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The Pomeranian (often known as a Pom or Pom Pom) is a breed of dog of the Spitz type that is named for the Pomerania region in Germany and Poland in Central Europe. Classed as a toy dog breed because of its small size, the Pomeranian is descended from the larger Spitz type dogs, specifically the German Spitz. It has been determined by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale to be part of the German Spitz breed; and in many countries, they are known as the Zwergspitz (“Dwarf-Spitz”).
The breed has been made popular by a number of royal owners since the 18th century. Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian and consequently the smaller variety became universally popular. During Queen Victoria’s lifetime alone, the size of the breed decreased by half. Overall, the Pomeranian is a sturdy, healthy dog. The most common health issues are luxating patella and tracheal collapse. More rarely, the breed can suffer from Alopecia X, a skin condition colloquially known as “black skin disease”. This is a genetic disease which causes the dog’s skin to turn black and lose all or most of its hair. As of 2013, in terms of registration figures, since at least 1998, the breed has ranked among the top twenty most popular breeds in the USA, and the current fashion for small dogs has increased their popularity worldwide.
The earliest examples of the breed were white or occasionally brown or black. Queen Victoria adopted a small red Pomeranian in 1888, which caused that color to become fashionable by the end of the 19th century. In modern times, the Pomeranian comes in the widest variety of colors of any dog breed, including white, black, brown, red, orange, cream, blue, sable, black and tan, brown and tan, spotted, brindle, plus combinations of those colors. The most common colors are orange, black or cream/white.
The merle Pomeranian is a recent color developed by breeders. It is a combination of a solid base color with lighter blue/grey patch which gives a mottled effect. The most common base colors for the effect are red/brown or black, although it can also appear with other colors. Combinations such as brindle merle or liver merle are not accepted in the breed standard. In addition, the eye, nose and paw pad are marshmallow color, changing parts of the eye to blue and the color on the nose and paw pads to become mottled pink and black.
Pomeranians have a thick, double coat. While grooming is not difficult, breeders recommend that it be done daily to maintain the quality of the coat and because of its thickness and the constant shedding, with trimming every 1–2 months. The outer coat is long, straight, and harsh in texture while the undercoat is soft, thick and short. The coat knots and tangles easily, particularly when the undercoat is being shed, which happens twice a year.
Pomeranians are typically friendly, playful and lively; but they can be aggressive with other dogs to try to prove themselves. Pomeranians are alert and aware of changes in their environment, and barking at new stimuli can develop into a habit of barking excessively in any situation. They are somewhat defensive of their territory and thus may bark when they hear outside noises. Pomeranians are intelligent, respond well to training, and can be very successful in getting what they want from their owners. They are extroverted and enjoy being the center of attention, but they can become dominant if not well trained and socialized. The use of toys can be an effective tool in training Pomeranians to spend time alone.
The Pomeranian is a small but energetic breed of dog. Although Pomeranians benefit from frequent attention, they need relatively little exercise: it is recommended to take them on a short daily walk or let them run around an enclosed space.