Pom-Poms are little fluffy balls with lively personalities. Affectionately called Tumbleweeds because of their shape and appearance of a tumbleweed with eyes.
They also go by Deutscher Spitz and Zwergspitz as a nod to their European ancestry.
Zwers might be a teeny toy breed, but they make wonderful watchdogs and have stolen the hearts of many, including royals and celebrities.
Discover the rich and colorful breed of the Dwarf-Spitz below!
Table of Contents
Where did the Pomeranian originate?
Pomeranians were named for Pomerania, an area now known as Poland and western Germany. They are a toy dog breed with a rich and complicated history.
It might not look it, but the Pom-dog was up to 23 lbs (10 kg) larger – almost the size of a small Husky, which incidentally, is their cousin.
A working breed that herded animals and pulled sleds, they are closely related to other Arctic spitz breeds such as the Samoyed, Malamute, and Norwegian Elkhound.
These Arctic dogs were likely descended from Icelandic Sheepdog and Finnish Lapphunds before being relocated and further developed in Europe.
This is where their story became quite muddied. Some believe that they were bred with the German Spitz. Others think that the Wolfshond or Keeshond was the original Pomeranians.
It is also rumored that the dogs that enamored Queen Victoria in Italy were Volpino Italianos, not Pomeranians.
Whatever the case, it was her grandmother, Queen Charlotte, who brought the first Pomeranians to the royal court. But, it was Queen Victoria who single-handedly brought the breed to prominence.
She began showing at dog shows and her passion for her little Pom-Poms influenced the nation. It could be her small 7.5 – 12 lbs (3.4 – 5.4 kg) specimens that contributed to the reason Pomeranians are such small dogs today.
They have also been companions to Marie Antoinette, Michaelangelo, Mozart, and even Isaac Newton. The King himself, Elvis Presley, also favored these tiny tots.
The breed made their rounds on the internet in recent years when it was discovered that Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, the giant man who played The Mountain on Game of Thrones, owned a tiny little dog.
They have been shown in the United States as far back as 1892 but the breed did not gain recognition until 1900, which was when the American Pomeranian Club was founded.
Fanciers took it upon themselves to better the breed’s aesthetics and so, these Arctic dogs that used to be white can now be found in a myriad of colors, with orange being the most popular when they began bagging champion titles in the 1920s.
What does a Pom-pom look like?
Being one of the spitz breeds, they have double coats and a gorgeous plumed tail that melts into their lush outer coat.
This top layer of fur is harsher than their soft undercoats. It’s what makes them look like little puffs.
They are also heavily feathered. According to the AKC, only the males are permitted to have thicker and longer coats.
Their fox-like faces feature intelligent eyes and erect ears. Their eyes can be hazel, brown, or even blue. But light blue eyes or heterochromia is a disqualifying trait.
They have a head that’s often described as a wedge, but there are some slight variations known only to enthusiasts of the breed.
Like humans, Poms can have different face shapes and breeders use these terms to help sell their pups.
Do note that since these nicknames aren’t regulated, they are often used interchangeably, especially in the case of Teddy Bear and Baby Doll. Different breeders might also have different definitions.
Pomeranian vs Teddy Bear Pomeranian
The reason why these dogs are referred to as Teddy Bears is that they have the ideal bone structure and face shape to carry off the Teddy Bear cut.
They have extremely short snouts and their muzzle to skull ratio is closer to 1:3 or 1:4, instead of the standard 1:2. They often have breathing problems caused by their excessively short muzzles.
Pomeranian vs Fox Face Pomeranian
Fox Face Pomeranians have longer muzzles and usually have larger ears. They can also lack a pronounced stop between the skull and muzzle, which is considered an attractive trait in the breed.
In Fox Face Pomeranians, the muzzle to skull ratio can be closer to 1:1. They also don’t have the fluffy cheeks to give them that full-faced look.
Pomeranian vs Baby Doll Face Pomeranian
Baby Doll Face Pomeranians have a defined stop and best conform to the breed standard. They have V-shaped muzzles that give them a foxy appearance.
Their muzzle to skull ratio often lies around 1:2, which is the ideal.
