The German Spitz is always attentive, lively and exceptionally devoted to his owner. He is very teachable and easy to train. His distrust towards strangers and lack of hunting instinct make him the ideal watchdog for the home. His indifference to weather, robustness and longevity are his most outstanding attributes. Spitz breeds like the German Spitz are captivating on account of their beautiful coats, made to stand off by a plentiful undercoat. Particularly impressive is his strong, mane-like collar around his neck, called a ruff, and the bushy tail carried boldly over his back. His foxy head, alert eyes, and small, pointed, closely-set ears give the German Spitz his unique cheeky appearance. His coat comes in a variety of colors including white, black, cream, gold, black and tan, sable, and chocolate brown. Though easily trainable, this lively and intelligent breed can also have an independent streak. If properly trained (so as not to be too noisy) and well socialized, the German Spitz will be happy mingling with other people and dogs.
The German Spitz is one of the most ancient of dog breeds and the oldest originating from Central Europe.
It should be first noted that the FCI views the German Spitz to be in the same family as the Pomeranian/Toy Spitz (the smallest) and the Keeshond/Wolfspitz (the largest), with three sizes of German Spitz in the middle (giant, medium, and miniature.) Therefore, the history of the German Spitz is intertwined with these two other breeds.
First references of the spitz can be found in 1450 when Count Eberhard Zu Sayn of Germany remarked that the dog was a valiant defender of the home and fields. The province of Pomerania, a historical region on the south shores of the Baltic between modern-day Germany and Poland, was the home of many of the early members of this breed, hence the early name of Pomeranian.
What the small spitz lacks in bulk, they make up for in alertness and voice. Traders and fishermen took these dogs on their boats as alert watchdogs for their goods. On farms, the spitz’s acute hearing was used for early warnings of intruders. They would sit up on anything high and use their high-pitched alarm bark at the first sign of anything strange. In Germany, they are sometimes called mistbeller, meaning dung-hill barkers.
Originally a peasant’s dog, the spitz gained popularity with the royalty and upper class of England. In the 18th century when George I took the throne, he and his German wife, naturally, had many German visitors to the court and they had brought their spitz dogs with them. Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and Queen Victoria were also devoted fans of the breed in their time.
The beginning of World War I saw a rapid decline in the breed and it wasn’t until 1975, after several Keeshonds were imported from Holland and bred to larger Pomeranians, that the breed made a comeback.