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Buying a pet

Pomeranian: Dog breed info and health advice

Date updated: 12 01 2018

Ready to meet the fluffy toy breed with a huge personality? Wrapped up in all that fur with a sweet teddy bear face, Pomeranians are used to turning heads wherever they go. But behind all that fur there’s a smart and friendly little dog that's more than willing to find their place in a wide range of home environments…

happy pom

Stats
Average lifespan: 12 to 16 years

Weight: Males: 1.8 to 2.0 kg, Females: 2 to 2.5 kg

Height (Males and Females): 13 to 28 cm

Colouring: A wide range, including white, black, brown, tan and orange

Grooming requirements: moderate

Average purchase cost: Around £1,200 for a registered pup

Pomeranian facts…

  • They have much bigger ancestors. No-one’s quite sure exactly when or why these little guys were first bred. But we do know that their ancestors are Northern European and Arctic Spitz breeds: big, strong and furry dogs, used for things like herding and pulling sleds in harsh conditions.
  •  They do feel the cold. Even with that coat, their tiny bodies mean that your Pom will soon start to shiver when it’s cold. A thermal jacket and boots are recommended for winter walkies!
  •  Queen Victoria made them smaller. The Queen set up her own kennel to develop her favourite breeds, the Pomeranian being one of them. She bred from what was then a particularly small dog for the breed - and other breeders followed her lead. It’s thought that the Pom we see today is only half the size of the dog in the 1870s.
  •  Warning: they will follow you everywhere! It’s adorable, but as a Pom owner, you need to learn to be super careful to watch your step!
  •  Michelangelo, Mozart, Marie Antoinette, Martin Luther, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Elvis Presley (to name just a few): the list of famous Pomeranian owners is huge!

 outdoor pom

Great for…
If you’re looking for a devoted little dog who’s low maintenance on the exercise front, the Pomeranian can fit the bill perfectly. Their size means that they can also settle in nicely in smaller homes and flats.

Although curious and playful, Pomeranians can be possessive (especially when it comes to their toys and doggy bowl!). They can also get a little distressed if other people or animals are getting lots of attention. This means they’re not exactly a first choice for young families. That said, they can usually make friends with older children easily, providing the kids know how to respect their boundaries.

Pomeranian training and behaviour
Pomeranians are savvy enough to take on board basic training but here’s the flipside: they’re also smart enough to give you the complete runaround if they think they can get away with it! Positive reinforcement is the way forward for teaching your Pom basic puppy commands such as Sit, Stay, Down, Leave it and Bed. The aim is to show them who’s in charge - without scaring them or making them nervous.

These guys also have a tendency to bark if someone’s at the door - or even if something interesting catches their eye out of the window. If you’re looking for a strong, silent type of dog, the Pom probably isn’t for you. That said, there are certain strategies you can follow to turn down the volume a little, and our guide on how to stop dog barking is definitely worth a look!

With a toy dog like this, it can sometimes be really hard not to mollycoddle them, to just scoop them up and carry them around; trouble is, this can cause a Pomeranian to become highly strung and a lot more nervous around other people and animals. For a confident, chilled pup, it’s better to have your Pom walking on a leash than inside a carry bag.   

How to look after your Pomeranian
Exercise-wise, a fully grown Pom usually needs no more than 30 minutes walking each day split between a morning and evening walk; with much younger and older dogs the recommended exercise dose is likely to be lower. Overdoing it can put pressure on your buddy’s joints and bones, so always follow the specific exercise advice of your vet.

Likewise, it’s important to follow the vet’s instructions on both the volume and the type of feed to give to your Pomeranian. Rather than gulping it down in two fixed meal sittings, these guys sometimes like to nibble a little at a time. This is usually fine, so long as you keep track of how much they are eating in total - and have a word with the vet in the event of weight loss or loss of appetite.

Some surprising news on the grooming front: Pomeranians look like hard work, but really they don’t need much hands-on maintenance. Brush their coat  twice a week and this serves to spread their natural oils, keeping the coat nice and shiny. It will also help to pick up loose hair, resulting in fewer hairs to pick up from your furniture and floors.

Baths are on an “as and when” basis, when the coat looks obviously dirty or when there’s a slight smell. For some Poms this might be once a week or so; others a month or more! If the coat looks in bad condition very soon after a bath, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem, so it’s worth checking it out with the vet. 

Teeth brushing twice a week helps to prevent dental problems later in life (for more on this, check out our guide). Ears and the area around the eyes should be cleansed with a cotton bud once a week and checked for signs of infection. Nails generally need trimming around once a month.

 Common Pomeranian health problems...

  • Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia (CM/SM). The Pomeranian is one of the breeds affected by this inherited condition, where part of the brain protrudes from an opening at the back of the skull. Some dogs with CM/SM can seem completely unaffected by it, while in others, it can cause severe pain and neurological problems. After diagnosis (usually via MRI scanning), cranial decompression surgery is often the most appropriate way forward. 
  •  Insufficient closure of  the fontanel. By the age of 10 months the soft spot or fontanel at the front of the skull should be completely closed - but this doesn’t always occur with Pomeranians. Although there’s no treatment for it (other than being extra careful!), there’s a higher chance of complications such as hydrocephalus (inflammation) for which treatment will be needed.
  •  Luxating patella is a developmental problem which causes the kneecap to slip out of place. Surgery is sometimes required when it’s causing pain or problems with mobility.
  •  Tracheal collapse can affect Pomeranians. It’s where the cartilage rings around the windpipe start to collapse, leading to a “honking cough”. Although it can’t be cured, a combination of medications (often bronchodilators and corticosteroids) can be very effective at keeping symptoms under control. 
  •  Broken bones and ligament damage are occupational hazards for any lively toy dog. Usually, the quicker you are able to access the right treatment, the quicker your buddy can get back on their feet! 

 smiling pom

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