Size: How big does a Pomeranian dog get?
These yappy dogs are wonderful apartment dogs if your neighbor doesn’t mind the noise.
A house with yard access is also nice since these dogs are quite the busy-body and love wandering all over the place. The yard should be secure from burglars and birds of prey because Poms are easy to whisk away.
These little dogs should be as tall as they are long. They range from 3 to 7 lbs (1.36 – 3.17 kg) and are 8 to 14 inches (20 – 36 cm). Females can be slightly bigger so that they can whelp with ease.
Pom-poms fill out relatively quickly. When they are born, they can be 2.5 – 6.5 oz (0.07 – 0.18 kg) at birth and hit 15 – 53 oz by the time they are 3 months old.
Most puppies stop growing when they are 10 months old and will be at their adult weight.
Are there different sizes of Pomeranians?
There are no official sizes that the AKC recognizes, but breeders and fanciers often use certain terminology to differentiate the different breed variations.
Some purebred Poms are much smaller than the standard Pomeranian, and they are called Teacup Poms. Some are bigger than the breed standard and are referred to as Throwback Poms.
According to the AKC, the standard size falls between 3 to 7 (1.36 – 3.17 kg) lbs.
Any dog that’s smaller than 3 lbs (1.36 kg) is considered a Teacup Pomeranian. They are often frail and suffer from health issues such as organ failure. You can read more about them here.
Since Poms used to be much bigger, it’s possible for a litter to throw bigger pups that can grow up to 20 lbs (9 kg) or more.
Coat / Hair
These spitz-type dogs have a proud look due to their coats. The long guard hairs come together to create a furry bib around their necks, almost like a mane.
This is called a ruff. While their top layer gives them their fluff, it should be coarse and never cottony. It is their undercoat that is soft to the touch.
Pomeranians come in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Unlike the French Bulldog, these color variations are part of the American Kennel Club breed standard.
Poms can be Merle, Brindle, Irish Marked, Sable, or have a combination of markings such as Black and Tan, Parti, or Tri-Colored. Their base color can be Beaver, Red, Orange, Cream, White, Blue, Chocolate, or Black.
Some dogs can have masks, like the Orange Sable or Wolf Sable. Read our guide to take a look at all of their fascinating shades.
Something that you should know is that all Pomeranians go through the puppy uglies. This happens when they are around 4 – 6 months of age and they molt their puppy coat.
When their coat grows back, you might be surprised to find your Black Pom turning Wolf Sable or Chocolate. Many Pomeranians don’t match the color that’s written on their papers for this reason.
Not only do Poms change color drastically, about 80% of Pomeranians that go through this process also lose their coat.
It can be quite alarming, especially for new Pom owners who weren’t expecting them to go bald. For the remaining 20%, this change is gradual and many owners don’t even notice it.
Their adult coat should be fully grown in by the time they are 12 – 15 months old, but this isn’t the end of their shedding.
The girls shed when they’re in heat, after having puppies, and at the turn of the seasons. Male dogs usually shed less than females, even during molting season.
Temperament: Are Pomeranians good pets?
Tumbleweeds look fox-like, and they sure are as smart as one. They are also enormously curious and have the heart of a lion.
Not only do they lavish being in the center of attention like a king, but they also aren’t afraid of going head-on with a large dog. With proper socialization, Poms can get along quite well with everyone and other animals.
You should always supervise your Pom if you have a bigger dog at home. Just don’t be surprised if your big dog follows your Pom around like a little puppy.
While they are a child-friendly size, they shouldn’t be left alone with young children. Pomeranians can be quite delicate and won’t tolerate being handled roughly.
They do make good playmates for older children who know how to behave.
Their friendly and affectionate nature actually makes them great as therapy dogs. They are intuitive and kind. Just take a look at Zen, a Pomeranian who took it upon himself to guide around a blind American Eskimo.
These loyal dogs can be quite protective of their owners and will often alert the household to anything that piques their interest.
As you can see, these alert and inquisitive pooches can make amazing watchdogs in spite of their size.
