We have compiled a list below from questions/topics that we have been emailed over the years and hope the answers will be useful to anyone learning about Poms.
If you have a question that is not included here, please feel free to email us at: email@example.com and we will do our best to answer it.
This page was written and prepared by Vivienne Peterson and Vycki Brock Copyright February 2010
Buying a Pomeranian – in the UK
If you have researched the breed and feel you would like to own a Pom then here are some tips that may help you to select the right dog for you.
- First of all buy from a reputable breeder – you may have to wait a while before being offered a puppy but the wait may be worthwhile.
- If you are out and see a happy, healthy looking Pom ask the owner where they purchased their Pom and if they would recommend this breeder – a personal testimonial from a satisfied owner is a good thing.
- Think about going to a dog show – at most championship shows and of course Breed Club shows you will have the opportunity to see lots of Poms and meet breeders.
- Contact one of the regional Pom Club secretaries for information. You can also buy a bi-annual handbook with adverts placed by Pom breeders/exhibitors with additional information about Pomeranian Clubs: Pomeranian 12 . Many breeders also have websites so you can see the type of Poms they breed & learn more about the breeder.
- Check the Kennel Club for information on Accredited Breeders in your area who may have puppies for sale.
- Breeders should send you photos of puppies for sale and should answer any reasonable questions you may have. It is a good idea to visit the breeder if possible so you can evaluate the puppy, see any siblings and see their mother, father and any near relatives before committing to buy the puppy.
- Look through our health page and ask the breeder if any of these conditions or any condition you may think of has affected the parents or ancestors of puppy for sale.
- Consult the Breed Standard for the country in which you live as standards vary.
- Breeders should have a contract of sale and clearly tell you in writing what their expectations are – it is customary for a Pom to be returned to the breeder if for any reason you decide not to keep your dog. They should also give you advice about diet, general health and welfare etc. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Breeders may endorse puppies so their offspring cannot be registered with the KC and if exported they cannot be registered with any other Kennel Club – you must be informed in writing and sign an agreement to these conditions for this to be enforced by the UK Kennel Club.
- You can also buy a booklet called the Breed Record Supplement (back issues usually available) for the Toy Group (inc. Poms) from the Kennel Club. This lists all the litters born and registered each quarter. If you are uncertain about a potential breeder by looking through these records you can see how many litters they have bred in the past, how many previous litters the dam of your potential puppy has whelped in the past and how often the sire has been used at stud.
- If you are considering an expensive show quality puppy it is worthwhile to research the kennel name (also called the affix) of the breeder with puppies for sale (by use of Google) to see how well previous Poms they have bred have done at shows.
Poms are very popular in America 13,215 were registered with the AKC in 2008 compared to 830 in the UK 2008. In 2009 KC Pom registrations totalled 761. Perhaps as a consequence of lower registrations some of the colours in the UK Standard are no longer found or are very rare in the UK – so be realistic about colour if this is important to you.
[If in any doubt about anything please call up the Kennel Club (0870-606-6750). We have always found the KC staff to be courteous, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.]
Please consider adopting an older Pom – breeders often retire adult Poms and are looking for very good pet homes. Mature Poms adapt quite easily to a new owner and will quickly find a place in your heart.
Fit for function – What was the function of a Pom?
Poms have been employed for hundreds of years in some kind of watching activity! Early European authors noted larger sized Poms were favoured for watching work by colour. In Germany (by 1817) white was preferred around mills, black in farmyards and small villages, red in larger towns and cities. Wolf sable Poms were common along the river Rhine and often worked on boats & barges. Medium and smaller Poms (yes – they had 7-12lb Spitz as early as 1785 in Germany) were suitable for individual homes & gardens.
They have a long association of ‘minding’ the carts of merchants and this applied to the Italian variety as well. Black Poms also guarded vineyards in SW Germany. White Poms often accompanied mail coaches in Germany and England.
