German Spitz Dogs Information And Characteristics

In the FCI, term German Spitz actually represents a group of five very similar Spitz type dogs that originated in Germany – the Wolfspitz, Grossspiz, Mittelspitz, Kleinspitz, and Zwergspitz. These five varieties of dogs have more or less identical personalities, but they differentiate in size, weight, and color of their coats. The Grossspiz, Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz are oldest of these dog breeds. They are descendants of Spitz type herding dogs brought into Europe by Vikings somewhere around 1450. During the following hundred years, these Nordic dogs have evolved through selective breeding into the first three variants of German Spitz dogs. The Wolfspitz and Zwergspitz are actually descendants of these initial German Spitzes, as well as Volpino Italiano, American Eskimo Dog, and Japanese Spitz. Unfortunately, today these younger breeds are slowly but surely replacing authentic German breeds, whose numbers are constantly dwindling.

Common Traits For All German Spitz Dog Varieties

All five German Spitz dog varieties are a part of the European Spitz group in the FCI class of primitive dogs. Although different in temperament to some degree, these dogs have many things in common. First of all, they are excellent family companions, who enjoy being in the human company as often as possible. They are always ready to please their owners since they are very loyal, and will follow them everywhere. Also, German Spitzes crave for attention all the time and will do everything they can in order to get it, even if that means doing something not so nice. Well, that depends on your manners and the way you treat your dog. Like all other dogs “addicted” to their human families, these can’t stand being alone. So, if for some reason you must leave your dog for a longer period of time, it would be wise to buy him some toys. This way you can be sure he won’t make any mess.

Keeshonden are often used as therapy and guide dogs

I love you dear humans :)

All German Spitz dogs share some common characteristics, such as intelligence, agility, cheerfulness, playfulness, alertness, loyalty, resourcefulness, boldness, independence, and curiosity. They like to roam a lot and explore the surroundings. These dogs are generally nice with other pets and dogs, especially if they grow up together. Otherwise, it would be wise to socialize your dog as soon as possible. This way you will also prevent him becoming too shy or timid. German Spitzes are often very active, they are literally able to run and play all day long. That’s why you will have to exercise your dog a lot. So, doesn’t matter which German Spitz you have, long walk at least once a day is a must. Also, you can take a ball or frisbee, if you have, and play with him together with other members of your household. Remember, regular daily exercise is important for dog’s mental and physical health!

German Spitz Dogs Training And Some Other Facts

The German Spitz dogs are known to be very agile and dexterous. They have quick reflexes, they can do all sorts of escapades, and can jump incredibly high for their size. With adequate training, these dogs can successfully compete in obedience and agility trials. When it comes to their training, every owner will have to take a role of a dominant and persistent leader with a calm attitude. It is important to act smart and carefully with these dogs since they are very sensitive to forceful methods – you will have to always use positive reinforcement training. This way only, you will be able to teach your German Spitz every command you want. The good thing is that these dogs are very intelligent! If interested enough, they will learn every command with ease. Just start with training sessions as soon as you bring your puppy home and there won’t be any trouble.

The cheerful and playful nature of all German Spitz dogs is the reason they are known as good children’s companions. They love to chase and run around, so I’m sure kids will have a lot of fun with every one of these dogs. However, they are very sensitive to any sort of mistreatment and can become quite nervous, so parents should be careful in these situations. Anyway, with proper handling any German Spitz can be an ideal pet for every family with kids. Also, all German Spitzes are excellent watchdogs, even the smallest of them – the Kleinspitz and Zwergspitz. They will alert you with a loud and long bark when somebody approaches your property. However, they are not aggressive and won’t bite. These dogs are unfortunately prone to excessive barking, so make sure you teach your dog, at least, one command to stop it. With that being said, we will examine each German Spitz dog separately.

