The German Spitz: Everything You Need to Know

Are you considering adding a German Spitz to your family? This small and charming breed has a fascinating history, adorable physical features, and an energetic personality.

In this article, we will provide you with all the necessary information to help you decide if the German Spitz is right for you. From the breed’s origins to its health and lifespan, we cover it all.

History and Origin of the German Spitz

The German Spitz has a long and interesting history that dates back to the Middle Ages. This breed was originally developed in Germany to serve as a watchdog, alerting its owners to any potential danger.

The German Spitz is known for its thick, fluffy coat and pointed ears, which make it a unique and recognizable breed. This breed has been depicted in numerous paintings and literary works, including Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Initial Purpose and Breed Name 

The German Spitz was first mentioned in 1450 when Count Eberhard Zu Sayn described it as “a valiant defender of the home and fields.” The breed was widespread in the Province of Pomerania, hence the modern name Pomeranian. 

Despite the small size, the German Spitz was excellent at watchdog duties – it was alert and noisy, hence alarming the owner of any potential danger. Breed members would sit high and watch for unusual signs. 

Interestingly, because of their high-pitched barks and noisy nature, in their native Germany, breed members were called “mistbeller,” which in translation means “dung-hill barkers.”

Development of the Breed 

The German Spitz started as a peasant’s dog but eventually became a favorite among England’s royalty. The breed was introduced when George I took the throne and his German wife’s visitors brought the dogs as a present. 

During World War I, the breed’s population suffered devastating losses and it was on the brink of extinction. Then, in the 1970s, devoted breeders worked hard and managed to save the breed. 

Kennel Club Recognition 

The German Spitz was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 2006. The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed in its Foundation Stock Service in 1996 and allows it to participate in AKC events since 2010.

Today, the German Spitz is a beloved family pet known for its loyalty and affection, as well as their intelligence and trainability. It is also popular in dog shows, where its unique appearance and charming personality it a crowd favorite.

Physical Characteristics of the German Spitz

Size and Weight

The German Spitz comes in three size variants: 

  • Toy: 8 to 12 inches (height) and 10 to 11 pounds (weight)
  • Medium: 12 to 16 inches (height) and 15 to 25 pounds (weight)
  • Large: 16 to 20 inches (height) and 30 to 50 pounds (weight)

Coat and Colors

One of the most striking features of the German Spitz is its thick and fluffy coat. The coat comes in different colors, including white, black, cream, orange, brown, red, black & tan, and wolfgray.

The coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and shedding. German Spitz dogs shed moderately throughout the year, but they have heavy shedding seasons twice a year.

Facial Features and Expression

The German Spitz has a fox-like appearance, with pointy ears. The almond-shaped eyes are dark and expressive, and the nose is usually black or brown. It has a bright and curious expression that reflects their intelligent and lively nature. 

Temperament and Personality Traits

The German Spitz is a playful, energetic, and affectionate dog. It loves to be around its owners and has a strong pack mentality. Despite the small size, the breed is feisty and tenacious. 

Breed members are also very vocal and bark at anything that they perceive as a threat or as something that is out of the ordinary. The barking tendency trait makes them excellent watchdogs, but it can also be a nuisance. 

Intelligence and Trainability

The German Spitz is an intelligent dog that loves to learn new things. It excels in obedience training and agility thanks to its energetic and curious nature. It responds well to positive reinforcement training methods such as treats, praise, and playtime.

It is important to note that German Spitzes can be stubborn at times, which can make training a bit challenging. However, with patience and consistency, they can be trained to do just about anything.

Socialization and Friendliness

The German Spitz is known for being friendly and social. They get along well with children and other pets, but they can be wary of strangers. Early socialization is crucial to ensure they become well-adjusted dogs.

Socialization will help them develop good behavior around other animals and people. When socialized correctly, German Spitzes can become great playmates for other dogs and pets. 

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The German Spitz is an energetic breed that requires regular exercise to remain healthy and happy. Daily walks and playtime in a fenced yard are essential for this breed. They love to play fetch, run around, and explore their environment.

It is important to note that German Spitzes can become destructive and develop behavioral issues if they do not receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. They need to be kept busy and engaged to prevent boredom.

Health and Lifespan of the German Spitz

Common Health Issues

The German Spitz is prone to several health issues, including:

  • Patellar Luxation: An orthopedic condition in which the kneecap pops out, causing severe pain and lameness on the affected leg 
  • Eye Diseases: The breed is susceptible to eye problems such as cataracts, retinal dysplasia (RD), and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Dental Problems: Like all small dogs, the breed is likely to suffer from plaque and tartar build-up, followed by periodontal disease 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventative care, including regular dental checkups, vaccinations, and flea and tick prevention, is crucial for the German Spitz. Regular checkups with the veterinarian can help detect any potential health issues early on.

Expected Lifespan

The German Spitz has an average lifespan of between 13 and 15 years when properly cared for, making it a long-term companion for any family.


German Spitz dogs are delightful companions known for their charming personalities and adorable physical features. If you are looking for a breed that is loyal, intelligent, and energetic, this may be the perfect breed for you.

Remember to give the German Spitz plenty of exercise, socialization, and preventative care to ensure a long, healthy, and happy life. Also, always get your German Spitz puppy from a reputable breeder. 

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