Larger black and white Poms/Spitz dogs were selectively bred to be sharp – not only keen observers but to take appropriate action when necessary to protect the goods and chattels of their owners. In 1898 German breed expert Herr Kull had this to say of the breed –
“He is no vagabond, no lickspittle; he knows what his place is and what his duties are. He has to watch house and homestead, and to follow only his master. Therefore, he takes no notice of other men or of dogs, but considers such intruders as enemies, and woe to the bones of the latter or the trousers of the former, whom he does not exactly like. He hardly knows of any sleep; his small pointed ear perceives any noise, and with a furious bark he rushes at the supposed enemy; but all these qualities appoint him the protector and guard of house and homestead, as in the case with no other breed of dog”.
The larger white size Poms or Spitz dogs were subject to very unfair breed specific legislation (BSL) in 1870s New York on the strength of unfounded and flawed allegations. It was frequently commented upon that smaller sized Poms had a marked improvement in temperament and dedicated breeders have worked hard on this issue for over 120 years now.
With this in mind you will notice your pint-sized Pom still has incredible hearing, will notice everything that is going on, will query the unusual and will bring your attention to anything they believe you should be aware of. If you live in an apartment or in a housing development please be aware that Poms bark – it is instinctive for them. They will let you know someone is coming to the front door before the doorbell rings!
Please note – debarking is not an option and additionally it’s illegal in the UK.
Most modern dogs are not used for the function they were originally developed for – how many Labrador owners actually use them as a working dog? However this does not mean that they are not capable of displaying inherited traits or fulfilling their original role if needed.
All the puppies look so cute – what should I be looking for?
It is very hard to assess what a Pom puppy will look like as an adult, they truly are a metamorphic breed and I've seen photos of beautiful puppies who turn into average adults and pups who look rather plain blossom into stunning Poms when matured.
If possible visit the breeder before buying a puppy that way you can ensure it is exactly what you want and is well socialised, displays a good temperament and is raised in a surrounding you approve of.
Lots of breeders prefer to sell puppies around 12 weeks old – after their first vaccination and health check up – and before the puppies change out their appealing puppy coat. At some point thereafter, differs from dog to dog, the adult coat will develop and this stage is often called the “uglies”. Don’t worry your little cygnet will soon change into a beautiful swan.
Don’t forget - always consider adopting an older or veteran Pom. Poms can live to be quite old and can give you many years of love, loyalty, devotion and happy companionship. If you are older this may be a ‘win win’ option but remember they are very small and you will have to bend over or stoop down to their level (about 8 inches off the floor) to pick them up safely.
First of all - you should assess what type of companion you would like your Pom to be. If you are looking for a Pom to do activities with like going on longer walks or doing agility then you will want one that is a bit bigger and more suitable for that lifestyle. If you wish to compete in conformation dog shows then your Pom needs to be as close to the Breed Standard as possible. Smaller Poms (under 4lbs) are suitable for homes with no young children.
Pomeranians are very small dogs. The UK Breed Standard suggests an ideal mature weight for males of 4 to 4 ½ lb and for females 4 ½ to 5 ½ lbs. Bear in mind that the Breed Standard for Chihuahuas suggests a weight of between 3 to 6 lbs – so if you think a Chihuahua is too small for your household the same will apply to Poms. At birth Poms weigh less than 5 ounces – often about 3 ozs and will not reach their adult weight until they are about 6 to 9 months old.
(The American AKC Standard is 3-7lbs and the FCI use height, desiring mature height of 20cm plus or minus 2cm at the shoulder, Poms less than 18cm cannot be shown.)
While most Poms mature at 4-6lbs in weight some end up smaller or bigger than their parents. In many European countries larger offspring can be re-registered as Kleinspitz (German Spitz Klein) but this cannot be done in Britain. Please bear this in mind when you are buying a puppy especially if you have a particular purpose in mind such as conformation showing. Not all KC registered Poms are show quality and a considerable number will probably exceed the ideal weight in the breed standard – I have seen 10-12lb Poms! This is why you must be very discerning, patient and selective when buying a Pom.
