The German Spitz is still a fairly rare breed in the USA. You could easily mistake them for their close relative, the Pomeranian, a much more common breed.
These pups come in two sizes Klein (small) and Mittel (medium).
Playful, bossy and independent, this dog might be a handful for new dog owners. They form strong bonds with their families but are cautious around strangers.
Do you think the German Spitz is the dog for you?
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about this feisty little dog.
Contents and Quick Navigation
- What is a German Spitz? (Overview)
- German Spitz Appearance
- German Spitz Personality and Temperament
- How to Train a German Spitz
- Caring for a German Spitz
- Buying a German Spitz
- Quick Breed Summary Table
What is a German Spitz? (Overview)
This breed’s similarity to the Pomeranian is not a coincidence.
In Germany, the Pomeranian is considered a toy version of the Zwergspitz and there is also a bigger version called the Großspitz or Giant Spitz. Then there is the largest version, the Wolfspitz or the Keeshond.
Then you also have the American Eskimo Dog, originally bred from the German Spitz. Breeders in America changed the breed’s name to the American Eskimo Dog around the First World War, to increase the breed’s popularity and combat anti-German sentiment.
This is the same reason the German Shepherd became known as an Alsatian. It’s now recognized as a separate breed, but only in America and Canada.
It’s all a little confusing but all you really need to understand is that in the US there are two versions: Klein and Mittel.
German Spitz Appearance
When you see a German Spitz, the first thing you will notice is their gorgeous coat. They have a double coat with a woolly undercoat and a straight outer coat. The fur is thicker on their neck and chest. They have a poofy tail that curls up over their body.
Their face is fairly flat but their muzzle is long. There is something fox-like about their features. Their ears are small triangles that stand straight up on their head.
They have a broad chest and upright limbs giving them a strong stride.
Their gorgeous coat is found in black, white, cream, brown, grey and orange. Mixes of these colors are not unusual and the variety of colors adds to this dog’s breathtaking appearance.
Having such an amazing coat does come at a cost though. This dog sheds all year round, including two big blowouts during shedding seasons.
Height and Weight
The size will depend on whether they are the small or medium variety.
- The German Spitz Klein should stand between 9-12 inches at their withers. They should weigh between 8-11 lb when fully grown.
- The German Spitz Mittelshould be 12-15 inches and weigh between 15-22 lb.
As you can tell, there is not a huge difference in size but it is noticeable. Due to this, you may sometimes find Kleins growing bigger and Mittels not reaching their expected size.
If their size is important to you, look for a breeder who is specific about the size of dogs they use for breeding.
Colors, Coat and Fur
The German Spitz has a range of stunning coat colors. They come in black, white, brown, cream, grey with black tips and orange. Dual colored or particolored coats are not unusual. Black and orange or orange and white coats are commonly seen.
They have a double coat, in classic Spitz style. The undercoat is soft, woolly and thick and the outer coat is straight and smooth. The coat sticks straight out from the body giving it that powder puff look.
There is a thickening of fur around the neck and chest giving it an almost mane-like appearance. The legs have less of the woolly undercoat and appear more feathered and the tail is plumped.
German Spitz Personality and Temperament
The German Spitz is a devoted companion dog. They are lively and intelligent and will definitely give you a run for your money. This is not the dog for you if you are looking for a breed that will do everything you ask.
If you want a dog full of character that will challenge you but be absolutely worth it, you are in the right place.
One of the reasons these dogs are great is because of their small size. They are suited to living in apartments and smaller houses. They don’t need a yard to play in as long as they are getting out at least once a day. Though they are lively, they burn most of that energy following you around the house and playing with you.
These dogs form incredibly strong bonds with their owners. When you are around the house they will be your shadow, wanting to be everywhere you are and do everything you do.
Their bold, bossy nature makes them hard to ignore!
As you might imagine, this strong bond makes leaving them difficult – they suffer from separation anxiety. Left alone, they are likely to turn to constant barking and howling. With training, this behavior can be reduced but you should really consider how much time you have before committing to one of these dogs.
Although they will be devoted to its family, your pup may be aloof when it comes to strangers.
This aloofness may turn to distrust and even aggression if it’s left. Socialization from a young age is very important with this breed. They need to meet as many people as possible. You should expect them to either ignore a new person entering into their home or approach them nicely if you have really done well with the socialization.
They will play happily with dogs much bigger than them – this breed usually makes friends with other dogs pretty easily. When raised with them, they live well with cats. Small animals like hamsters are not such a good idea as the German Spitz has a high prey drive.
Is a German Spitz a Good Family Dog?
The German Spitz is not an ideal family dog. They are fairly delicate and easily injured by children who don’t know how to handle small dogs. Older children will manage well with this breed. They love to play and will join in activities with enthusiasm.
