Pomeranian Breed Guide: History, Characteristics & Care

by Kate Boatright, VMD
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Pomeranian Breed Guide
Is a Pomeranian the right dog for you and your family? Find out more about this breed, including physical characteristics, personality, trainability, care requirements, and more.

Loyal, playful, and affectionate, Pomeranians burst with personality. These dainty but feisty little pups belong to the Spitz breed and are recognizable for their beautiful fluffy coat. Because of their fun and friendly nature, Pomeranians are great for families, and their size makes them suitable for city dwellers.

Want to know more about Pomeranians? Keep reading to find out more about the breed’s characteristics, care requirements, history, and everything else you need to know in order to become a great pet parent to your new four-legged friend.

Table of Contents

Pro Tip: Pet insurance is one of the first things you should think about when getting a new dog. Signing up your Pomeranian for pet health insurance will give you peace of mind and help cover the cost of unexpected vet bills. This means that you’ll always be able to give your beloved pet the healthcare it needs.

Pomeranian breed history

Pomeranians were developed in the province of Pomerania (today Germany and Poland). They are descendants of sled dogs from Lapland and Iceland and are the smallest member of the Spitz family of dogs. Dogs categorized as Spitz breeds, such as Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Huskies, are known for their wolf-like faces, curled tails, and pointy ears. Early Pomeranians were larger in size and could weigh as much as 30 pounds.

The breed arrived in England In the 18th century when Princess Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz married the future King George III. The breed’s popularity increased during the reign of Queen Victoria, who was especially fond of Pomeranians. It is also believed that this is when the Pomeranian started being bred down to a smaller size.

In the US, the breed became popular in the late 19th century. Pomeranians were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888 and today, they rank 23rd on AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds.

Pomeranian characteristics

Physical appearance

The average weight of a Pomeranian is between three and seven pounds or, to be more precise, from 6.1 to 11.4 pounds for males and 4.6 to 7.3 pounds for females. These little dogs are true representatives of the AKC toy group, reaching only eight to 11 inches in height at the shoulders.

Pomeranians are easily recognized by their foxy face, round head, and perky ears. Their bodies are somewhat square, and the tail is fluffy and curled up over the back.

Pomeranians boast a luxurious double coat complete with a thick ruff around the neck. The coat can come in a range of colors, such as:

  • Red
  • Red sable
  • Black
  • Black and brindle
  • Black and tan
  • White
  • Cream
  • Blue
  • Blue sable
  • Blue Merle
  • Blue and tan
  • Orange
  • Orange sable
  • Cream sable
  • Wolf sable
  • Tri-colored
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate merle
  • Chocolate sable
  • Chocolate and tan
  • Beaver
  • Beaver sable
  • Brindle
  • Blue brindle

Temperament and personality

The Pomeranian temperament is cheerful and friendly. According to the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), 77.80% of the Pomeranians tested passed the Temperament Test.

The members of this breed don’t seem to realize how small they are, so it’s not uncommon to see them bark at or even tackle larger dogs. With their alert attitude and tendency to bark, Pomeranians make great watchdogs. They generally get along well with other pets, but pet parents should be careful when mixing their Poms with larger breeds that might accidentally injure their toy dog.

happy pomeranian running

Pomeranians are usually good with children, especially if raised with them. However, children should always be supervised when spending time with any dog, especially when handling these small-statured dogs, and be reminded that Poms might not be as sturdy as larger dogs.

Average lifespan

The average life expectancy for a Pomeranian is between 12 and 16 years. The best way to increase the longevity of your Pomeranian is with proper care, diet, exercise, and regular veterinary visits for preventive care.

Pomeranian care tips

Training and exercise

Many pet parents wonder, 'are Pomeranians smart?' and the answer is yes, they are very smart and enjoy learning tricks and performing. They can be somewhat difficult to housebreak, so patience and consistency are crucial. Poms should not be allowed to jump on and off beds or sofas, as they can easily injure their joints or break a bone. These little dogs enjoy canine activities like rally, obedience, and agility, and are often used as therapy dogs.

Although Pomeranians are family companions and lapdogs, they do need some exercise in the form of running or playing.

Diet and nutrition

Pomeranians require small amounts of food. The exact amount per feeding will vary by the brand of food, but the best way to maintain a healthy weight is through meal-feeding, where a measured amount of food is given at regular intervals, most often twice a day. When choosing a dog food, consider your pet’s age, current weight, lifestyle, and other health conditions.

