The German Spitz is a compact dog breed has a wedge-shaped head, pricked ears, a double coat, and a distinct bushy tail that curls and rests over its back. The German Spitz is officially recognised by the Kennel Club and registered as a utility dog.
The German Spitz is full of life and has a playful personality but can be quite independent and stubborn which makes him difficult to train. The German Spitz’s alertness and barking tendencies make him a capable watchdog.
The German Spitz has a double coat so expect heavy shedding twice a year. Daily brushing is necessary to remove old hair. Weekly grooming is requires prevent mats and knots from forming.
The German spitz is believed to have descended from the Samoyed ancestry that was bred with other Nordic herding dogs. Reports suggest that the breed was brought to Holland and Germany when the Vikings invaded the lands during the Middle Ages. The German spitz quickly spread across Europe and was bred with local herding dogs, and the offspring is the foundation of the German spitz that we see today.
The German spitz became widely popular in the 1700s when it was utilised as a fashion accessory by the British society led by Queen Victoria, who was its huge fan. Although at that time it was debated whether the Queen owned a Pomeranian or a German spitz, it was later confirmed that it was the latter. With Queen Victoria's ascent to the throne, more breeders bred smaller dogs to develop toy breeds such as the German spitz. All their efforts led them to develop a dog that was to become the Pomeranian.
The German spitz’s popularity slowly declined during World War I, but was redeveloped in Europe in the 1970s. In 2006, the breed was officially recognised by the United Kennel Club as having two varieties: Klein and Mittel. Later in 2009, the American Kennel Club followed suit with its recognition and breed acceptance.
Appearance and Grooming
The German spitz has two varieties: Klein (small) and the Mittel (medium). It weighs 7–22 pounds and stands 18–55 centimetres at the withers. This type of dog breed has a compact build with a typical spitz appearance such as its foxlike head and a bushy tail that curls over its back. It has small, triangular ears that sit erect on top of its head. Eyes should be dark and alert with a curious expression. Its body must be small but sturdy, never fragile or delicate.
When it comes to its coat, the German spitz should sport a thick and medium-length double coat with short and plush hair on the head. The coat is comprised of a long and harsh topcoat and a soft and woolly undercoat. The coat around its neck and chest is somewhat abundant.
The coat comes in a variety of colours, including black, white, and shades of cream, orange, gold, blue, brown, and sable. The coat can be particoloured with a white base and shades of colours mentioned above, or it can be bicoloured in black and tan. Since the German spitz has a double coat, it tends to shed its undercoat twice a year. Brushing daily will take care to prevent tangles and mats from forming. It is also important to have its coat trimmed occasionally, which is best to leave to a professional groomer. Aside from coat care, basic care such as trimming the nails every few weeks, brushing the teeth with a vet-approved toothpaste, and cleaning the ears will make sure that the German spitz will be in good health overall.
Temperament and Intelligence
The German spitz is an excitable, animated dog that is at the same time independent. It is smart with a good sense of humour; however, it can be difficult to live with if one is unfamiliar with the breed. Like most of the spitz breeds, the German spitz can be a nuisance barker when bored, so make sure to give it plenty of attention, a job to do, and toys to keep it busy. However, this tendency to bark excessively also makes it an excellent watchdog.
When it comes to training, it has a stubborn streak, so it can prove to be a bit challenging unless you can keep training fun with lots of positive reinforcements. The German spitz is smart and has a mind of its own, which often means it may want things its way. It will be great around children when it is socialised early and properly raised to be a well-rounded dog. However, any interaction between this breed and small children must be well-supervised to make sure no one gets hurt when play becomes too boisterous.
The German spitz has a strong prey drive, albeit it was not bred as a hunting dog. It tends to attack smaller pets like bird, hamster, ferret, and cat, but it can get along well with cats if they were raised together.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult German spitz is 2.2 cups of quality dry dog food daily, split into two meals to avoid bloat. Make sure to feed it with a balanced diet that is tailored to its size, age, weight, metabolism, and activity level. Always consult a veterinarian for dietary and nutritional assistance.
Typical daily calorie needs of an adult German spitz that weighs 15 pounds:
- Senior and less active: up to 475 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 530 calories daily
- Physically active/working dog: up to 6000 calories daily
The German spitz requires high-quality food formulated for its small size. There are countless numbers of trusted dog food brands in the market, but to make sure that you are giving it the best, find a brand that is highly recommended by veterinarians.
Health and Exercise
The German spitz is a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of fourteen to eighteen years. However, all dogs can potentially develop or inherit genetic diseases. These diseases or health issues include the following: eye disease, epilepsy, patellar luxation, and mouth and dental problems.
It is an energetic little breed, but it does not require a great deal of daily exercise other than a thirty-minute walk daily to meet its exercise requirements. It will also need plenty of mental stimulation to make it happy as well as keep it from destructive behaviour caused by boredom. The German spitz will also love to run around as often as possible to use up its energy. With this said, make sure that the back garden fence is secure to prevent the dog from escaping.
Cost of Ownership
If you want to raise a German Spitz, be ready to pay anything from £300 to £900 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. Part of keeping a dog is ensuring that it stays healthy and well-fed. When it comes to feeding, you will need to spend £40 to £50 a month on high-quality dog food. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be about £200 depending on the brand.
As to healthcare you need to be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some bills if you get a pet insurance, which can range from £20 for a time-limited cover up to £40 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.
Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £800-£1000 annually. Roughly, you will be setting aside £70–£100 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose for your dog.
German Spitz Breed Highlights
- The German spitz is a small dog with a distinct plumed or bushy tail.
- It is a nuisance barker, which makes it an excellent watchdog.
- The German spitz is a smart, energetic, and confident dog breed.
- It sheds heavily and will require daily brushing and occasional trimming.
- It has a stubborn streak, which will prove to be a challenge during training.
- It gets on well with children and can only get along with cats when socialised early.
Are you sure the German Spitz is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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