and solo owners alike.
The German Spitz has an impressive soft coat that comes in a variety of colours and it loves to be ruffled and stroked. Formerly, though, the German Spitz was a working dog used by foragers in Europe and possess keen outdoors instincts, great sight and the ability to alert its owner to strange movements and smells.
These dogs were kept as valuable companions during travel and emigration from one vicinity to another and they’d walk alongside or ahead of carriages and convoys to protect and alert their human families to incoming danger.
Steadily, though, the German Spitz became adopted more and more as purely a companion dog and this is its role today.
They were prized by the noble classes for their beautiful coats and loving stature and this began to spread across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
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Eventually, the British aristocracy began to adopt Spitz-type dogs as companions and fashion accessories, though there was some confusion as to whether these dogs were Spitz or Pomeranians as they two are alike in many ways.
The Pomeranian was bred from the Spitz fairly shortly after as the desire for toy breeds increased.
In many ways, the Spitz can be considered the stronger, bigger and more durable ancestor of the Pomeranian, a super-fluffy breed that still possesses the physicality of a former working dog.
German Spitz fell out of fashion during the way but they’ve risen once more to become one of the world’s most popular breeds.
Packed with fun-loving affection, devotion, sociability, intelligence and tolerance of children and other pets, German Spitz are fantastic family dogs.
They are adaptable and well-suited to colder environments with a gorgeous two-layer coat, this makes them an excellent choice for outdoorsy people living in harsher environments.
The German Spitz is considered one of the older breeds in Europe and its early history dates back some 6000 years to the very earliest hunter-gatherer groups that settled across central Europe in modern-day Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.
These people built vast villages on stilts across the boggy but fertile landscape of the Rhine and own Spitz-type dogs to watch over them and keep them company during hunting and foraging.
Spitz dogs don’t look like the hunting type but actually, they do have a fairly high prey drive due to their traditional use in pest control – hunting rats, other small rodents and even foxes.
Throughout the 1300s, Spitz appear in more documentation and are referred to as the ‘valiant defenders of the fields’.
This companion dog possesses great eyesight unlike other larger Mastiff-type guard dogs and would play an integral role in alerting its owners to distant danger.
The Spitz bark is loud, sharp and penetrating and was likely easy to hear through dense forests or across large spaces.
German Spitz were popularised throughout the 1800s when owners chose them for their fluffy coats and affectionate personalities.
As they took root in European aristocracies, they were lifted from their roles as working dogs and took upon a less active role in the household as a pet. Still, though, German Spitz largely possess the same active and free-roaming persona today as ever.
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German Spitz are independent and fun-loving. Their ancient status and breeding have led them to be pretty strong-willed and a bit stubborn, as they would have needed to be when defending their ancient owners from threats.
Actually, German Spitz somewhat defy their soft and cuddly form by being very proactive and pragmatic, they’re very alert and confident to investigate almost anyone and anything, including larger dogs and animals.
Their gusto is charming and their headstrong characteristics give this fluffy breed some awesome character.
Of course, the German Spitz is as dangerous as it looks, i.e. not at all, and it’s preferred method of alert is to bark and tell its owner what’s going on.
German Spitz love to roam and explore outdoors areas and they possess excellent natural instincts. Their proficiency in sight and hearing is above average and they’re intelligent, able to complete fairly complex logic and motor skills dog toys for a tasty reward.
As part of their independent nature, Spitz have a mischievous and defiant side. This is never a real hassle, more of a charm, but still, German Spitz owners have to be ready for an active dog that loves entertainment and fun.
That also makes the German Spitz an awesome dog for families with children as they’ll happily feed off each other’s energy.
Like any dog, the German Spitz should be supervised around smaller children but these dogs are very tolerant and measured. They’re pretty noisy themselves and really won’t mind busy and loud family environments.
German Spitz have exceptional life expectancies and can live to the tremendous age of 18! This is testament to their durability, willpower and adaptability.
That said, the German Spitz dog can suffer from chronic problems during its latter years and these can run up pricey vet bills, primarily as the dog can live for many years in its old age.
Issues include arthritis and eye issues but also kidney and digestive issues.
Hereditary disease risk is low for German Spitz and tests are readily available. Many hereditary issues involve the eyes, such as Multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRD) and Retinal dysplasia (RD).
Purchasing a German Spitz from a reputable dealer is vital here. These breeds are easy to mismarket as they are quite variable in form and size.
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German Spitz are very lively and love the outdoors testament to their breeding and history. Outdoor spaces are their playground and they love to explore interesting environments for long periods of time.
Foraging, smelling, looking and journeying through foliage are top of the agenda for a German Spitz’ exercise regime; these dogs love roaming and are awesome off the lead, always willing to return to their owners when called.
Even the smallest Spitz dogs are fairly demanding with exercise and this might seem to contradict their fluffy, homely sort of aesthetic.
In reality, these dogs love the outdoors, hence why they’ve developed such long and fluffy coats. They’re adaptable, though, and will protest by sitting by the door if they want to get some fresh air.
For this reason, houses with gardens are best for the German Spitz. With secure fences, your Spitz will roam outdoors for hours on end.
As an intuitive and investigative dog, German Spitz do have a mischievous streak and they are headstrong so if you’re walking near other dogs or livestock, always be ready to place your Spitz on a lead to prevent overzealousness.
German Spitz have above average intelligence and are pretty easy to train. This makes them an excellent choice for novice owners.
That said, their independent streak may catch on some things, particularly when encouraging a Spitz not to bark as they love their own voice and have been bred to be vocal in the past.
Overall, German Spitz are devoted to their owners and are highly obedient, so long as obedience training is fun and entertaining for them.
Positive reinforcement is a must and owners must be prepared to tolerate a German Spitz’ mischievous streak.
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German Spitz have awesome coats but with a great coat comes a great grooming responsibility for owners!
Build-ups of dirt are inevitable and without regular brushing, grime will build up in their undercoat which will require deeper washes to free.
Professional grooming will be necessary a few times a year, particularly if your German Spitz loves the outdoors and spends a lot of time in gardens, etc.
Some parts of a German Spitz require great attention, like the areas behind the ears that get knotted up quickly. Also, their coats need to be brushed ‘the wrong way’, doing so the typical way will further encourage the formation of split ends and knots.
German Spitz love their long coats and grooming keeps them fluffy and soft, if you take grooming seriously then you can own a German Spitz that gets the best out of its superb coat.
Interestingly, males shed just once a year whereas females usually shed twice. Shedding usually produces a fair amount of hair for obvious reasons.
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