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German Spitz vs Pomeranian: Differences Explained (With Pictures)

Written by: Beth Crane

Last Updated on April 29, 2024 by Dogster Team

German Spitz vs Pomeranian

German Spitz vs Pomeranian: Differences Explained (With Pictures)

The German Spitz and the Pomeranian are very similar yet have differences that separate them. While they have a similar family tree and descend from herding dogs, breeders shaped the German Spitz and Pomeranian for different reasons. The German Spitz is a Nordic dog primarily bred for herding and guarding, with a rich history dating back to 1450. The Pomeranian, with their rounded body and diminutive stature, is thought to be named after Pomerania in Poland. Spitz-type dogs were bred smaller and smaller, and the Pomeranian was first referenced in 1764.

This selective breeding gave the dogs key differences, which we’ll discuss today; read on to discover which fluffy pups could be perfect for you.


Visual Differences

German Spitz vs Pomeranian - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – German Spitz (BidaOleksandr, Shutterstock) | Right – Pomeranian (KoolShooters, Pexels)

At a Glance

German Spitz
  • Average height (adult): 8–20 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 10–50 pounds
  • Lifespan: 13–15 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Mostly
  • Other pet-friendly: Sometimes
  • Trainability: Intelligent, hard-working, independent
  • Average height (adult): 6–7 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 3–7 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years
  • Exercise: 30 mins– 1 hour a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, energetic, eager to please


German Spitz Overview

german spitz puppy
Image Credit: Ivan4es, Shutterstock

The German Spitz comes in three sizes: large, medium, and small. These three dogs are all descended from Nordic herding dogs, similar to the ancestors of the Samoyed and Swedish Lapphund. German Spitz dogs are energetic and attentive and were bred as working farm dogs undertaking tasks such as herding and guarding. However, while they are highly intelligent, they can also be stubborn and refuse to perform if they feel they’re being made to!


The German Spitz is keen and devoted to their owners but distrust strangers due to their guarding heritage. However, the German Spitz loves their family, and the instinct to protect and alert them makes them great watchdogs. This is true even though they aren’t aggressive to people and lack the hunting drive of other guard dogs.

The German Spitz is known to be independent and isn’t clingy. That’s not to say they aren’t loving, but they were not bred to be lap dogs. Socialization is required for puppies to ensure the German Spitz is comfortable with people from all walks of life and other pets. However, they generally tolerate other dogs and are a naturally curious and adaptive breed.

giant white german spitz dog in the forest
Image Credit: nik174, Shutterstock


Socialization and bark training are critical elements of training a German Spitz. They are very intelligent and will take to training with ease, but they can be nervous around strangers if they aren’t socialized. If training to temper the behavior is not implemented, they will bark excessively.

When properly trained, the German Spitz barks to alert their owners of danger but does not engage in unnecessary vocalizations. Because they’re so smart, they need varied and exciting training to keep them engaged. They have a stubborn streak, so they won’t take well to being told what to do if there’s nothing in it for them, and they can lose interest quickly.


The German Spitz is a working breed, so they need enough physical and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. Depending on the size of your German Spitz, 1 to 2 hours of exercise spread throughout the day should be enough.

They are great at dog sports, such as agility courses. Ensuring enough exercise is essential, as undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking and destruction can occur if they’re not properly stimulated.

chocolate brown german spitz dog doing an agility course
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock


German Spitzes have a thick double coat that sheds excessively twice a year. During shedding seasons, they’ll need daily grooming to reduce the amount of loose fur around your home and keep them comfortable. At other times, they only need to be brushed a few times a week. They shouldn’t be bathed too often since German Spitzes can suffer from excessively dry, uncomfortable skin. Their nails must be trimmed regularly if not worn down on hard surfaces, and their teeth should be brushed at least once a day to ensure correct oral hygiene.

Health & Care

Generally, the German Spitz is relatively healthy, with only a few health conditions slightly more common in the breed than others. However, if you’re considering a German Spitz, you should be aware of the following health problems:

Minor Health Conditions
  • Dry Skin: Their skin becomes itchy, flaky, and dry. Excessive bathing, overgrooming, allergies, and a poor diet can cause dry skin.
Major Health Conditions
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A condition in which eye cells degrade over time, leading to blindness.
  • Patellar Luxation: The patella (knee) is not anchored to the underlying joint correctly, causing it to luxate (slip) out of place.

Suitable for:

The German Spitz is suitable for families who enjoy playing games outside with their dogs and have time to train them. If you are looking for a small watchdog, the smaller variants of the German Spitz are an excellent choice. They are not for everyone; if you’re looking for an easygoing dog who wants to snuggle all the time, the German Spitz probably won’t fit your lifestyle. However, if you’re prepared to put time and effort into their training and exercise, you’ll have a wonderfully intelligent and active companion that will dote on you and your family.