Grossspitz or Giant German Spitz is the biggest of three authentic German Spitzes

Gracious Grossspitz

Grossspiz Dog Info And Personality

The Grossspiz/Großspitz or Giant/Large German Spitz is one of three authentic German Spitz varieties, and, as its name suggests, it is the largest of them. However, when we take into account all five dogs in this group, it is a bit smaller than Wolfspitz. This dog, like two other variants of German Spitz dogs – the Standard German Spitz and Toy German Spitz, was developed from Spitz type herding dogs, which have arrived in Central Europe with Vikings. Some experts believe that all three authentic German Spitz breeds were actually developed by interbreeding between the Samoyedic dogs and Lapphund dogs from Sweden and Finland. Whether or not that’s true, there’s no denying that these German Spitzes have a lot of similarities with them. They have profuse coats, lively temperament, and high energy. Also, they’re very intelligent but demanding on obedience training.

The Grossspiz particularly is a typical representative of Spitz type dogs. This is an agile and very active dog, who enjoy spending time with his human family. He is an equable companion, who knows how to get your attention. He is bright, resourceful, loyal, and alert. The Giant German Spitz makes an excellent watchdog, who will warn you whenever a stranger comes near your property. But, contrary to the Mittelspitz and Kleinspitz, this one can be a good guard dog too thanks to his size. This is a very happy dog, always ready to play. He likes to do all sorts of crazy things and escapades, like walking on his hind legs, so I’m sure your kids will love this dog. However, Grossspiz won’t tolerate any badgering or molestation, which makes him a bit unpredictable in this case. Also, some dogs, males especially, can be resent with other dogs, so it’s best to socialize them as soon as possible.

Grossspitz is always eager to please his master

C’mon, throw that ball :)

The life expectancy of a Giant German Spitz is somewhere around 12 and 14 years. This is generally a healthy breed. There is a small possibility for minor genetic issues or luxating patella. The same thing is with two other authentic German Spitz breeds. They are actually much healthier dogs than Wolfspitz and Zwergspitz. Grossspiz is very sensitive to any kind of shouting or bullying. So, you will have to act and work carefully and patiently with your dog. This is a willful, self-assured, and lively dog, who won’t thus easily accept any way of control over him. That’s why it is mandatory to start obedience training as soon as you bring your Grossspiz puppy home. Once successfully trained in obedience, Giant German Spitz is always eager to please the people around him, especially his master. You will also have to exercise your dog regularly. The best would be to play with him together with other members of your family.

Giant German Spitz Physical Characteristics

Yeah, this might be a giant dog in comparison to some other breeds from the German Spitz family, but in general, this is just a typical medium-sized dog. The Grossspiz is maintaining gracious stance and is a dog of rectangular shape. He is a bit longer than tall at the withers. This dog has the compact and muscular body covered with a lush double coat. This waterproof coat is made of a dense, soft like cotton wool undercoat, and a rough, protective outer coat. Although males and females are almost identical in size and weight, males usually look bigger because of their slightly longer coats. The hair is especially abundant on the neck (ruff), tail, back of the front legs (feathers), and the hindquarters. This dog can be easily recognized by the color of his fur. The Giant German Spitz is the only dog in this category which main colors are solid white, solid black, and solid brown.

Like Mittlespitz and Klienspitz, Grossspiz demands a lot of care in order to keep his coat in good shape. You will have to groom your dog, at least, a few times a week to prevent matt formation. During the shedding period, regular daily brushing is a must. Also, you will have to slightly trim his hair from time to time (btw. this is necessary for all other German Spitzes). This excessive care is actually one of the main reasons why these authentic German Spitz dogs are declining in popularity compared to Wolfspitz and Zwergspitz dogs, which are easier to maintain. This dog is a usual representative of the Nordic Spitz type family with the wedge-shaped head similar to a fox, slightly tapered muzzle with the pointy nose, erect triangular ears, dark almond-shaped eyes, broad and deep chest, brushy tail curled atop the straight and strong back, the straight and firm front legs, the strong and muscular hind legs, and well-furred paws.