- If you fancy showing you may also want to consider a Pom which has been ‘run on’ by the breeder so you can make sure the bite is ok and if it’s a boy the testicles have descended. By 5 - 6 months you should also have an idea of what size the Pom will be and if you think it is too big at that age to show, it won't get any smaller. In this way we acquired our own most successful show Poms.
- If you fancy doing Agility remember the height of jumps for all Small Dogs is 35cm. This is quite a challenge for Poms measuring 20cm at the shoulder but can be done if the Pom is very sound, fit and healthy. For more information about agility visit our agility page.
- Any size of Pom can be trained for the Good Citizen awards and if very bright and well trained can participate in Obedience competitions. Don't forget to visit our Good Citizen page to find out more about KCGC.
Please note - If you think Poms are too small for your needs then consider buying a German Spitz Klein or Mittel. Beautiful dogs - same origin as Poms, same personality, slightly different in type, bigger and offer a greater variety of colour and colour patterns than Poms in the UK. 4lb Poms are not the best choice of dog for households with young children.
What kind of personality does a Pom have?
Poms are keen, intelligent, sociable, outgoing, active, extremely nosey and like to be included in as much as possible. They can also be protective and wary watchdogs which naturally leads to them being barkers - I think the 'quiet' command is one of the most important words to teach a youngster and they can be taught 'quiet' successfully with clicker training. Saying that, if your Pom is a natural watchdog and barker, you will only be able to try and control the behaviour, or redirect it in a more positive way - you will not be able to train it out of them.
Charles Darwin was a famous (but overlooked) Pom owner – as a purist he called his dog a German Spitz – this was about 1855. When he later wrote on the topic of barking ‘ the Spitz dog barks so incessantly on starting for a walk with his master that he becomes a nuisance’ you know he was speaking from personal experience!
Modern day Poms should never be aggressive or snappy. If you have this problem you must seek the professional guidance of a qualified trainer immediately. This problem will only get worse.
Poms are highly trainable and thrive on learning little tricks and commands, training also helps challenge and keep their bright minds active in addition to creating a greater bond with your Pom. By their earlier name of Spitz dog they were often circus dogs. They are a very sociable little breed and enjoy interaction with people and will repay your devotion to them twice-fold.
NOTE – Be consistent in your interactions with a Pom. I can assure you if you do something they approve of at a regular time every day – like a neighbourhood walk – they will expect this every single day and will nag you until you comply (think of Darwin). Decide in advance what times are most suitable for you for feeding, training etc and stick to a routine.
SOME TIPS FOR NEW POM OWNERS
Pomproof your home - Poms require special attention in the home to minimise the risk of broken legs or other injuries. Before you bring your new Pomeranian home it is essential to do a safety check think small and look for anything that would be interesting when seen from about 8 inches off the floor.
- We recommend you buy child -proof safety gates for any area – like staircases – where it is unsafe for your Pom.
- Conceal all electrical wiring especially when Poms are teething.
- Do not encourage high jinks near furniture legs or under coffee tables – a collision could be fatal.
- Do not leave a Pom unattended on your sofa or armchairs – if they cannot get up on the furniture they cannot safely get down. Keep one hand holding them at all times.
- It takes a while for a young Pom to learn to avoid your feet and keep out of your way it is safer to walk slowly also do not lift your feet up too high in case they suddenly dash in front of you – we call it ‘the Pom shuffle’. If you are very busy or have guests think about buying a playpen so you can temporarily keep your Pom in a safe place.
- Poms have had broken bones/ been knocked out / killed after falling on tile floors or other hard surfaces or through the railings on staircases and balconies. Some have been squashed in patio doors or by normal doors slamming shut on them.
- Gardens should be carefully checked as well and are full of hazards for small dogs.
- Foxes & birds of prey have been known to carry off small dogs – we know of one adult Pom tragically killed by a large bird of prey.
How often do I have to groom a Pom?