  • Available in various sizes
  • Active and Intelligent
  • Alert Watchdog
  • Needs time away from the family
  • Can bark excessively
  • Not a lap dog


Pomeranian Overview

Pomeranian dog isolated in front of white background
Image By: KUNANEK SUPAKOSOL, Shutterstock

The tiny Pomeranian is one of the most famous toy breeds, and although they’re small, they have a giant personality. Hailing from the same ancestors as the German Spitz, they’re very alike at first glance. However, the Pomeranians were bred for companionship rather than work. This is reflected in their desire to always be beside their owners!


A big dog in a small dog’s body is the best way to describe the vivacious Pomeranian. They are bundles of energy that defy their diminutive size, and they adore being the clowns in the room. They’re faithful companions who love to be around their owners at all times. Pomeranians often follow them from room to room, in sharp contrast to the German Spitz’s independence.

However, the Pomeranian isn’t afraid to bark to get your attention, and they are small but mighty when it comes to stubbornness. They’re friendly dogs that get along well with other pets and children, but small children must distinguish them from toys that can be picked up and tossed around!

Pomeranian dog on the beach
Image Credit: cyndibec, Pixabay


Pomeranians are intelligent dogs that can quickly become bored without structure. They need adequate socialization as puppies to be comfortable with the big world around them and strict housetraining. Like most toy dogs, Pomeranians can be troublesome to housebreak, so beginning training early and using positive methods is a must.

They’re just as prone to barking as German Spitzs, so training thme and channeling their energy into better activities will make life easier for everyone.


The Pomeranian is energetic and lively, particularly for a lap dog. They need around an hour of exercise daily, which can easily be undertaken because of their size. Playing interactive games inside the house can count toward daily exercise as long as it gets them running. However, the little Pom should be allowed to walk briskly outside daily for exercise and enrichment.

pomeranian puppy running
Image Credit: wirakorn deelert, Shutterstock


Pomeranians have a double coat similar to the German Spitzes, and they have similar grooming needs. The Pom’s coat is longer and fluffier than the Spitz’s, so daily grooming is usually recommended to prevent tangling and matting (particularly around the inner leg).

Overbathing a Pomeranian can also cause disastrously dry skin, so only bathe them if they really need it. Because Pomeranians suffer from dental disease, daily brushing is essential to their health and well-being. Clipping their nails should be done as regularly as needed, especially if they get less time outside to wear them down naturally on hard surfaces.

Health & Care

Because Pomeranians are toy breeds, they suffer from some health problems common in dogs their size. Breeders often screen their litters for health problems and markers indicating some of these conditions to improve the health of the breed.

Minor Health Problems
  • Dental disease
  • Obesity
Major Health Problems
  • Tracheal Collapse: A condition in which cartilage rings supporting the trachea (the windpipe) weaken and collapse, compromising the trachea and causing a honking cough, exercise intolerance, and breathing issues.
  • Alopecia X/Black Skin Disease: A skin condition that causes hyperpigmentation, turning it dark and sometimes leathery with wide patches of hair loss.
  • Congestive Heart Failure: A heart condition that causes the heart to fail. Signs include a cough, blue gums, breathlessness, and fluid build-up in the abdomen, depending on which side the heart is failing on.
  • Patellar luxation: This occurs when the dog’s kneecap becomes dislodged from the femur.

Suitable for:

The Pomeranian is suitable for anyone who wants a portable, apartment-happy dog with a giant personality. Families with respectful children will gain a doll-sized playmate in the Pomeranian, who is happy to zoom around on walks before crashing out on a comfy lap. Very active families might find the small Pom unable to keep up (though not through lack of trying), and those with noise sensitivities or restrictions might not be able to take the Pom’s predilection to bark.

  • Loving and loyal
  • Energetic
  • Loves to be around people
  • Noisy
  • Can be difficult to house train
  • Can’t keep up on very long walks


Which Breed Is Right for You?

The German Spitz and the Pomeranian are similar yet different breeds that offer unique benefits and drawbacks to prospective pet parents. If you’re an active owner who wants a loving yet laid-back dog, the German Spitz is the dog for you. They are more independent but active and devoted and still have a teddy bear look that people love.

However, if you want a lap dog with an incredible zest for life that is compact and portable, the Pomeranian is the better choice. Neither dog will suit owners who don’t take time to train them or have issues with barking. No matter which dog you adopt, both breeds make excellent companions if they’re loved and cared for properly.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit: Top – German Spitz (Lenkadan, Shutterstock) | Bottom – Pomeranian (Tam and Trace Photography, Shutterstock)

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