Now, some Pommie owners believe that females make better companions, while others disagree and say male Poms are better.
A male who hasn’t been fixed might be rowdier, especially when there’s a female in heat. They are also likely to mark, but unneutered females can also mark.
The general consensus is that males are indeed more loving.
This doesn’t mean those female Poms aren’t, but they are little busybodies and will likely wander off when they no longer have your attention, whereas male Pomeranians will hang around and nuzzle you.
Let us know in the comments if it’s your female that’s more affectionate!
Do Pomeranian dogs bark a lot?
These small dogs can be incessant barkers if left unchecked. Probably one of the best things you can do is for them (and yourself) is to teach them to bark and stop on command.
The good news is the Pomeranians are quite independent and have no trouble being left alone for extended periods of time.
They very rarely develop separation anxiety, but many Pom lovers end up getting more than one, so their balls of fluff have a constant companion.
If you are planning to get two Poms, it’s advisable to get one first. Once she’s obedient and properly bonded, you can consider getting another puppy.
It can be quite difficult to handle two puppies at once, especially for first-time owners.
Poms are very smart and can get quite willful without training but they are extremely in sync with their owners and can pick up new tricks quickly. One problem that pawrents face is toilet-training.
Small breeds get a bad rep because they have accidents frequently. This is because they have such tiny bladders, especially as puppies, that they are unable to hold it in.
It’s recommended to crate-train them until they are housebroken before giving them free rein, especially if you have a pool in your home.
These dogs do not do well in deep pools, rivers, or the sea. Swimming takes a lot of energy and they’d do better in a shallow splash-pool instead.
How to take care of your Pom-Pom
Never shave your Pomeranian, even if you’re going through a heatwave. Their coat might look extremely hot, but it provides protection from both the heat and cold.
If you do notice her overheating, such as panting excessively and fatigue, take her out of the sun immediately.
Exercising your Pomeranian
These fun-loving Tumbleweeds are more than happy to match your energy level and follow you on your hikes or conquer the great outdoors with you.
They don’t understand how delicate they really are and would do better with short sessions of daily activity.
This works well because they have short attention spans and won’t want to play fetch hours on end. A quick 5 to 10-minute game is enough to burn off their energy and use their stimulation quota for the next couple of hours.
Optimally, their daily walks should be around 15 – 20 minutes. Enough time to satisfy their urge to explore, but not so long that they get worn out. All dogs can get zoomies, but with Poms, they are exceptionally cute.
Take a look at Yuki as she speeds around the house with her puppy enthusiasm:
Grooming: Do Pomeranian dogs shed?
Pommies might look like they would be hard to groom, but if you comb them twice a week, you should have no problems keeping their coats tangle and matt free.
However, dirt and debris get stuck in their thick coats as if it is made from velcro. It’s maddening and owners often have a hard time keeping them clean, especially if they love playing outdoors.
Poms can be given a bath every 3 weeks if necessary, but it’s best to only shower them when they really need it.
If they are smelling funky or feeling slightly sticky, you should give them a thorough bath, leaving no strand of fur unwashed.
They should never be allowed to dry naturally as this could cause mats and tangles to form. Instead, pat them dry and use a hairdryer. This can also help keep shedding to a minimum during molting season.
You need to make sure that you comb out the roots, instead of just brushing their ends. Nail clipping, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing should be done regularly.
Many pet owners turn to the groomers to keep their furkid’s coat manageable. There are many different kinds of cuts that a Pomeranian can carry off.
You can make them look like a lion or turn back the clock and make them look like a puppy again. For a period of time, everyone wanted a teddy bear cut thanks to Boo the insta-famous pup.
Given their profuse fur, this is not a hypoallergenic breed.
Feeding / Pomeranian Food Consumption
The great thing about having a small dog is that they eat very little. One bag of dog food can stretch for a long time, especially when you’re feeding ¼ – ½ cups of kibble per day.
Since their stomachs are so small, you might want to split it into two meals, but some owners allow their dog to free feed.
It’s very tempting to share whatever you’re eating with your dog, but Pomeranians are so small that tiny quantities of toxic food can be fatal to them.
