Pomeranians are the tiniest of the Spitz, or Nordic, breeds, but they have the courage of much bigger dogs. A perennially popular breed, the Pom weighs less than 7 pounds, but you won’t often find him in a puppy purse. That’s because Pomeranians think big. They know they have four feet and prefer to use them, just as larger dogs would.
Everything about the Pomeranian is bright: his eyes, his temperament, and his intelligence. Though he’s very fond of his family and delighted to get some lap time, he’s also a busy little guy. You’re more likely to find him trotting around your house on an important mission than snoozing on the sofa.
The Pom’s activity level makes him an ideal pet for someone who wants a small dog with the personality traits of the full-size sled and herding dogs from which this breed originates. Because he’s tiny, he can probably get enough exercise indoors, but he’s happiest when he gets to go on long walks, chase leaves, and play with other small dogs. He is athletic and frequently participates in dog sports such as agility, freestyle, obedience, rally, and tracking. Because of his diminutive size, he is suited to life in an apartment, but he is just as at home on a ranch or estate. However, he’s far too tiny to live outdoors. He needs to live inside with his family.
Pomeranians have a profuse double coat that needs regular brushing but are otherwise easy to care for. And, make no mistake, Poms bark. It may not be deafening, but it can be annoying and difficult to stop, even with training. As with many small dogs, Pomeranians may be harder to housetrain.
A Pomeranian can go to his new home at 8 to 10 weeks of age, but some breeders like to keep pups until they are 12 to 14 weeks old to make sure they are mature enough to go to their new homes and to see which ones will shake out as show prospects.
The History of Pomeranians
The Pomeranian takes his name from Pomerania, a region of Northern Europe on the coast of the Baltic Sea. It’s believed that this was where the dogs were first bred down in size from larger Spitz breeds. The original Pomeranians weighed 20 to 30 pounds — much larger than the Pom that we know and love today.
The breed became popular in Great Britain after Queen Victoria fell in love with a Pom in 1888 while vacationing in Florence, Italy. She brought one home with her, and the breed’s popularity took off. Interest in the breed crossed the Atlantic to the United States, where the first Pomeranian specialty show was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1911. Those earlier Pomeranians had foxier faces than the Poms of today and were more likely to be white, black, chocolate, cinnamon, brown, or cream than the red and orange commonly seen now. Poms can still come in any color or pattern, though. The breed is still very popular, ranking 15th among those registered by the American Kennel Club.
So far, only one Pomeranian has won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. That was BISS/BIS Am. Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II ROMX, HOF, who won in 1988.
Pomeranian Temperament and Personality
The Pomeranian has a proud and glamorous appearance with a personality to match. He’s an extrovert who is clever and lively. It’s hard to appear in public with a Pom and not attract attention. The adorable little dogs with the dark, almond-shaped eyes and alert, happy expression are tiny but intrepid. They have a take-charge temperament and tend not to be fearful of strangers or other animals. For more than a century, the Pom has had a well-deserved reputation for being a great watchdog. He may weigh only a few pounds, but he views himself as absolute guardian of his home and family.
The perfect little Pom is calm and easy to live with. He enjoys sitting in your lap and giving kisses. He is busy but doesn’t bounce off the walls. That said, Poms do like to bark. Start early and be consistent if you plan to teach him the “No bark” or “Quiet” command.
Poms may look like toys, but they are not good pets for young children. They are too delicate to be handled roughly, and they prefer the company of adults.
Housetraining does not always come easy to Poms. They can be stubborn about going outside to potty, especially if it’s rainy or cold outside. As a compromise, consider paper-training a Pom so that you both have options when the weather is bad.
Choosing a Pomeranian Breeder
Finding a good breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. She is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with, and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes take to avoid those problems.
Stack the odds in your favor by finding a breeder who is in good standing with the American Pomeranian Club and has agreed to abide by its code of ethics, which specifically prohibits selling puppies through retail outlets such as pet stores. Avoid breeders who seem interested only in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. And don’t believe a seller who tells you a “teacup Pomeranian” is more valuable or desirable than a proper-size dog. Extreme miniaturization brings with it health problems and a shortened lifespan. That kind of language is a big red flag that you’re dealing with a seller more interested in money than the good of the dogs or the broken hearts of the people who buy them.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of a Pomeranian puppy varies depending on his place of origin, whether he is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances and conformation (show) titles to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Pomeranian might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult Pom may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home.
This article was originally published by Vetstreet.com (source)