A Spitz type dog is compact of body, with dense stand off coat, tail curled over the back and a fox appearance to the head. The German Spitz in appearance is quite similar to that of a small Chow, with less ruff at the neck and a more fox-like appearance to the head. Archaeological findings date the German Spitz to dogs that were of similar body build and size during the Stone Age.
Historically in Germany the German Spitz has been divided into five separate sizes. All sizes of the Spitz can be found in Germany today. Actually these dogs are all considered separate "breeds" but are classed in the F.C.I. (European dog club classifications) as members of the entire "family" of German Spitz. The Spitz family ranges from the 19 inch size (known as the Keeshond) down to the 7-8 inch variety known as the Pomeranian. The Keeshond and the Pomeranian are the sizes most commonly seen in Britain and in the United States. Australia only recognizes the standard size in their dog shows. The breed standard of the F.C.I. distinguishes all variations by size and markings or color but all within the one classification of "German Spitz" while the A.K.C. recognizes the varieties as separate breeds. In Great Britain the Kennel club allows exhibits of all sizes and colorations within one class. At the Kennel Club shows this makes for an interesting and exciting class for spectators to observe, what with all the different colors and markings.
In all the varieties of the Spitz, the coat is termed a "stand-off" coat, meaning that the individual guard hairs stand away from the body and do not lie flat. This makes an easy care coat that requires little brushing to remain mat free. The outer coat is weather resistant and does not mat easily and except for seasonal shedding of the undercoat a weekly brushing is fine. The ears are always upright and the tail is always curled over the back, with shorter fur on the fronts of the legs.
The Spitz Klein has triangular ears and a small, foxy face that is less fluffy than the rest of the
body, although the fur is still very thick. The fur around the neck
is extra thick, giving them a lion-like appearance. Their body has a fuzzy,
woolly base underneath the straight, smooth upper coat, though that
too has a tendency to become crimped when wet. Their tails will
usually curl up over their backs and sit flat. They come in a wide
variety of colour, including Wolf sable, blue, cream, brown,
orange, black, white, particolors of black/brown and white, and
also black and tan bicolors, though gold and black dogs tend to
9 inches (23 cm) min, 11 inches (29 cm) max Weight:
11 lb (5 kg) min, 18 lb (8 kg) max
The German Spitz is descended from the Nordic Samoyed and Lapphund, which were most likely brought over to Germany with the Vikings during the Middle Ages, making spitzers an ancient breed. They were then spread all over Europe and were bred to other shepherding breeds. They were originally used as herding and guard dogs, but have been used mostly as companions for the last few centuries.
Due to the fact that Germany did not exist in its current form until 1871, and was made up of small kingdoms, princedoms and dukedoms, different countries developed different spitzers, though all of them came under the heading 'Mistbeller', meaning 'Dung-hill Barker', because of their inclination to stand on dung-hills and bark - a tendency that still remains in them today.
This breed has few inherent health problems, though can be prone to Patellar luxation, due to its small size, especially if they are overweight.