OVERVIEW OF GERMAN SPITZ
Even though dogs are considered the most loyal pets of them all, you’ll still find it difficult to look for a dog breed that’s more loyal than the German Spitz. This incredibly unique breed puts many more popular dog breeds to shame, as they’re much smaller in stature, yet have even more loyalty for their human partners than usual.
But that doesn’t mean they love playing with humans and socializing. Their nature is quite complicated in that aspect as you’ll find them on their own most of the time, carrying their weight independently unless you’ve managed to train them from an early age to be playful and interactive.
You won’t have to put much effort into training as a German Spitz picks up commands quickly, making them quite easy to train. But their most outstanding attributes are their distrust of strangers and lack of a hunting instinct, making them the perfect watchdog. Another feature that helps them stay active and attentive is their relative indifference to changes in weather conditions. They even possess the ability to stay focused during the middle of a thunderstorm.
The German Spitz comes in five distinct varieties based on their coat color and size: the Wolf Spitz, the Giantspitz, the Medium Spitz, the Miniature Spitz, and Pomeranian. The Pomeranian is by far the most popular of these five types due to its extremely small stature, size, and glistening double-coated fur.
HISTORY OF THE GERMAN SPITZ
Despite being incredibly hard to find these days, the German Spitz is one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world and first originated in central Europe. The German Spitz is grouped into five different types due to their size and coat, but FCI (the Fédération Cynologique) first recognized these seemingly separate breeds as the same.
Known as the personal favorite breed of the British royal family and upper-class English citizens, the first references to the German Spitz go all the way back to 1450. Count Eberhard Zu Sayn of Germany praised the dog’s tenacity and called it a defender of the fields and homes.
In fact, the name Pomeranian was first coined for these tenacious canines. It’s because their earliest breeds were known to first originate from the province of Pomerania, a small historical region on the south shores of the Baltic between Poland and modern-day Germany. Since time immemorial, they’ve been known as exceptionally attentive and alert dogs, with an alarm clock-like sharp voice that warns their owners of intruders or other possible dangers.
Their earliest use was as watchdogs of boats and ships belonging to traders and merchants to warn them if someone was trying to steal their belongings. Another use for their high-pitched and loud barks was to warn farmers if someone was trying to steal their crops, or of any intruders that meant the family harm.
PHYSICAL TRAITS OF THE GERMAN SPITZ
Apart from their sharp-pitched, screech-like barking, the German Spitz has plenty of other defining traits that set them apart from other less popular dog breeds. The first thing people usually notice when looking at a German Spitz is its glistening, smooth, and silky coat containing two total layers and an undercoat that shines brightly in the sun.
But what impresses us the most about their appearance is their strong mane-like collar around their neck, called a ruff, that gives them an overall regal look. This is quite fitting, considering how they’re popular royal dogs due to their association with the royal family.
Another feature that accentuates their royal and classy look is their short, bushy tail that’s elegantly draped over their back. Accompanying their long, beautiful build is an equally beautiful, slightly triangle-shaped fox-like head, which consists of small alert eyes that are always aware of what’s happening around them and a set of small, sharp pointy ears that complete their unique, cheeky look.
In addition to being wary of intruders, a German Spitz can sometimes be wary of the humans that own it. But of course, with the right training and lots of love, you can transform your little furry friend into a loyal, loving companion that cares for you in every way possible.
The default nature of a German Spitz is to be quite standoffish when socializing with its human companion and instead likes being independent or bonding with another dog. Having a companion dog that can help your German Spitz settle in could be a great idea if you’re trying to get it to adjust as quickly as possible to your home.
Even though they are quite independent by nature, after spending some time with a family, a German Spitz understands its role as the protector and guard and will try its best to fight off intruders with all its might.
Something that has to be said about this specific breed is that it’s exceptionally intelligent and picks up new things quickly. Apart from that, they’re always eager to learn new tricks, which makes them easy to train.
FOOD AND HEALTH OF THE GERMAN SPITZ
Some general guidelines to follow with any dog breed is to feed them age-specific quantities of food as the dog is growing because most of them are prone to obesity and have sensitive digestive systems. Overeating could cause inflation in their stomachs.
When it comes to the German Spitz, you have to be ultra careful of what you feed them as they are extremely sensitive to some types of dog food. They still need their fixed quota of protein, minerals, healthy fats, and vegetables to ensure optimum performance and health though.
Raw chicken and beef are good options and you can even cook your dog a delicious chicken quinoa salad on special days as a treat. Apart from that, regular treats should be used sparingly when training the dog as its digestive system is pretty sensitive and can’t withstand too many treats.
