German Spitz

German Spitz

Temperament: Lively, Responsive

Size: Small

Life span: 18

Weight: 18 kg

Breed Group: Utility Dogs

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Overview

The German Spitz is a small breed signifying a compact and well knit appearance and an almost square profile. It features a broad and flat skull that tapers to a wedge shape to the nose, which in itself can have different colours depending on the colour of the coat. This breed has a short muzzle that is approximately half the length of the head covered by smooth short hair. The oval-shaped and slanting eyes are dark in colour also depending on the coat. A set of small triangular ears which are highly set above the head are carried erect and covered with soft short hair. The upper teeth narrowly overlap the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. The medium large head is carried by a moderately short neck while the whole body is supported by well-boned straight front legs and well-muscled thighs on the hind legs. All four legs are supported in turn by small and round, cat-like feet with well arched toes. The tail is highly set which is curled right up from the root covered with abundant long-spreading hair and lies curled over the back. The double coat of the German Spitz is made of a soft, woolly undercoat with long, harsh and straight outer coat. Coating is abundant around the neck and forequarters with a frill of abundant off-standing straight hair that extends over the shoulders giving a lion-like appearance. The front legs are well feathered from the elbows to the pasterns as well as the back legs from the hocks up. The German Spitz comes in a wide variety of colours, including Wolf sable, blue, cream, brown, orange, black, white, particolours of black/brown and white, and also black and tan bicolours, though gold and black dogs tend to predominate. A German Spitz Klein has an ideal height of 23 - 29 cm at withers and weighs between 5 - 8 kg.

History & Origin

The ancestors of the German Spitz breed are likely Nordic herd dogs characterized by a heavy coating such as the Samoyed and the Lapphund which were most probably brought over to Germany during the Middle Ages by the Vikings which makes the spitzes one of the most ancient breeds of dog. In fact, literary references of this breed dates back to 1450, describing a dog similar to the German Spitz. From Germany, they were then spread all over Europe and were eventually crossed with other shepherd dogs.

Prior to 1871, Germany was divided into small kingdoms and territories. This led to the development of spitzes with different sizes and coat colours, although they all shared the unique title "Mistbeller" which translates to "Dung-hill Barker" because of their tendency to stand on dung-hills and bark, traits that still remain today. The German Spitz breed was originally developed as a herding and guard dog, but modern setting has transformed this agile breed into a wonderful companion dog although it is still considered quite a rare breed.

Temperament

In general, all varieties of the German Spitz make very good watchdogs because this breed is very alert and always watchful over its family and property, traits handed down from generations of breeding this natural herding and guarding dog. It tends to be wary of unfamiliar faces and may bark a lot at people and other animals. This breed is an excellent jumper and has a distinct ability to stand on its back legs when looking for attention or when showing off.

Training

Obedience training is required typically at an early stage in the life of the German Spitz because this breed is not easy to obedience-train once it gets older. This dog must understand that the owner is the boss.

Grooming

The profuse coating however, requires quite a lot of attention. Regular brushing is required to prevent the coat from matting, although some Spitz's many get irritated when being groomed, and must be taught early on to stay still during the session.

Health

The German Spitz Klein is generally a healthy breed having a lifespan of 12 to 15 years with few inherent health problems, although it can be prone to patellar luxation because of its small size especially if it is overweight.

Exercise

A German Spitz is well suited for an apartment life. It is quite active indoors but it will also prefer a home with a small indoors. They have very low exercise requirements and will be content snoozing all day around the house, but they can also gladly accompany their owners on long walks or jogs.

Children and other pets

It loves human companionship, always needing attention but it can have a tendency to be stubborn and willful. Although as protective as it is, the German Spitz is not recommended for families with young children due to the fact that it tends to be nervous and snappish at times. Having a nervous and snappish attitude means that this breed is generally suited to a home with older, more considerate children.

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