Grossspiz Dog Size And Weight

Male
– Height between 15,5 and 17,5 inches (40-44 cm)
– Weight between 37,5 and 42 pounds (17-19 kg)
Female
– Height between 15 and 16,5 inches (38-42 cm)
– Weight between 37,5 and 42 pounds (17-19 kg)

Mittelspitz or Standard German Spitz has many similarities to its ancestors - Nordic herding dogs

Lively Mittelspitz

Mittelspitz Dog Info And Personality

The Mittelspitz or Standard German Spitz is a smaller medium-sized dog, which is slightly smaller than the Grossspiz. Since this is in all aspects an almost identical dog with other two authentic German Spizes (Grossspitz particularly), I will mainly focus on some small bits that separate it from other two. When we consider how were these German dogs used initially, Mittlespitz was probably the most similar to its ancestors. Like them, back in time, he was primarily used as a working dog on farms. Although his herding days are now mostly thing of the past, this doesn’t mean this dog’s lost his working habits. Just wait until he tries to herd your whole family :) Today, however, Mittelspitz dogs are mainly used as companions or family pets, and rarely as guard dogs. Like all other German Spitz dogs, they are known to be good watchdogs with bold and fiery personality.

The Standard German Spitz is actually the ancestor of the American Eskimo Dog. Some kennels, even register this American breed under the name Mittelspitz. These twos are almost identical breeds with only a few minor differences. Standard German Spitz life expectancy is around 14-15 years. This dog is happiest when in the company of its dear humans. In fact, he can become quite depressed or even angry when overlooked for a longer period of time. He is usually stubborn and independent, so you will have to establish yourself as a dominant leader through persistent obedience training. Mittelspitz is often curious and will definitely try to explore the surroundings whenever he gets a chance. This is a very agile breed, capable of high jumping, so it would be wise to have a big wall or fence around your yard to prevent him getting outside. Also, remember to provide enough exercise for your dog.

Standard German Spitz Physical Characteristics

The Standard German Spitz shares almost all physical characteristics with the Giant German Spitz. Like his bigger relative, Mittelspitz has a typical look of a Spitz type dog – the compact and muscular body, fox/wolf-like head, deep and well-developed chest, straight and strong back, erect pointy ears, dark almond-shape eyes, long brushy tail curled atop the dog’s back, as well as the firm front legs and strong and muscular hind legs. It is a dog of rectangular shape, which is slightly longer than tall. The biggest difference between the Giant and Standard German Spitz, except their size, is when it comes to their coats. Mittelspitz has a bit more lush coat than his “big brother,” especially around the body. But, the most noticeable difference between them lies in the colors of their coats. While Giant Spitz comes only in three solid colors, this one occurs in a wide variety of colors and shades, from white and black to fawn, red or orange.

Mittelspitz Dog Size And Weight

Male
– Height between 13 and 15 inches (33-38 cm)
– Weight between 15,5 and 25,5 pounds (7-11,5 kg)
Female
– Height between 11,5 and 13,5 inches (29-34 cm)
– Weight between 15,5 and 25,5 pounds (7-11,5 kg)

Kleinspitz or Toy German Spitz is the smallest of three authentic German Spitz breeds

Lovely Kleinspitz

Kleinspitz Dog Info And Personality

The Kleinspitz or Miniature/Toy German Spitz is the smallest of three authentic German Spitz varieties, but still larger than Zwergspitz. This breed originated in Germany during the 15th century. Although these dogs too were developed from larger herding dogs brought from the north by Vikings, during their selective breeding only the smallest dogs were taken into account. These small German Spitzes originated in Pomerania, an area on the shore of Baltic Sea divided today between Germany and Poland. Back in time, Kleinspitz dogs were very popular among royalties, especially in Great Britain during a period of Prince Edward and his daughter Queen Victoria. Today well-known and widely accepted Pomeranians were actually developed in that period through further minimization of Toy German Spitzes. Unfortunately, since then these original Pomeranian dogs have been declining in numbers significantly. Kleinspitz is very rare today, even in his native country.

The Kleinspitz is a beautiful small dog with buoyant and feisty temperament. He is full of stamina and is often very active, always in constant movement. For his size, Toy German Spitz is incredibly bold and fearless. He is also very loud and likes to bark a lot. This makes him an excellent watchdog, but not a so good neighbor. Excessive barking is one of his usual issues, so make sure to correct this in time. Like all other German Spitz dogs, he can be very stubborn and independent when it comes to training. His owner must be dominant and patient in order to subdue this little fur ball. Also, it is mandatory to use motivational methods during his obedience training. Klienspitz is an excellent family companion, but parents with small children should be alert because this dog can become nervous if mistreated and can even bite. The life expectancy of a Toy German Spitz is around 14 years.

Toy German Spitz Physical Characteristics

In comparison to his two bigger relatives, Miniature German Spitz has a look which could be best described as a mix of Mittelspitz (or Grossspiz) and Zwergspitz. Well, this dog is fluffy and toy-like, just like a Pomeranian, but he’s at the same time compact and firm and maintains a graceful stance like his slightly bigger relative. Despite their miniature size, these dogs possess all the usual physical characteristics of German Spitzes – the wedge-shaped head with the pointy muzzle on the nose, long and brushy tail, big almond-shaped eyes, erect high-set ears, compact body with broad and deep chest, small and well-furred paws, etc. Males and females are approximately of the same size, but male dogs look a bit bigger because of their more abundant coats. Speaking of this dog’s coat, it is double layered and can vary in colors (solid, different shades, various combinations) and motives. The coat of Kleinspitz is very similar to that of Mittlespitz.

Kleinspitz Dog Size And Weight

Male
– Height between 10 and 11,5 inches (25-29 cm)
– Weight between 17,5 and 22 pounds (8-10 kg)
Female
– Height between 9 and 10,5 inches (23-27 cm)
– Weight between 17,5 and 22 pounds (8-10 kg)

Zwergspitz or Pomeranian is the smallest and youngest of all German Spitzes

Fluffy Zwergspitz

Zwergspitz Dog Info And Personality

The Zwergspitz (Dwarf Spitz) or Pomeranian is, as its name suggests, the smallest and youngest of all German Spitz dogs. This breed originated in Pomerania, hence such name. It was developed from Kleinspitz in the 1700s. The initial, whiter Pomeranian dogs were much larger (around 18 kg), but through selective breeding with the emphasis on smaller dogs with long coats, this breed, later on, became the tiny fluffy Spitz we know today. Zwergspitz was a favorite dog of British Queen Victoria, who was directly responsible for the popularity of this breed. She promoted extensively her two Pomeranian dogs all around Great Britain and soon many breeders there have started selective breeding and further development of the breed. Until the end of her rule, original Pomeranians have lost as much as 50 percent of their original size and weight. That trend of minimization continued to this very day.

Zwergspitz is always ready to play

Nope, I’m not a toy :)

Today, Zwergspitz is accepted as a British breed, despite its true origin. This dog has its own, separate standard in the UK, Canada, and the USA, but we will look at it as a part of the German Spitz family. These are by far the cutest and most popular dogs of all German Spitzes. They are in every sense small, soft fur balls, so it is no wonder ladies simply adore them. Pomeranian comes literally as a fashion accessory. It is a light and slim dog, easy to carry around, which suits every lady. Well, until it poops :) However, despite its miniature size and lovely look, Pomeranian kept the usual personality of every other Spitz type dog. So, your dog certainly won’t tolerate excessive carrying and cuddling. It would be best to keep him on a long leash when outside. This way he can run around you and explore environment – the thing these dogs enjoy very much.