Some members of the breed can be finicky eaters. In general, Pomeranians are active, which can help with weight control. However, even one extra pound is significant for a Pom, so be sure to keep an eye on your pet's calorie consumption.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your Pom’s nutrition or weight, contact your vet and ask for recommendations specific to your pet.

pomeranian enjoying chew stick

Grooming requirements

Pomeranians have a rich double coat that requires frequent brushing in order to prevent matting (once or twice a week, with daily sessions during shedding season). They also need regular nail trimming, as well as teeth brushing.

If you are not comfortable doing this at home, consider finding a professional groomer to do a full groom including brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and checking ears and anal glands if needed every four to six weeks.

Living with a Pomeranian

Pomeranians are perfect for elderly folks or those having a busy schedule, as they don't need much pampering. They’re also great indoor pets, ideal for homes with small yards or apartments.

Pet parents should be careful when taking their Pomeranians out for a walk as they are notorious for escaping through cracks or even over small fences. They can easily be injured by larger dogs if a dog fight occurs and are at higher risk when off-leash.

Common Pomeranian health problems

Some health issues in dogs are more prevalent in certain breeds than others. Pomeranians, like all dogs, are prone to certain health conditions, including:

  • Hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes one or both hip joints to develop abnormally, often resulting in pain and lameness.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease a condition in which the head of the femur spontaneously begins to degenerate.
  • Luxating patella, a condition caused when the kneecap (patella) is not properly aligned. It can cause lameness or an abnormal gait.
  • Tracheal collapse, a chronic disease that affects the windpipe, causing mild to severe obstruction of the airway.
  • A variety of eye problems, including dry eye, cataracts, and tear duct issues. If untreated, these conditions can cause a variety of complications, including blindness.
  • Periodontal disease. Like all toy dog breeds, Pomeranians are prone to disease of the gums and teeth, which can lead to early tooth loss.
  • Some Pomeranians suffer from allergies and thyroid disease. Members of this breed might also develop epilepsy or suffer from seizures.

Proper care and regular checkups will help you prevent some of these issues or catch them before they become untreatable. Establishing a relationship with a primary care veterinarian early in your dog’s life is essential to keeping them healthy.

Pro Tip: Although Poms are generally healthy dogs, there are always risks - which is why Pomeranian pet insurance can be very helpful. Use Pawlicy Advisor to analyze personalized insurance quotes from top insurers and better understand how policy pricing relates to the breed-specific health risks.

Adopting or buying a Pomeranian dog

If you are thinking about getting a Pomeranian puppy, organizations like the American Pomeranian Club and Pomeranian Rescue can provide you with guidance and resources relating to the procedure.

If you are interested in similar toy breeds, consider looking into Papillon, Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, and Brussels Griffon.


Key Takeaways

  • The Pomeranian is a toy breed that makes an ideal family pet. Cuddly, playful, and lovable, these tiny pups can thrive even in homes with small yards and apartments.
  • Poms can be quite protective and wary of strangers, but socialization can help fix this. Pet parents should be careful when mixing their Poms with children and larger pets as they can easily get injured.
  • These fluffy little dogs love learning new tricks and participating in canine sports. They can also be a great little exercise buddy.
  • Pomeranians have a long fluffy coat that requires frequent brushing. They also need regular teeth brushing to prevent dental issues which are common in the breed.
  • Other health issues in Pomeranians include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, tracheal collapse, and eye problems. Purchasing a pet health insurance plan and establishing a relationship with a primary care veterinarian when your pet is a puppy can help to ensure they live a long and healthy life.

Kate Boatright, VMD

About the author

Kate Boatright, VMD

Associate Veterinarian, Freelance Speaker and Author - Penn-Ohio Veterinary Services and KMB Veterinary Media LLC

Dr. Kate Boatright, VMD, works as a small animal general practitioner, freelance speaker, and author in western Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with her veterinary degree in 2013, she has worked throughout Pennsylvania as both a general practice and emergency veterinarian. Both in the clinic and outside of it, Dr. Boatright enjoys building relationships with her clients and educating pet owners on how they can keep their pets as healthy as possible. She loves being a veterinarian and educating students and colleagues on wellness, communication, and the unique challenges facing recent graduates. Outside of the clinic, she is active in many veterinary organizations, enjoys running, watching movies, and playing games with her husband, son, and cats.

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