How to Train a German Spitz
Like many small dogs, the German Spitz is not the easiest to train. You want to start training your pup the moment they arrive home. This is a smart breed that easily becomes a little too big for their boots if left to their own devices.
Positive reinforcement is going to provide the best results with this stubborn dog. You want to be consistent, firm and reward good behavior with treats and praise.
Keep training sessions short as they become bored quickly. House training can take longer than your average dog but stay strong, they will make it.
Socialization is extremely important – they have a distrust of strangers that needs to be tackled early on. You should take your puppy everywhere you go. This allows them to meet new people and be in new situations.
They need toys and games to occupy them. Puzzle feeders are a good idea for this breed. Lick mats, kongs and snuffle mats are all excellent ways to keep their attention on something other than you for a while.
Caring for a German Spitz
The German Spitz is best suited to someone who will be able to provide them with company for the majority of the time. These dogs don’t like to be left alone.
They don’t have particularly excessive exercise requirements, but they do love to play with you. They will run all around your home chasing balls and playing games.
Grooming them will take up quite a bit of your time but that coat makes it totally worthwhile. When they do eventually settle down at the end of the day, cuddling that big ball of fluff is lovely.
These dogs have pretty low exercise requirements. It’s one of the reasons they are suited to apartments and city life. They only need to go out for half an hour to an hour a day. They do enjoy long walks but it’s not necessary for them.
They are quite happy to play around inside.
You should walk them on a lead as they have a high prey drive and are likely to run after small animals. They are easily lost in long grass or big fields.
Grooming and Shedding
Grooming is going to become a big part of your life with this breed. That gorgeous coat takes a decent amount of care. For most of the year, you should be brushing them two or three times a week – this will help remove dirt and fur.
Two times a year, in spring and fall, they will have a big blowout. This is when they shed their summer or winter coat to make way for the new hair.
During these times you will be brushing them every day – be prepared for plenty of vacuuming.
Their nails are fairly hard and they won’t wear them down. You will have to clip them every couple of months.
Feeding and Diet
The German Spitz is a great eater most of the time. They are usually not too fussy – in fact this breed is actually prone to obesity because of how unfussy they are.
If you do find your pup being picky with what they are eating, make sure you don’t replace it straight away. They will probably finish it once they realize nothing better is coming.
A high-quality kibble that is full of protein and fats is the best idea for this breed. The kibble is good for their teeth.
They should be fed twice a day. Treats should be worked into their daily allowance to stop overfeeding. They will probably have around half a cup of kibble in the morning and in the evening.
Known Health Problems
Overall they are an extremely healthy dog. Your main concern will usually be to avoid obesity by monitoring what you feed them and giving them regular weight checks.
Other conditions that have been known to affect these dogs are patella luxation, epilepsy and progressive retinal atrophy.
How Long Does A German Spitz Live?
The German Spitz is known to live for 14 to 16 years.
Buying a German Spitz
Buying a German Spitz in America is not very easy. This breed is only just starting to regain popularity and breeders are rare.
Most people will have to travel a fair distance to find a breeder. Some people even have their pup imported from Europe or Australia. You will probably be asked to fly over and pick up the puppy and bring it back with you. Be wary of any breeder that says they will ship the dog to you.
Breeders for Pomeranians, Keeshonds and American Eskimo dogs will be much more common. You should really understand all of these breeds before choosing. One of those breeds may suit you better and be a much less expensive endeavor.
How Much Does A German Spitz Cost?
A German Spitz puppy will cost you $400 to $700.
Quick Breed Summary Table
|Size:||Klein: 9-12 inches / Mittel: 12-15 inches|
|Weight:||Klein: 8-11 lb / Mittel: 15-22 lb|
|Lifespan:||14 to 16 years|
|Coat:||Double coat, woolly undercoat and straight outer coat|
|Color:||Black, white, cream, brown, orange and grey|
|Do They Shed:||Yes especially during shedding seasons|
|Temperament:||Lively, independent, devoted and alert|
|Intelligence:||Intelligent but sometimes stubborn|
|Socialization:||Good with other dogs|
|Destructive Behavior:||Prone to barking|
|People Skills:||Aloof and distrustful of strangers, need plenty of socialization|
|Good with Children:||Easily injured by small children|
|Activity Levels:||Low activity levels|
The German Spitz is a lively, independent little powder puff who knows what they want.
These dogs are intelligent but stubborn. They are not necessarily the best dog for beginners but they are wonderfully rewarding. They will be a devoted friend and want to spend all their time with you. Leaving them alone is not an option!
Although training may be difficult, if you stick at it you are sure to have a lovely dog. They don’t need much exercise which makes them suitable for apartments.
If you feel you have the dedication to find and care for the German Spitz, we are sure you will live happily together for many years.
Let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions…