German Spitz

The Pomeranian is actually the smallest member of the Deutscher Spitz family - the "Toy German Spitz" or *Zwergspitz. The next size is the "Small German Spitz" (aka "Miniature German Spitz", "German Spitz, Klein", "Kleinspitz" or "Victorian Pomeranian") followed by the "Standard German Spitz" (aka "Medium German Spitz", "German Spitz, Mittel" or "Mittelspitz"). The largest size is the "Giant German Spitz" ("Great German Spitz", "German Spitz, Gross" or "Grossspitz"). There is also the Keeshond ("German Wolfspitz") which is considered the oldest of the German Spitz varieties and should be 43-55 cm (16.93-21.65 inches) tall at the withers.

German Spitz are the oldest European breed of dog and were originally divided into only Grossspitz (40 cm or more) and Kleinspitz (28 cm or less). Later, they were divided into the five size varieties mentioned above. When Pomeranians were first recognized in this country, Zwergspitz and Kleinspitz were registered as Pomeranians. They were divided into two classes for showing: under 7 lbs. and over 7 lbs. ("7 Ups"). Shortly afterwards, the 7 Ups were disallowed from showing, but the AKC still had to honor their registrations, just as they have to register white, black and "colored" Keeshonden, which in Europe would be registered as Grossspitz.

According to the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), Pomeranians/Zwergspitz are 18-22 cm (7.09-8.66 inches) at the withers. Kleinspitz are 23-29 cm (9.06-11.42 inches). The Mittelspitz are 30-38 cm (11.81-14.96 inches) and the Grosspitz is 42-50 cm (16.54-19.69 inches). American Eskimos (Standard, Miniature and Toy) are in essence white Grosspitz, Mittelspitz or Kleinspitz.

Some registries (such as the AKC) use a weight standard for Pomeranians instead of, or in addition to, the height standard. It is always a maximum of 7 lbs. Large American and Canadian Poms seen in the ring are generally in the 9-9.5 inch, 5.5-6 lbs. range. European Poms tend to be finer in bone than North American Poms. Originally, North American Poms were imported from Europe - most from England. Today the tables have turned and many North American Pomeranians are being exported to the lands of their ancestors.

When exhibited in FCI shows, all German Spitz, including Pomeranians and Keeshonden, are shown in Group 5 (Spitz and Primitive Types), Section 4 (European Spitz). All other registries place the Pomeranian in the Toy Group.

The Spitz family is very large and includes such breeds as the Malamute, Siberian Husky, Schipperke, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, Shiba Inu, Akita, Finnish Spitz, Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound and many other breeds. The German Spitz clan are part of the European group of Spitz. The other Spitz divisions are Nordic (Northern) and Asian Spitz.

The AKC maintains a Foundation Stock Registry for the German Spitz. Believe it or not, some of what we think of as poorly bred Pomeranians in this country could be show quality German Spitz in other countries. But, because the German Spitz has very little visibility as a breed here in the US, people who purchase them do not understand that they are getting one variety with another's name. Pomeranians are now regarded as a separate breed, rather than a size variety, by many registries where they can no longer be interbred with the other varieties.

FCI Height FCI Colors AKC Height/Weight AKC Colors
Pomeranians/Zwergspitz 18-22 cm (7.09-8.66 inches), under 18 cm undesirable Black, brown, white, orange, grey-shaded, **other colours 3-7 lbs. All colors, patterns and variations
Kleinspitz 23-29 cm (9.06-11.42 inches) Black, brown, white, orange, grey-shaded, **other colours N/A N/A
Mittelspitz 30-38 cm (11.81-14.96 inches) Black, brown, white, orange, grey-shaded, **other colours N/A N/A
Grossspitz 42-50 cm (16.54-19.69 inches) Black, brown, white N/A N/A
Keeshond/Wolfspitz 43-55 cm (16.93-21.65 inches) Grey shaded 16-19 inches Mixture of gray, black and cream

* Zwerg actually means dwarf or midget in German.
** "The term 'other colours' covers all shades of colour, such as: cream, cream-sable, orange-sable, black and tan and particolour (with white always as main colour). The black, brown, grey or orange patches must be distributed over the whole body."



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