The lifespan of a Zwergspitz is usually around 15 years. These are very active dogs with huge stamina, but since they are very small, a short walk outside or a chase around your yard once a day will suffice. However, when outside, you should always keep an eye on your dog. You see, Poms are small but brave and grumpy dogs. If not socialized properly, they won’t hesitate to pick a fight with much larger dogs. It’s quite understandable that this behavior can lead to some bad consequences, so it would be wise to socialize your dog as early as possible. Zwergspitz is sensitive to changes or unknown sounds in his surrounding, and will warn its owner about anything with high-pitched bark. This “silly” dog is often protective of the owner’s family and property, always ready to confront a stranger. As you can see, Pom Pom is a wonderful family companion and a good watchdog too.

Loulou Physical Characteristics And Common Health Problems

The Zwergspitz is literally a dwarf in every way. No wonder people classify it as a toy dog breed. If somebody would ask me to describe this dog, at first sight, I would say it is a cross between the Kleinspitz and Pekingese with the plumed, squirrel-like tail. Pom has a slim and compact body covered with elegant, lush double coat. As usual, the undercoat is soft, dense, and waterproof, while the outer coat is made of a bit longer and rougher protective hair. The hair is longest around the neck (ruff) and body, on the hindquarters, chest, and on the tail. These dogs are seasonal shedders, but have hair fall during a whole year. Regular daily grooming is always required, but in comparison to Kleinspitz, the Zwergspitz coat is much softer and easier to maintain. Pomeranians occur in a few color variants (solid or in combination) – cream, white, sable, orange, red, blue, brown, black or gray.

The Zwergspitz is actually significantly lighter than its closest relative Kleinspitz even though they are of similar size. The reason for that is that Pomeranian has a lot thinner body and limbs, and more luxuriant coat. Also, the Zwergspitz‘s fox-like head with big eyes and small ears is actually smaller than that of a Toy German Spitz, but it looks bigger because of the longer hair on the cheeks, top of the head, and around the ears. This is a dog of rectangular shape with usual physical traits of the other Spitz type dogs – the long plumed tail, deep chest, short pointy muzzle, muscular legs, etc. Even though Pomeranian belongs to a group of hardier toy breeds, they are still prone to some health problems, such as teeth loss (dry food is recommended), luxating patella, tracheal collapse, and certain eye issues like tear overflow.

Pomeranian Dog Size And Weight

Male
– Height between 6 and 11 inches (15-28 cm)
– Weight between 4,5 and 6,5 pounds (2-3 kg)
Female
– Height between 6 and 11 inches (15-28 cm)
– Weight between 4,5 and 6,5 pounds (2-3 kg)

Wolfspitz or Keeshond is the biggest of all five German Spitzes

Sympathetic Wolfspitz

Wolfspitz Dog Breed Info And Personality

The Wolfspitz or Keeshond is the largest of five German Spitz breeds. This dog originated in Germany in the 16th century and was developed from Giant German Spitz. Some sources cite that during development process some other breeds were included in the mix, such as the Samoyed, Finnish Spitz, and Norwegian Elkhound, but there are no certain proofs of that theory. Anyway, it is quite evident that Keeshond has a lot of similarities with these dogs. This breed became famous during the Dutch Patriots rebellion against the ruling House of Orange in the 18th century. The name Keeshond was derived from the surname of the rebel leader, Cornelis (Kees) de Gyselaer. The Wolfspitz was actually a symbol of this rebellion (a dog of the people), so when the House of Orange, thanks to the Prussian Intervention, prevailed in the end, this breed was almost extinct. Today, the Netherlands is registered as this dog’s official country of origin.

It is interesting that the German Wolfspitz and Keeshond are classified as separate breeds in the USA, UK, and Canada. This makes things, even more, unclear about the evolution of this breed. We will treat Keeshonden as a variant of German Spitz since these dogs are almost identical with negligible differences in behavior, size and coat color. This is actually the most popular large European Spitz dog in the United States and Great Britain. Wolfspitz is a boisterous and quite a keen dog breed with the affectionate and friendly attitude towards humans and children around him. He is very loyal and eager to please his master. These dogs like to be in the company all the time and enjoy all sorts of activities with their family. They are also very sympathetic and are able to understand human feelings very well. That’s why they are quite often used as therapy or guide dogs.