You want to stay away from grapes and chocolate. Not only could they potentially choke on grapes, but grapes and raisin are lethal to all dogs.
Also, you don’t want to feed her into obesity. An occasional treat is fine, but giving her table scraps at every meal might not be the healthiest option.
What health problems do Pomeranians have?
Pomeranians are lap dogs with minimal health conditions but there are a few that plague the breed.
Do note that this doesn’t mean that every Pomeranian will develop these problems, but it’s good to be aware of what they are most likely to contract, especially if you’re considering one.
Hip dysplasia affects many breeds, especially big dogs. While Poms are no longer the sled dogs that they once were, they can still be susceptible to this disease.
However, unlike bigger breeds, they can still lead relatively normal lives without any further intervention.
Legg-Perthes disease is a joint problem that toy breeds are prone to. This often sets in around 4 – 6 months of age and your puppy will begin limping and their hind leg muscles will atrophy.
Fortunately, there’s a quick fix with surgery.
Another joint-related health issue comes from a luxating patella. This happens due to a malformed knee joint that causes their kneecap to slide out of place.
Patellar luxation can be crippling, but most dogs don’t let it affect them. You might notice your furry friend walking on three legs if they suffer from this disorder.
Other problems the breed can face are eye and dental problems, alopecia, or black skin disease which causes hair loss, hypothyroidism, and allergies.
A collapsed trachea is common in Pom-dogs. A honking cough could be a sign of a collapsed trachea and it can be treated either with medication or with surgery.
It often happens when they pull against a collar, which is why it’s better to use a body harness with these dogs.
When you have a young puppy, you want to watch out for hypoglycemia which can be fatal. This is basically low blood sugar and your pup will react by being lethargic, cold, and will usually tremble.
When this happens, immediately wrap them up and give them some glucose. If they don’t respond within 10 minutes, go to the vet immediately.
Poms, like any other small breed, are quite long-lived. If you got your puppy from a reputable breeder, their expected lifespan is between 12 – 16 years.
It’s not rare for dogs to outlive their life expectancy. The oldest Pomeranian, Coty, lived for 21 years and 8 months.
How much does a Pomeranian puppy cost?
Fun fact: A pair of Pomeranians are called a Puff, a group of three and above is called a Tuft.
At 1 – 4 puppies, Pomeranians don’t have big litters. They might even require assistance with delivery, so they don’t come cheap. You might find yourself forking out $1800 – $6000 for a well-bred puppy.
A good breeder is a lifelong mentor. You should be able to go to them if you have any problems with your dog and they should be as happy to help you out.
Getting your puppy from the right breeder will ensure that she has a long and healthy life.
When you find a breeder, always visit them at their kennel so you can get acquainted with them and more importantly, their dogs.
Puppy temperaments seldom differ too much from their parents, so you can get a good idea of how they will behave.
You can find a reputable breeder through the AKC’s marketplace, or via word of mouth. You can also check out the following kennels and decide whether they are for you:
Pomeranian rescue / for adoption
Poms often end up in the shelter because of changes in the family such as relocation or new addition in the family.
They could also have been abandoned because their owners couldn’t keep up with their feisty personalities or continue investing the time needed to care for these little fluffballs.
Adopting a dog means that you’re giving a dog a second chance at a happy home. Don’t adopt unless you are sure that you can commit to taking care of a Pomeranian.
- Rescue Me Animal Network (Watkinsville, GA)
- Recycled Poms (Dallas, TX)
- Second Chance Poms (Santa Fe, TX)
Who should get a Pomeranian?
Pomeranians are like Pringles, you can’t just have one. These independent pooches have an addictive personality and it’s impossible not to want more.
They are a great choice for first-time owners but will require lots of attention when it comes to training and grooming.
Their small size is their downfall, these fragile dogs need constant supervision or risk being carried off by a bird. They also shed like mad.
Further reading: Pomeranian Mixes
If you love the idea of the Pomeranian but are unable to commit to their small size or grooming needs, perhaps you can go for a designer breed instead.
There are plenty of Pom-mixes that are gaining popularity, but make sure you do your research before you bring one home!