Poms have a double coat a softer undercoat and a harsher overcoat called guard hairs. We groom our Poms weekly - they usually just require a light brushing with a soft slicker brush, with attention being paid to the areas which ‘felt up’ quickly, like behind the ears, around the ruff and also their trousers. Over brushing can remove much of the undercoat required to make the guard coat stand up and can result in a flat coat. More advice on our grooming page.
How often should I bathe my Pom?
As needed - if your Pom has been active and become muddy or wet, you can usually remove it by rubbing them over with a clean towel. However, if they've had fun rolling in something they shouldn't (like mine often do on walks) then you will have to bathe them. Most males usually need their underneath area cleaned - this can be easily achieved with Baby wipes or a wet flannel.
Do Poms shed/cast their coat?
Yes, Poms are double coated and every year - more often for bitches - they cast their coat. When they are blowing their coat you will need to brush them more frequently - gently working through their coat in different directions with a soft slicker brush will remove the dead coat and help prevent felting and knots. When the old coat is out, the remaining coat will appear flat and it's usually an idea to trim it, you'll find before too long the coat will start coming back in.
Please note that puppies completely blow their puppy coat around 4 months. When the puppy coat is gone, the adult coat will gradually start to appear - it is much more vibrant in colour and should be quite profuse. Poms usually moult when they are a year old as well, followed by a yearly moult - bitches moult about 6-8 weeks after their season finishes.
What do you feed your Poms?
We feed our Poms twice a day, at 8am and 4pm – I use James Wellbeloved Adult and Senior – I like to lightly soak the kibble before feeding. (Royal Canin Mini kibble can be fed without soaking). Various supplements are added which are individualized to specific needs, some get Flexi-joint supplements daily as this has the best mix of MSM and Glucosamine. I will also stir in either a small topping of fresh cooked chicken meat chopped up, Nature’s Menu tripe or lamb, tuna, or chopped up boiled vegetables like carrots, broccoli and spinach – they only get those extras once a day in their evening meals.
If you are adding food, make sure it is well chopped up to prevent choking, Poms love their food and can often guzzle it down, so always have this in mind and chop any extras up as small as you can.
Why does my Pom like to run really fast in circles sometimes?
One of the joys of owning a Pom is to watch this fun behaviour - visit our Berzerking page in the Activities section for information and photos about it.
Will neutering affect my Pom?
Generally neutered Poms are liable to gain weight so keep an eye on this as weight gain can affect overall health, movement and put a strain on a patella. Poms coats usually thicken up and they will require more grooming. Recently male Poms can be neutered by an implant (given in the same way as a microchip) called Suprelorin and we have been very pleased with the results in our Poms neutered in this manner.
And lastly for potential exhibitors of show dogs …
First of all we recommend you always join a regional Breed Club. By attending breed speciality shows you will have a great opportunity to network and pick the brains of very experienced, dedicated and knowledgeable breeders and exhibitors.
Poms can vary in type – as they increase in size their overall shape changes. Some looks are more desirable than others and by observing which types do better at shows you will develop a good eye for the breed. American Poms are bred to a slightly different standard so if you like this look you will need to either import your own or buy an Anglo American Pom from a specialist breeder in the UK.
The UK Breed Standard no longer lists faults but when it did list faults this is what it noted – undershot or overshot mouths, double jointed, light eyes, off coloured nose, tail carried to the side and ‘hare’ feet.
If you are thinking of showing overseas at FCI shows then be aware that serious faults include, head too flat, flesh coloured nose, eyelids and lips, faults in movement & construction. Aditionally eliminating faults are aggressive or overly shy, gap in fontanel, over or undershot bite, ectropion or entropion, semi-pricked ears and definite white patches in all not white Spitz (the Pom is the smallest size of German Spitz with the FCI – a Zwergspitz). Dogs showing physical or behavioural abnormalities at FCI shows will be disqualified.
Male Poms must always have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum in all KC or FCI shows. Note – the KC do allow the exhibition of surgically or chemically neutered Poms provided you have notified the KC and been granted approval by the KC. Interestingly there was a female champion recorded as being a registered neuter and another CC winner was also a registered neuter.
