The dainty little Pomeranian dog sparkles with character and friendliness. They look like miniature foxes, with an outercoat that has long, erect hairs and a thick undercoat, giving them the appearance of a ball of fluff. Pomeranians come in many attractive colours – see the breed standard for details. Adult dogs measure between 18-30cm depending on build and type. The ideal weight for adult males is 1.8-2kg and for females 2-2.5kg.
Pomeranian dogs (or 'Poms') are almost certainly descended from the sledge-pulling dogs of the Arctic and are probably related to the Keeshond, Norwegian Elkhound and the Samoyed. The first reliable records of the breed came from Pomerania, a region bordering the Baltic, and date from the 1800s, although these dogs were much larger (around 13kg). Litters of around 10 puppies were being born and soon the smallest of these were preferred. By the mid 1800s, the breed had spread to other European countries and in 1888 Queen Victoria fell in love with the breed, which encouraged the Pomeranian dog breed's popularity. British breeders then bred them for a smaller size with more and more coat.
They are lively and energetic little dogs who are very loyal to their families. Pomeranians love to be carried about and handled but do not overdo this, as they need to stand on their own four feet! They make excellent watch dogs, as they are very vocal. Despite their gentle and affectionate natures, care must be taken, especially with younger children, as they are quite fragile and leg fractures are not unheard of in the breed.
Like many small breeds, the Pomeranian can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). Other common problems in Poms are eye conditions, a disorder causing hairloss and a windpipe problem that causes coughing.
Pomeranians are very undemanding in their exercise requirements and are quite happy with short walks or a run in the garden with their owners. They are able, however, to walk quite a distance before becoming tired.
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
During adolescence extra grooming is required to assist the coat change of the Pomeranian, but once this has happened, grooming can be reduced to a couple of times a week. Check regularly for matting in the undercoat. Do not use too fine a comb, as this will damage the undercoat and spoil the fullness. The coat should be well combed with a coarse comb and then lightly brushed. Occasional trimming is required around the feet.