The Japanese Spitz: Everything You Need to Know

The Japanese Spitz is a companion dog that loves being around people, has a luxurious white coat, and is often described as a little comedian.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the Japanese Spitz, from its history and traits to its personality and health.

History and Origin of the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is probably a descendant of the white-coated German Spitz dogs brought to Japan in the 1920s. The exact history of the breed is a mystery since most records were destroyed during World War II. 

Early Beginnings in Japan

During its early years, the Japanese Spitz was strictly bred to maintain its white coat and distinctive features. The breeders would carefully select dogs that possessed the desired traits, helping maintain the breed’s unique appearance.

As the breed grew in popularity, it became more accessible to the general public. People began to appreciate the Japanese Spitz’s loyal and affectionate nature, which made it an ideal family pet. 

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The club to recognize the breed was the Japanese Kennel Club. The United Kennel Club recognized the Japanese Spitz in 2006, while the American Kennel Club has only accepted it in its Foundation Stock Service. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Size and Weight

The Japanese Spitz is a small to medium-sized dog breed that typically stands at about 12 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder. Breed members usually weigh around 10 to 25 pounds, with males generally being larger than females.

Coat and Color

One of the most striking features of the Japanese Spitz is its beautiful, fluffy white fur. The breed’s coat is thick, soft, and straight, with a thick undercoat that keeps them warm in colder climates. 

The Japanese Spitz is strictly bred for its white coat and should not have any other colors or markings. The dog’s coat requires regular grooming to keep its lustrous, fluffy, and shiny look. 

Distinctive Features

Despite the small size, the Japanese Spitz is a sturdy and muscular breed. It has a well-proportioned body and a broad chest. The tail is curled over the back, adding to the dog’s overall grace and elegance. 

The Japanese Spitz has almond-shaped and dark brown eyes with a friendly and alert expression. Its ears are small and triangular, standing erect on top of its head.

Personality and Temperament

Their friendly and affectionate nature makes the Japanese Spitz an ideal companion pet. It is known for its loyalty and devotion to its owners, and it is an excellent watchdog. Breed members are also highly adaptable and can thrive in both urban and rural environments.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Japanese Spitz is highly intelligent and loves to learn new things. It responds well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrives on mental stimulation. 

Japanese Spitzes are natural problem-solvers and enjoy figuring out puzzles and challenges. When not properly stimulated, breed members get bored and destructive. 

Social and Affectionate Nature

The Japanese Spitz is a social and affectionate breed that loves spending time with its family. It has a playful and outgoing personality and gets along well with children and other pets. 

The Japanese Spitz is not typically aggressive towards strangers, but it may be wary of them at first. It’s important to socialize it early on to prevent fear or aggression towards new people.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

While the Japanese Spitz is an active breed, it does not require intense physical exercise. A daily walk and some light playtime in the backyard should be enough to keep breed members happy and healthy.

They also enjoy playing games and participating in activities with their owners, such as agility training and obedience competitions. They provide mental stimulation as well as physical exercise, which is important for overall well-being.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Some common health issues in the Japanese Spitz include:

  • Orthopedic Conditions: The breed is prone to patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia
  • Eye problems: The most common eye issues in the breed are cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To keep your Japanese Spitz healthy, it’s important to provide it with regular veterinary care. This includes yearly check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative treatments like flea & tick medication and deworming. 

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Japanese Spitz is between 10 and 14 years on average. With proper care and regular veterinary checkups, many members of the breed reach their golden years. 


The Japanese Spitz is a cute and fun-loving dog best known for its fluffy white fur and friendly temperament. Because of these traits, it makes a beloved pet for families and individuals.  

Whether you’re considering getting a Japanese Spitz or are simply curious about the breed, we hope that this guide has provided you with everything you need to know about the Japanese Spitz.

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