The main thing you need to be aware of when picking out dog food for your German Spitz is the formula used to mix those nutrients and if it supports the health of your little canine. If you’re opting for a homemade recipe for feeding your German Spitz, we recommend consulting your veterinarian first. Not all ingredients are easy to digest for these incredible dogs, so learning about their dietary specifications beforehand can be helpful.
TRAINING AND EXERCISE
As petite and smart as it is, a German Spitz gets tired quite quickly, so only a moderate amount of exercise is needed to keep it fit and healthy. For example, taking it on a relaxing, slow walk through the neighborhood is a great activity. Overworking your German Spitz can lead to them being too tired to do anything else afterward. In fact, if you overwork your canine, you’ll usually find it lounging on the floor of your living room and being generally lazy when it comes to moving from one place to another.
That’s not to say that a German Spitz can’t be athletic as you can easily play high-intensity hide-and-seek and frisbee when it’s feeling energetic and in the mood to jump around. It’s just that your pup may be extremely tired after the activity is over.
In general, you’re better off playing with your German Spitz indoors rather than outdoors as their small, flexible frame can squeeze through almost any gaps to reach restricted areas. Combine that with their natural curiosity and it becomes quite a hassle trying to control them when you’re out on a walk in the street. All in all, you need to focus on making sure your German Spitz is never bored and always has something to do as it may bark loudly and frequently if bored.
Training and socialization
Training your German Spitz is a task you’ll have to undertake early on in its life, as the best time to teach it to behave and socialize is when it’s nearly 1 or 2 years old. If not trained properly by that time, it may become aggressive or standoffish with you or your family and eventually become too hard to control.
The socializing ability of your German Spitz relies solely on you as they pick up on things quickly. With the right type of encouragement, your dog can quickly understand the correct way to socialize with humans and other dogs.
You can also take your training to the next level with a German Spitz, as they pick up on commands that are a little complicated for other dogs to understand. Make sure you use treats and plenty of positive encouragement when training them.
HEALTH CONCERNS OF GERMAN SPITZ
For the most part, dogs of the German Spitz breed tend to remain healthy for their entire lives and don’t develop any serious health concerns. A German Spitz that exercises regularly and has an overall healthy diet that contains nutrient and protein-rich foods can live an exceptionally long life, ranging from 10 to 15 years.
But just like every other dog breed, they do have some diseases that are unique to them. These health conditions can affect key parts of their bodies which could drastically reduce their lifespan if not treated properly and promptly.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Probably the most dangerous disease that your German Spitz can contract is progressive retinal atrophy, which slowly affects the photoreceptor cells in your dog’s eye, turning them off one by one. Atrophy itself means the partial or full wastage of a body part.
As the photoreceptor cells start turning off, your dog may become blind in one if not both eyes. Another name for this disease is retinal dysplasia and it usually occurs as a genetic disease that a German Spitz inherits from one of its parents.
Early signs include night blindness which owners can notice by observing their dog’s movement style at night time. If you start noticing a slight hesitation in your dog while walking at night, that could be an early sign that it’s suffering from progressive retinal atrophy.
Another disease that’s not exactly unique to this dog breed but does occur quite frequently in the German Spitz breed is patella luxation. This condition can be caused by intensive movement or even inherited from one or both parents.
The disease causes the dog’s patella, which sits on top of the groove of the femur, to shift out of alignment. Mostly occurring in one or both hind legs, this condition is usually found in shorter dogs like the German Spitz and restricts their overall movement.
GROOMING INSIGHTS OF GERMAN SPITZ
The coat of a German Spitz is a little difficult to take care of due to its general fluffy nature. Not to mention that the dog itself is double-coated, with the undercoat being particularly hard to reach with a brush. A bath once a week to sort out any coat problems is essential, but be prepared to clean up clumps of fur left at the bottom of your tub after the bath.
Don’t feel like bathing your pooch and getting your bathroom messy? No worries, you can go at their coat with a soft brush or hound glove to give it that thorough once-a-week cleaning. Just like with every other dog breed, brushing its teeth is also extremely important to stop the buildup of tartar and plaque.
You should clip your pooch’s nails at least once a month if they aren’t worn down naturally. When your dog walks on the bare floor and its feet make a clicking sound, you’ll know that its nails need a little trimming. Because dogs have blood vessels in their nails as well, you have to be a little more careful when cutting their nails or you can take your pup to a professional groomer.
It’s also important to know that the German Spitz can be finicky about having their teeth, ear, and paws touched. You should get your dog used to being groomed from a young age and encourage its positive behavior by giving it delicious dog treats.