Female Poms at KC shows are expected to be slightly larger than their male counterparts. This is to minimise whelping problems – if you think you want to be a future breeder then acquire the best possible bitch money can buy preferably from self whelping show lines. Poms are often called ‘the heartbreak breed’ and whelping complications are a major contributor to this unfortunate soubriquet. C sections happen all to often and can result in tragedy.
IS THE UK POMERANIAN BREED STANDARD A BLUEPRINT FOR HEALTH?
It is considered to be but could be improved upon. Last year the KC modified the requirement for a small ear to a relatively small ear but that was the only change.
We believe the ‘stop’ should be reinstated & explained in the Standard as all show Poms in the UK are expected to have a stop of about 90 degrees. The ‘stop’ was intentionally removed from the head shape in 1909 – an era when all sizes of Poms could be exhibited from 2 to 20 lbs or more. Influential breeders wanted the head of Toy Poms to be more like that of their larger counterparts (lots of Toys had apple heads and round eyes) – so they discouraged the marked stop found in small sizes. However, almost immediately other breeders preferred the stop and successfully worked on minimising ‘apple heads’ while retaining the stop. The AKC Pom Standard has revised the head shape from slightly flat to slightly rounded over the years – as the degree of the stop increased – a domed head is of course a fault. The FCI do not stipulate the shape of the skull but a serious fault is either ‘head too flat or distinct apple headed’. Should the UK directive of a ‘flat skull’ be reconsidered or is it thought possible that both a 90 degree stop and a flat skull can be achieved?
Illustration on left of Ch Boy Blue - he was considered the perfect Pom - this was the headshape the Pom Club had in mind when they removed the 'stop' from the Breed Standard in 1909.
We also think the ideal weight should be revaluated – the AKC Standard suggests 3 to 7lb and this is more realistic. The current weights were determined in 1950 and up until then Poms of up to 7lbs could be exhibited in the UK – hence a sensible quality female of 6lb, ideal size for breeding, could also be shown in the Brood Bitch class at shows. The colour section is very confusing and though possibly appropriate for 1909 is perhaps in need of an update – we see no reason why a colour or colour pattern not associated with any inheritable condition should be intentionally penalised at shows.
Meanwhile the present Standard states ideal weight this is not set in stone! – a larger Pom should never be underfed nor a tiny Pom overfed with the misguided notion it will meet the weight criteria & do well at shows. Larger Poms will lack substance and smaller Poms if overweight will lack the correct buoyant movement of the breed – in both cases their health may suffer.
Please see the colour page on this site. Most British Poms are orange or orange (shaded) sable – some quite dark in overall tone, wolf or cream sable, black or cream. Lately some breeders have invested in re-establishing very attractive parti-colours.
Is it true that you can’t show a black and tan Pom in Britain?
No – this is not true! The Kennel Club will register a black and tan Pom – it is an acceptable colour pattern and the owner of a KC registered black and tan Pom is perfectly entitled to exhibit the dog at KC authorised shows – HOWEVER- one must bear in mind that the KC Pom Breed Standard does say that dogs ‘with white or tan markings highly undesirable and not considered whole coloured specimens’. This may influence the assessment of a black and tan Pom by a judge. Notwithstanding that a black and tan Pom did qualify Crufts for in 2002 and also received a 1st place at a specialist Champ show in 2003.
[If in any doubt please call up the Kennel Club (0870-606-6750) and ask to speak to someone in either the Show regulations or litter Registration dept. Once again we can honestly say we have always found KC staff to be friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and willing to listen and respond quickly to any questions asked].
Every attempt has been made to be as accurate as possible with this information but please remember this is only our own understanding and interpretation of facts/topics discussed based solely on our own experiences or opinions. Others may have different views or thoughts and this is perfectly understandable. This page is not a substitute for your own personal research or investigation. If we have misinterpreted something or have made an error we apologise and will look into anything you may feel is inaccurate or misleading.