The German Spitz and Pomeranian are two different dogs that can be often times confused for one another. And even though it is true that they have similar temperament and personality, grooming needs and exercise needs, upon closer inspection, you can find some very important differences between these two dog breeds.
It is true, that both breeds are closely related together as they both belongs to the Spitz category and they both have their ancestry in Germany. So you can actually say, that the Pomeranian is a German Spitz, since it is a spitz breed from Germany. And indeed, even the FCI breed standard says, that the Pomeranian is a German Toy Spitz, but the breed standard is slightly different. And to understand the differences between the two breeds, lets talk briefly about their history. After that i will mention appearance, size, color, temperament, grooming, exercise and every other aspect.
The first documented mentions of German Spitzes are from 1500s Germany, where they were used as herders and watchdogs on farms, alarming the owners when strangers approached, which is why, even today, these dogs are quite alert.
It is believed that the breed evolved from ancient Nordic spitz-type herding dogs and that they share similar ancestry with other Spitzes, like Samoyed or Finnish and Swedish Lapphund.
These dogs were not extremely popular in the past and they were mostly living on farms with poorer people. That changed in 1800s when royalty in Germany and England fell in love in these dogs. Proper documentation is lacking, but over the time, different sizes of German Spitz were developed. And one of them is the Pomeranian.
We do not know much about the Pomeranian breed before they got into England. During this time, Pomeranian were much bigger than they are today and they were almost identical to the German Spitz and it was not until the late 1800s when Queen Victoria fall in love with the Pomeranian breed. And this is the time when Pomeranians and German Spitzes took different paths.
Queen Victoria fall in love in small Pomeranians and started her own breeding program and it was this breeding program that evolved Pomeranians into the small and lively companion dogs we know today.
So yes, Pomeranian is most likely a descendant of the German Spitz and these two dogs are closely related together. But for relatively long time the two dogs have different breeding programs and they evolved into slightly different dogs.
Definitely the most important difference in these two dogs is their size, so lets start with that. The Pomeranian height is typically between 18-24 cm, which is 7-10 inch and weight between 3-7 lbs, which is 1,5 – 3 kg.
The German Spitz is considerably larger breed, so when these two dogs would be standing next to each other, it would be very easy to recognize them apart. There are actually three size types of the German Spitz. The German Miniature Spitz, German Medium Spitz and German Giant Spitz. You can see the sizes of all three types on the screen right know. Most commonly when we talk about the German Spitz and what most people think German Spitz is, is the Medium type, also known as Mittel.
But the size is not the only difference in the appearance of these two dogs. Other two notable differences are their head shape and tail type. The German Spitz head is wedge-shaped and flat on top with triangle-shaped ears that sit high on top of their heads and the head has much longer muzzle in comparsion to Pomeranian. The head of German Spitz is much more fox like.
On the other hand, the Pomeranian has much shorter muzzle. Pomeranian also has much smaller ears than the German Spitz, but both dogs have erect ears.
The tail is also slightly different. The Pomeranians tail is set very high and it sits flat against the back, while the German Spitz has more traditional spitz like tail which is curled over the back and it is typically carried to one side or curls into a ring shape. The Pomeranians tail is also slightly more fluffy.
Speaking of fluffy tail, lets mention the coat and color, because the coat is also not identical. Both dogs have dense doublecoat, which is a must for any spitz breed. But the coat of German Spitz consists of soft and cotton-like undercoat with a straighter and more coarse outer coat.
On the other hand, Pomeranians coat is a short and dense undercoat with a fine long-haired outer coat. And the difference in the length and, lets say fluffiness, is visible on the first sight. The Pomeranian has longer and extremely fluffy coat, which many people consider cute and the German Spitz have more practical and more traditional Spitz like coat, which is still dense and pretty long, but not as much as the Pomeranians coat.
Pomeranians also come in more colors. The standard for Pomeranian recognizes 18 different colors and the standard of German Spitz recognizes only 8 different colors.
And if we talk about coat, lets talk about the grooming and maintenance as well. In this case, it is very similar as both dogs have very dense coats and regular brushing several times a week is needed to keep the coat tangle and mat free. Pomeranians are often times also trimmed by professionals. German Spitzes are never trimmed, or extremely rarely. The Pomeranian has more fluffy and dense coat, so they need little bit more grooming, but overall the grooming needs are similar.
Both dogs also shed some deal of fur all year long and in most climates they blow out their coats twice a year in spring and fall during the shedding seasons. During this time, it is recommended to brush the coat on daily basis.
You should also regularly check and clean their teeth, as both breeds are prone to dental issues. Ear cleaning and nail clipping if needed is also beneficial for both dogs.
When we look at the temperament of the German Spitz and the Pomeranian, we will find a lot of similarities and not much differences. Both dogs are very social animals who bonds very closely to its owners and family and who wants to be around them all day long. These dogs are naturally friendly, affectionate and loving. Both dogs are also quite inquisitive and curious, playful and outgoing. I can guarantee you, that you will never be bored with neither of those two dog breeds.
Both breeds are also great playful and loving companions for kids, but do not forget, that especially the Pomeranian is a small and delicate breed, so the child should know how to behave around dogs properly.
They can also live with other dogs in the family and even other smaller household pets are typically not problematic. These dogs do not have extremely high prey drive and especially if they are socialized with other animals from the puppyhood, they will create a great friendship with them.
Both dogs also have the same watchdog ancestry, which is why they like to bark and they will most likely alert you when they will hear or see something suspicious around the house.
So as you can see, the temperament and personality is very similar, but what about the exercise needs and energy level?
These dogs are no coach potatoes. They are both lively and quite energetic, some people say, that they are pocket rockets. The German Spitz definitely requires more exercise than the Pomeranian. The Pomeranian is known to have bursts of energy when they will run like crazy around the home. Other than that, they will be happy with few daily walks and some playtime.
The German Spitz on the other hand will be always ready for a long hike or walk and they are always ready for any outdoor adventure. They can also go for a jog and they are much better fit for active people who want companion for their outdoor activities.
Health is another category where these two breeds are similar as they both are known as usually very healthy dogs with long lifespan. The health issues of these two breeds include patellar luxation, different eye problems, collapsed trachea and epilepsy. The lifespan is somewhere between 12-16 years. The Pomeranian has usually slightly longer lifespan than German Spitz, but the difference is not big.