German Spitz (Deutscher Spitz)
The German Spitz is vigorous and quick-witted dog with its homeland in Germany. It comes in three sizes – «gross» (giant), «mittel» (middle or standard) and «klein» (small) and initially served as companion and watch dog. The Mittel Spitz was also used as a farm dog. The breed is renowned for its adaptability, outmost loyalty, and tends to be really people-oriented.
The creation of the German Spitz dated back to 1450 and its direct forefather is considered to be the Turfspitz (Canis Familiaris Palustris) that was brought to Europe by the Vikings. This forebear of the breed has existed on the Northern German plain for over 6 000 years and was generally used as herding and companion dog. Prior to 1871 Germany was separated in numerous small kingdoms and princedoms and each one developed its own variety of the Spitz. It’s believed the German Spitz is closely related to the Wolf Spitz (Keeshond) and essentially represents its miniature version.
The German Spitz was brought to England in the XVIII century. The breed quickly became popular and was known as «Pomeranians» since it’s considered to come from an area called Pommern. Nevertheless the Pomeranian is a separate breed that was invented much later in the United Kingdom from imported German litter. The breed lost its position in the UK in the wake of the First World War and today it’s reckoned rather rare there.
The breeders greatly favoured smaller variant of the breed so it gradually scaled down in size. As the result of breeding three types of the German Spitz were developed - «Gross», «Mittel» and «Klein». Nowadays the Spitz is kept as family companion as well as a reasonable watchdog.
The German Spitz has already made an initial step towards the full AKC (American Kennel club) recognition by being recorded in the AKC Foundation Stock Service. The United Kennel Club (UKC) granted the dog its recognition in 2009.
The German Spitz has playful and good-natured temperament, which makes it a wonderful pet. It tends to cling to people and it prefers to express its emotions openly and exuberantly. The dog’s acute mind requires constant occupation so be prepared to include various interesting games in your pastime with your dog. Though the breed is not as fragile as any other toy dog but certainly it should be handled with proper carefulness and mildness. That’s why children need to be taught to treat the dog respectfully and gently. The German Spitz will become an excellent playmate for a conscientious child.
The breed is usually friendly but a bit shy with strange people. The German Spitz can be extremely vocal at times and without correction it has a potential to become a significant problem. This habit is commonly explained by the past of the breed when it served as a watchdog. It hasn’t lost such qualities and its vigilance and observation helps to timely warn the master about possible intruder. However, the breed is not big and fierce enough to become an acceptable guard dog.
The German Spitz is highly tolerant to any other species including other canines. As with any other dog it should be introduced to other animals in appropriate manner and, what is more important, timely. A home cat will be treated politely provided the dog has been reared with it since the puppyhood. Some hunting drive still lingers in this dog so the owner should exhibit an additional caution while introducing the Spitz to smaller kind of home pet (rabbits, hamsters, parrots, and so on).
The most common problems for the breed include:
• eye problems;
• patellar luxation.
The German Spitz has long gorgeous hair, which has to be attended on a regular basis. The owner should brush its coat lightly every day and thoroughly once or twice a week. This procedure will help to reduce the likelihood of problems with matting and tangling of the dog’s hair.
The Spitz blows off its coat twice a year and during shedding period its fur will be flying all over the house covering clothing, carpets and furniture. The dog won’t require frequent baths but its nails should be trimmed every two months and its ears need to be cleaned as necessary.
The training of the German Spitz usually constitutes a substantial challenge because of its stubbornness and independent character. Its natural intelligence purports that it’s able to learn easily and quickly but traditional methods seems to work poorly with it. This dog is smart enough to find the way to do what it wants to and therefore requires a strong and assertive handler with prominent qualities of a leader.
The German Spitz is also somewhat sensitive to critiques and at a moment notice it can become wilful, bold or simply aggressive if treated roughly and disrespectfully. In training this breed the handler should use only mild persuasion and food treats, which proved to be the most successful for it.
As predominantly home pet the German Spitz isn’t demanding as far as it concerns physical activity. The dog should be taken for a daily walk of at least half an hour long but it will appreciate if you will provide it with opportunities to run freely and socialize with other canines.
The under exercised dog is apt to develop major behavioural problems as destructiveness, chewing, hyper activity, etc. The German Spitz is well-suited for keeping in an apartment and will also make a great companion for an elderly people.