The Pomeranian is a perky and bold toy dog breed with a long coat and distinctive neck ruff that hails from what's now Germany and Poland. Also called a Pom, this breed is typically friendly but can be bossy at times. Still, it is extremely loyal to its loved ones and can be an effective guard dog despite its diminutive stature.
With proper training, the Pomeranian can make an excellent companion, though this dog is not for everyone. Families with young children might not be an ideal home for a Pom, but the breed often gets along well with older and calmer children.
Height: 6 to 7 inches
Weight: 3 to 7 pounds
Coat: Long double coat
Coat Color: Comes in many colors, though the most common are red, orange, cream, sable, black, brown, and blue
Life Span: 12 to 16 years
Temperament: Bold, alert, lively, affectionate
Click Play to Learn More About the Adorable and Loyal Pom
Characteristics of the Pomeranian
Pomeranians generally have a bold and lively temperament. Their personality is much bigger than their diminutive size. They can act as alert watch dogs and tend to be affectionate with their owners.
|Tendency to Bark||High|
|Amount of Shedding||Medium|
History of the Pomeranian
The Pomeranian is a descendant of spitz-type sled dogs from Iceland and Lapland. Several hundred years ago, these predecessors to the Pom made their way to Pomerania, which is now parts of Poland and Germany. While there, breeders somewhat diminished the dogs' size. The modern Pom is the smallest spitz-type dog breed.
The Pomeranian's popularity rose when members of the British royal family took a liking to it. At that time, the breed was still larger than today's version. But in the late 1800s, Queen Victoria became a breeder and won a breed competition with a particularly small Pomeranian. After that, it became popular to breed the dogs even smaller.
Some notable Pomeranian owners throughout history include Marie Antoinette and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Two Pomeranians also were among the three dogs that survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
The Pomeranian gained popularity in the United States around the turn of the 20th century and today remains a popular dog breed. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1888.
Pomeranians need consistent training and regular exercise to be happy, healthy dogs. Their thick coat also requires a fair amount of upkeep. Plus, owners must be cautious about Pomeranians in hot weather, as well as with predators and any rough encounters with people or other pets.
Pomeranians have a medium energy level that shouldn’t be underestimated just because they’re small dogs. They should get at least an hour per day of physical activity, including walks and playing with toys. They also should have the chance to freely run around each day (and they don’t need much space to do it). Moreover, puzzle toys can help to provide the mental stimulation that Poms need.
While Poms do fairly well in cold weather, their thick coat can cause them to overheat in hot weather. So even though they generally have good endurance, keep outside activity to short sessions in the heat. Also, be sure to protect your Pom from predators—including large birds—when outside.
The Pomeranian has a long, thick double coat that requires frequent grooming. Plan to brush your Pom's coat at least weekly to remove loose fur and prevent tangles and mats. Poms also typically go through heavier seasonal sheds as the weather changes in the fall and spring, during which you'll likely have to brush multiple times a week to keep up with the loose fur.
A bath with a thorough brushing will be required roughly every four to six weeks. At that time, you also should clean your dog's ears, and you might have to express its anal glands. A groomer or vet’s office can do that for you if you’re not comfortable with it at home. You’ll also have to trim your dog’s nails roughly every four to six weeks, especially if you hear them clicking on hard surfaces. And you should aim to brush its teeth ideally every day.
Pomeranians are moderately trainable dogs. While they are smart, they also can be stubborn. So consistency and patience are essential when training a Pom. Begin training and socialization early in puppyhood. Work on house-training right away, so your dog doesn’t begin to develop any bad habits that are hard to break. Also, socialize puppies with different people and in various environments to help curb their tendency to bark at strangers.
Pomeranians can coexist with other household pets when given the proper training and socialization. But Poms generally won’t back down from a fight, even with a larger dog. Plus, they can be injured in friendly but rough play. So make sure all household pets—and people, especially young children—are well-mannered and gentle to safely live together.
Furthermore, Pomeranians can hurt themselves when jumping on and off of furniture, including couches and beds. So it’s important either to train them to use a ramp or teach them to stay off furniture.
Common Health Problems
Pomeranians are typically healthy dogs. But they are prone to a few common health conditions, including:
- Luxating patella: This usually inherited condition causes the dog's kneecap to slip out of position, causing the leg to bend at an unusual angle, along with limping and pain.
- Collapsing trachea: This is a chronic, progressive condition that causes the dog's trachea (windpipe) to narrow or collapse, leading to coughing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance.
- Hypothyroidism: When a dog's thyroid does not produce enough hormones, it tends to gain weight, become lethargic, and develop a thin coat.
- Congestive heart failure: CHF is a complex condition, but means that the dog's heart cannot effectively pump blood through the entire circulatory system.
- Seizures: There are many types and causes of seizures, but this neurological disease is marked by brief periods of altered behavior, abnormal movements, and sometimes loss of consciousness.
- Progressive retinal atrophy: This is an inherited progressive disease that leads to blindness.
Diet and Nutrition
The tiny Pomeranian requires a small amount of food compared to larger breeds. It's common to feed two meals per day of a nutritionally balanced quality dog food. How much food your dog requires will depend on its size, activity level, and other factors. Discuss dietary needs with your veterinarian, and consistently monitor your pet's weight. Even a weight fluctuation of 1 pound is significant for these little dogs. Also, make sure your dog always has access to fresh water, especially in hot weather and during exercise.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Pomeranian
If you're interested in acquiring a Pomeranian, check your local animal shelter and breed-specific rescue groups for dogs in need of homes. Be sure you have the time and energy to devote to training and caring for a dog that can sometimes be stubborn and vocal. Expect to pay around $1,000 or more for a puppy, though this price can vary widely for older dogs and adoptable dogs.
There are several organizations that can help you locate a reputable breeder or rescue, including:
Good guard dog
Can adapt well to small homes
Lively and loyal
Sensitive to heat
Not the best for small children
Can be stubborn and loud
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
As with any breed, if you think the Pomeranian is right for you, be sure to do plenty of research before getting one. Talk to other Pomeranian owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more.
If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:
There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!
What were Pomeranians bred for?
While its ancestors were bred as sled and working dogs, the tiny Pomeranian was bred to be a companion dog.
Are Pomeranians good family dogs?
Because of their small size, Pomeranians can be injured from rough handling by a child. So a Pom might not be a good fit for a family until the kids are old enough to learn to handle dogs with care.
Are Pomeranians good apartment dogs?
Pomeranians can be good apartment dogs, as they don't require a lot of space to meet their energy and play needs. However, they can be vocal dogs that might disturb nearby neighbors.