Smart And Versatile Dog

The Wolfspitz is an excellent watchdog, who is suspicious and reserved with strangers, but not aggressive. He will bark like crazy whenever somebody comes near your property. In the early 1900s, Wolfspitz was used as a watchdog on the riverboats and barges. Since then, the breed has been known as a Dutch Barge Dog. In Germany, this dog has been used as a guard dog and more or less for herding. This just proves how versatile and smart Wolfspitz really is. In fact, this is one of the most intelligent primitive dogs, who can be successfully trained even by an inexperienced owner. Just remember to be consistent, calm, and spontaneous. Also, always use motivational training without any forceful methods and everything will be fine. Once obedient, this German Spitz can be a good competitor in dog sporting, especially in obedience and agility trials.

The life expectancy of a Wolfspitz can vary from 12 up to 15 years. Since this dog possesses huge pools of energy, he needs a lot of daily exercise in order to be happy and satisfied. So, take your dog for a long walk or a jog in nature whenever you can. It is important to keep your Keeshond active as much as possible, otherwise, he will for sure make some mess or bark like crazy. When it comes to other pets and dogs, this German Spitz is often friendly with them, but it would be best to socialize your dog just in case. So, it is quite obvious that Wolfspitz is a type of dog I would gladly recommend to every family. As a testament to that, here’s an interesting fact. During the fifties of the last century, doctor Julius Wipfel recognized this dog’s friendly and affectionate nature. So, he developed his own family dog known as Eurasier by crossing a female Wolfspitz with a male Chow Chow. He also added the blood of Samoyed in the process.

Keeshond Physical Characteristics And Common Health Problems

The Keeshond is a compact, medium-sized dog. He actually looks like some combination of the Standard and Giant German Spitz. He is a bit taller and heavier than the Grossspiz, and as well has a more abundant, softer, and easier to groom coat. This is a dog with physical traits usual for the majority of other Spitzes – the muscular and compact body, wedge-shaped head with the slightly tapering muzzle, well-furred legs, and paws, long and plumed tail curled atop the back, etc. Keeshond has a lush double coat made of long, rough, and black-tipped protective hair, which sticks up from a thick, soft undercoat. Similar to other German Spitzes, male dogs have longer and more lush coats, especially around the neck. The only allowed Wolfspitz colors are wolf-grey and silver-grey. Although this is generally a healthy breed, these dogs can suffer from certain health problems, such as hip dysplasia, luxating patellas or diabetes. Also, Keeshond, like all other German Spitzes, is prone to overfeeding, so make sure you dose his food properly!

Wolfspitz Dog Size And Weight

Male
– Height between 17 and 19 inches (43-48 cm)
– Weight between 44 and 66 pounds (20-30 kg)
Female
– Height between 15,5 and 17,5 inches (40-45 cm)
– Weight between 33 and 55 pounds (15-25 kg)

Kleinspitz dogs come in many color varieties

Yeah, we are super models :)

Pick Your German Spitz Dog

As you can clearly see, these are all beautiful family dogs with lots of qualities. No doubt that they are all good entertainers with happy and lively temperament, who will make you smile every once in a while. Once properly trained and socialized, they can be excellent companions in every environment, whether it is some farm (Mittelspitz) or an apartment (Pomeranian). You’ve seen that German Spitzes can be great watchdogs and some, like Wolfspitz and Grossspiz, can be more than reliable guard dogs. Wolfspitz can also be an excellent therapy or guide dog while Zwergspitz and Kleinspitz make good pets for every lady. You can easily choose among them one that suits your needs best. Unfortunately, the authentic German Spitz breeds (Grossspiz, Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz) are now very rare outside their native country as a consequence of the ever growing popularity of their descendants. So, if you get a chance to buy one of these consider yourself lucky. And, lucky you will surely be with every one of German Spitz dogs :)

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