Especially if you’re out of school, you might think you’re done with history lessons. But a history lesson on pomeranians very important because it lets you know how that furry guy or gal on your lap came to be. It explains why your pom behaves and views things they way he does. And in turn it’ll help you become better friends by understanding his quirks and habits.
Pomeranians are Descended from Arctic Working Dogs
That pom on your lap wasn’t always a small toy dog, mostly there to entertain us. In fact, it’s descended from working Spitz dogs living in Iceland and Lapland (hence it’s furry body!). These spitz dogs were used for many tasks, including sled pulling, sheep herding, hunting, and as warning dogs. The same qualities that these dogs had are in some form or another still in today’s modern pomeranians: athletic, devoted to their owners, and covered in thick double fur coats that protect them from the cold.
Spitz dogs eventually became popular in Germany around the 16th or 17th century. Five distinct types of spitzes emerged, and the pomeranian is a descendent of the smallest of these–the dwarf spitz (or zwergspitz). Dwarf spitzes, like today’s pomeranians, stood just under a foot tall.
Pomeranian–the basis of the name “Pomeranian”– is a region in Germany
People began referring to dwarf spitzes as Pomeranians because breeders in Pomerania–a region between Germany and Poland that lies next to the Baltic Sea–bred the original spitzes down to this smaller size. However, the breed at that time was still quite a bit larger than today’s pomeranian, weighing 20 to 30 lbs. (or around 10 kg) Which next brings us to England!
Queen Victoria Popularized the Pomeranian as We Know It Today
The dwarf spitz first started to gain notice outside Pomerania when Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England, imported two white dogs from Pomerania in 1767. These royal dogs even had a portrait painted of them by famous painter Thomas Gainsborough.
A hundred years later Queen Victoria, Queen Charlotte’s granddaughter, fell in love with Marco, a red sable pomeranian she found in Italy. She took him to England along with three female pomeranians (what a lucky guy!), and he became the Queen’s favorite furry companion as well as a winning show dog. Queen Victoria’s love for pomeranians won the breed national attention. and by the end of the 1800s small, red-coated pomeranians were favored over the original larger white pomeranians.
Pomeranians became a top breed in the US by the 1930s
The American Kennel Club first listed the pomeranian as a breed in its 1888 stud book. This was followed by the breed gaining AKC recognition in 1900, which was also the year the American Pomeranian Club was formed. By the 1930s pomeranians became one of the AKC’s top 10 breeds. And the rest is history.