Pomeranian

 

It’s hard to imagine that the ancestors of the tiny little ball of fluff that is today’s Pomeranian were Spitz type herding dogs that weighed up to 30lbs. They originated in the region of Pomerania which is now part of Germany and Poland.

The British Royal Family played a prominent role in the development of the breed. The Pomeranian was first brought to Britain by Queen Charlotte, but again these were larger than the dog we know today. It wasn’t until the reign of Queen Victoria that the smaller sized dog became popular. Her breeding program included dogs from several European countries, which further improved the breed. During her lifetime, it is suggested that selective breeding resulted in a decrease of 50% in the size of the Pomeranian.

The Pom made its way to the United States in the late 1800’s, and was recognized by the AKC in 1900. It has consistently been included in the top 15 most popular dog breeds in the United States for the last 10 years.

Appearance

These dogs have a charming pixie like face,  with a pointed nose, soft brown eyes and erect ears. They are tiny, weighing only 7lb (3.5kg) and standing 11 inches, or 28cm at the shoulder. Their thick luxurious coat consists of a harsh straight outer coat over a thick soft downy undercoat. They carry their fluffy tail high over their back like a plume.

Whatever your color preference, there is a Pomeranian for you. Their coat is available in many shades, including white, red, orange, sable, black, and any combination of these. However, orange is by far the most common color.

Temperament

The Pomeranian is the extrovert of the dog world. They are alert, active and independent, and love being with their family. Their even temper and affectionate nature charms everyone they meet.

These dogs can bark a lot, which on the one hand will let you know if a stranger is about. On the other hand, the noise won’t endear you to your neighbors. Fortunately, the Pom is intelligent and easy to train, so you can teach them to be quiet.

Even though they are small, the Pomeranian is still a dog and needs to be treated as such. If they are indulged and pampered, they can become willful and and even cranky. All dogs benefit from a consistent and fair pack leader. Make sure you socialize and train your Pom so they learn their place in your household, and you are less likely to have to deal with bad behavior.

Health

These little dogs are quite a sturdy breed, but there are some health issues that prospective owners must be aware of.

They can develop luxating patellas, or loose kneecaps. In this condition, the kneecap moves in and out of its groove in the thigh bone, and can result in lameness and a characteristic skipping gait. Untreated, it can lead to arthritis in the joint. Luxating patellas can be corrected with surgery, but it is thought to have a genetic basis. Ideally, only dogs with normal healthy knees should be used for breeding.

Many small breeds of dog suffer from a collapsing trachea, and the Pomeranian is no exception. Rings of cartilage in the windpipe become weak, and no longer hold it open. The result is obstruction of the airway. Symptoms include a honking cough, and a reduced ability to exercise.

There is a skin condition that affects the Pomeranian, known as Alopecia X. Affected dogs lose their hair, and their skin turns black. Nobody is really sure of the cause, but genetics appear to play a role. There are other medical conditions such as Cushings Disease and hypothyroidism that have similar symptoms to Alopecia X, so these need to be ruled out before reaching a diagnosis. There are a range of treatment options that vary in their effectiveness. Because these treatments can have some fairly serious side effects, many Pom owners don’t treat their dogs. Fortunately, there aren’t any major health issues associated with Alopecia X, it just looks odd, so the dogs aren’t harmed if they are not treated.

These small dogs have small mouths, but they still have the same number of teeth as a larger dog. This means that their teeth can be crowded, which can predispose to tooth decay.

Maintenance

These little dogs don’t need a lot of exercise. In fact, they are often satisfied with a good game of chase around the back yard. However, it is important that they still get a daily walk to give them the opportunity to explore their neighborhood.

The Pomeranian coat takes quite a lot of time to maintain. They shed constantly, so you can expect to have dog hair on your floor and furniture. Their outer coat also tends to tangle and knot. This means that they need to be thoroughly brushed every day. It’s not difficult, but you do need to set aside some time to spend on it.

Keep an eye on your Pomeranian’s teeth, and have them checked by your veterinarian regularly. It’s better for your dog if you can prevent tooth decay, rather than treat it when it occurs.

Conclusion

If you have the time to care for their gorgeous coat, the Pomeranian is a wonderful companion. Their cheerful and outgoing personality makes them ideal for families, providing small children are supervised so your little dog isn’t accidentally injured. They are also loyal and affectionate pets for senior citizens who may not be able to walk far, and who will enjoy sitting on the couch brushing and combing their dog.

These dogs are happiest living indoors, and are well suited to apartment living. They will keep you company for up to 16 years.

Pomeranian
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