(aka: Deutscher Spitz Klein (small), Deutscher Mittel Spitz (standard), Deutscher Gross Spitz (giant))
The German Spitz is actually a close relative to the Pomeranian, resembling them closely in size and appearance. Spitz come in a variety of ways, different in colors as well as sizes. There are three sizes of the German Spitz: giant, standard and toy. The giant actually isn't giant at all compared to other Mastiffs and Samoyeds that developed around the same areas.
They are fluffy, highly-feathered dogs with perfectly proportioned bodies. They have a large coat that requires quite a bit of maintenance, but most are unable to resist their "smiling" faces. German Spitz are a confident breed, doing well in the show ring, as long as you can train them.
German Spitz Temperament
German Spitz are confident, refined, and are happy to join you on a long walk. They have been said to behave much like a child: anxious to please, yet still trying to get what they want. Some are not happy around strangers or strange dogs, and they are not easily trained. Some are yappy if not taught when barking is ok. German Spitz are alert, watchful and affectionate to their owners. They will enjoy exercising or cuddling by the fire. They have a hierarchy among the breed, allowing the youngest adult to play with puppies when a litter is present. They are happy and bouncy, always yearning for attention. They are active, intelligent and devoted to their owners. They are often reluctant towards grooming.
German Spitz require quite a bit of grooming, or their coat can get matted. They should receive vigorous daily brushing of the coat with a softer brush. Most grooming brushes for dogs are too harsh for this breed. They rarely need baths, and should not have a doggy odor.
In Europe, Spitz-type dogs were associated with the hunter gatherers of the first stone age, going back some 6000 years, but if we want to look for the origin specifically of the German Spitz, we turn to it's immediate forebear, the Turfspitz (canis familiaris palustris). In the Northern German plain that stretched from the Rhine to Vistula in the east and covering most of Denmark, was a very swampy area. People living in this area had to build their houses on stilts above the swamps and were buried in, what today has turned into peat-bogs. The remains of people and their dogs have been excavated from these peat-bogs and the dogs are believed to be the forerunners of the Wolfspitz. They were all in a remarkable state of preservation. There is evidence that people living from Bodensee, in Germany, to L.Ladoga (east of Leningrad) kept these dogs and, because house-dogs and herders were of the greatest use to non-nomadic people, it is believed that they set out to deliberately breed out the hunting instinct that characterizes dogs of nomads. Any one owning a Spitz could argue that they were only partially successful unless compared to the likes of the Beagle or Afghan breeds.
Prior to 1871 Germany did not exist in its present form, but consisted of small kingdoms, princedoms and dukedoms, whose boundaries, especially the further east they traveled, were constantly changing. It is not surprising to find that different countries developed different Spitz to suit their own needs. All of them came under the general name of "Mistbeller," a word which sounds charming to an English ear but which actually translates to "dung-hill barker." They were invariably dogs that would stand on top of the dung heap and bark.
In England the breed became popular in the 18th Century. When Queen Anne died in 1714, the great grandson of James I came to the throne. He was of course the elector of Hannover, better known as George I. His wife was German and his descendents also married German aristocrats bringing German visitors to the English court to visit. They brought with them the forerunners of today's German Spitz which became very fashionable and were know as "Pomeranians" as they were believed to originate from a place called Pommern. They did not resemble the breed known as a Pomeranian today however as they were much larger in size.
The decline of the breed in the UK is believed to have begun due to the First world war and along with many other German breeds went rapidly out of favor in the wave of patriotism that swept the country at this time.
Training should begin early in life, as they are not easily obedient. They need firm positive training, and if not trained they will probably yap a lot. They are easily bored with repetitive tasks, and therefore should be kept entertained.
Some health problems seen in the German Spitz include: dental problems, luxating patella, patent ductus arteriosus (congenital heart defect), PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), and tracheal collapse.