Japanese Spitz

Written by: Jamie
Updated: March 28, 2020

Eager to learn more about the Japanese Spitz? You’re in the right place! We explain everything you need to know about these awesome little dogs.

japanese spitz running

When it comes to owning a Japanese Spitz dog, you can expect to get a small dog with a big heart that will live well with your family.

They love to be exercised and will spend lots of time trying to impress you with their newfound skills.

Height: Males up to 37cm, females up to 34cm
Weight: Males up to 7kg, females up to 6kg
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree Breed: Yes, fully recognized

Positives and Negatives of the Breed

Many people associate small dogs with being annoying and yappy. Rather than tarring them all with the same brush, take a look at what pros and cons the Spitz dog have below.


  • They cope well with being left alone for short spaces of time
  • They make great pets with children of any age and love being part of your family
  • They are pretty easy to train and love to impress
  • They are very social creatures and like to meet other dogs when out and about
  • They can handle living in apartments or homes without gardens
  • They are good watchdogs and will let you know if there is any trouble coming


  • This breed needs a lot of grooming to keep them in the best condition
  • They have lots of energy and will need lots of exercises every day to keep them in check
  • They can be noisy and are not afraid to let you know what they think of things
  • They are very wary of strangers and will alert you to any potential dangers
  • They can be incredibly stubborn if they do not want to do something


When you become the owner of the Japanese Spitz, you are committing to looking after a dog that is small but very energetic and will provide you and your family with lots of love for many years to come.

Smaller dog breeds are usually difficult to pair with children, but this breed not only love kids but are great with them, understanding the rule and boundaries that you put in place to keep them all safe.

It is this part of their personality that is endearing them to people more and more, and as such, this breed’s popularity is on the increase across the world.

Recommended Reading: When it comes to finding a working dog that is loyal and trustworthy, the New Zealand Huntaway is a great choice and has been supporting farms across the island for many years.


Spitz dogs have been around since the early twentieth century, and this breed is believed to have also descended from the Samoyed in part.

The commonly held belief is that they were bred smaller and smaller to get a breed that had high energy but was easy to contain in a smaller family home or apartment.

They began to be exported in the 20s to Western countries, and after further refinements, the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1981.

They are not only well-loved due to their friendly nature but also because they are very popular as show dogs and often win lots of prizes, making them a great choice if you want to show them.


If you are unsure whether the Japanese Spitz temperament will suit you and your family, then you have little to worry about.

They are naturally kind and affectionate dogs that enjoy opportunities to socialize with people that they know well.

Are They Good with Strangers?

This breed is natural watchdogs and can be wary around strangers, preferring to stay with people they know and care for.

This makes them an asset when you are looking for security support but can be difficult when they meet new people that you want to introduce them to.

Careful introductions will result in this dog breed forming new social attachments.

Japanese spitz face

Are They Good with Other Dogs?

If they have been raised with other dogs in the home, they will form close bonds and behave well with them.

If you are planning to introduce them to new dogs, it is wise to keep them on their lead and take it slowly so that they feel safe and secure, knowing that they are close to you.

These introductions usually go well, and the breed is very friendly, so they thrive off new friendship opportunities.

How Do They Behave Around Children?

This is one of their most attractive features; they are fantastic around children of all ages and will demonstrate a strong allegiance to them as part of the family group.

They love the idea of family and enjoy being at home with your small people, keeping them entertained and playing games.

As with any dog, it is wise to monitor any interaction to be certain that neither your children or dog get hurt or overexcited

Japanese white spitz dog

Are They Safe with Other Pets?

AS a breed, they are pretty good with any pets they have grown up with, accepting them as part of their family group.

However, they are not brilliant when you introduce a new pet to the household and will enjoy chasing them around a lot.

Do They Have a High Prey Drive?

This breed has a strong prey drive and will often seek opportunities to give chase when they are out with you on walks.

Letting them off the lead is important for them to get exercise, but you must ensure they are well trained and respond to your call to stop when they begin to chase.

Untrained dogs will refuse to listen and can become a nuisance to livestock and wildlife on their walks.

Are They Good for First Time Dog Owners?

If you are looking for a dog for the first time, then a Japanese Spitz is a great choice.

They are very person-centered animals and will love to please you by following instructions. They have a playful nature and love nothing more than to enjoy games with the family and walk together every day.


japanese spitz 2

If your dog is well looked after and fed a balanced diet, then you can expect the Spitz lifespan to cover up to 15 years of companionship.

There are only a few hereditary illnesses that are common in this breed, and they include Patella Luxation, allergies, and eyes that are prone to running.

These conditions are typically easy to spot and treat if you take your pet for regular check-ups with the vet. Insurance schemes are also affordable because these dogs are usually very healthy.

As with any dog, it is important to get your dog fully vaccinated so that they are at no risk of getting or passing on illnesses.

The sooner you get your dog vaccinated, the sooner you can start training them ready for life with you and your family.


Don’t be fooled by the Japanese Spitz size as they may be small, but they need lots of regular exercises to keep them happy and healthy.

Around 20 to 30 minutes each day should be given to off lead adventures so that they can explore and play games with you as well as getting rid of any built-up energy they have.

It’s great if you have an outdoor space for your dog to roam around, but this will not stop you from owning one if you don’t; you’ll just need to take them out for more walks in the local neighborhood.

Part of their exercise regime should include a mental exercise where they are given problems to solve that will keep them entertained.

This can be done via special toys or treat balls that require them to hunt out the solution in order to get rewarded and will keep them entertained for hours.

Recommended Reading: Learn all about the Northern Inuit breed in this guide.


japanese spitz 3

Because Spitz dogs are intelligent, they are also easy to train and love nothing more than to impress you with their newfound skills.

Even though they are small, they can still take part in canine sporting events such as fly ball and agility courses. They are happiest when they are getting praise from their owners and will try their utmost to please you at any given opportunity.

This breed will pick up commands quickly and are taught best after they have had a walk. They do not cope well with being told off and thrive if you take a positive approach that includes lots of treats.

Training your dog from a very young age is the best way to get results from this lovely breed.

Recommended: Learn about the trainability of the Jug Dog in our guide.

The funny thing about this breed is that the Japanese Spitz dogs are very adept at grooming themselves and can often be found washing themselves in the same manner as a cat would.

This does not mean that you can avoid grooming, and it is essential to spend time grooming your dog every week because they have high maintenance needs.

In addition to your home grooming, it is a great idea to book your canine in for regular grooms with a dog grooming professional who will wash them, clip their hair and nails and style them ready for you to maintain in-between visits.

Next Article: This Maltese-Shih-Tzu breed is great when it comes to exercise because it will largely adapt to your lifestyle and how active you are.

Do you own a Japanse Spitz or know somebody that does? We’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed. 

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at Jamie@woofbarkgrowl.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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