Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a German Spitz
Average Cost to keep/care for a German Spitz
There are two types of German Spitz with the first being the Klein, the smaller dog and the second being the Mittel, the larger of the two. Other than the difference in size, these two dogs are exactly the same when it comes to looks and temperaments. They were first bred to work in their native Germany, but today they have become a very popular choice as family pets and companions thanks to their charming looks and affectionate, kind natures. Although they are independent by nature, the German Spitz likes nothing more than being part of a family and enjoys being included in everything that goes on in a household.
They are quite high maintenance when it comes to grooming and ideally need to be professionally groomed a few times a year to keep things tidy and looking good. They need to be given quite a bit of exercise and being intelligent dogs, they also need to be given lots of mental stimulation on a daily basis for them to be well-rounded, happy and well-behaved dogs. In short, the German Spitz is an ideal choice for people who have enough time spend with their canine companions.
The German Spitz boasts having Samoyed in their ancestry as well as other Nordic herding dogs. It is thought these dogs arrived in Holland and German during the time Vikings invaded these lands in the Middle Ages. These dogs very quickly found their way to other parts of Europe where they were bred with local herding and shepherding dogs that were around at the time, and it is their offspring that is thought to be the foundation stock of Spitz type dogs that we see today.
It was during the seventeen hundreds that Spitz-type dogs became hugely popular as fashion accessories of British Society with Queen Victoria being a huge fan of the breed although at the time there was some confusion as to whether the dogs she acquired were Pomeranian or Spitz. It is now known they were more likely to be German Spitz (Mittel) dogs. However, when Queen Victoria ascended to the throne, breeders started to develop smaller and smaller dogs until a toy breed was created which was to become known as the Pomeranian.
Larger Spitz dogs vanished during the two World Wars and it was only much later that the two sizes we see today were once again imported to England from Germany. The German Spitz is still considered to be a rare bred and was classified as such in 1994.
Height at the withers:
Males 23 – 29 cm, Females 18 – 55 cm (Klein)
Males 30 - 38 cm. Females 30 - 38 cm (Mittel)
Males 5 - 8 kg, Females 5 - 8 kg (Klein)
Males 7 - 11 kg, Females 7 - 11 kg (Mittel)
The German Spitz is a compact dog that boasts having quite a square look about them when seen in profile. They boast largish, broad heads with a virtually flat skull and a moderately defined stop. They have long muzzles that are about half the length of their entire head. Noses are black in most dogs, but can be self-coloured to match a dog's coat colour too.
Their eyes are oval in shape and medium in size, set obliquely on a dog's head but never too far apart. Dogs with black, white, black/white parti-colours, black/tan bi-colours boast having dark eyes whereas other colour varieties may have eyes to match their coats. Ears are triangular in shape and small being set high on a dog's head which they hold perfectly upright.
They boast a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones all nicely set square to a dog's jaws. Lips are black in most dogs, but can match a dog’s coat colour too. The German Spitz has a moderately short neck that sits well into their shoulders. Forechests are wide and front legs are straight, well boned and strong.
As previously mentioned these dogs are compact and boast having a sturdy body with a short albeit well-developed loin and moderately tucked up bellies. They have a nice level topline and well-rounded ribs. Hindquarters are well muscled with dogs boasting powerful, strong back legs. Their feet are cat-like being small and round with toes being well arched. Tails are set high which dogs carry curled from the root but never hold it over their backs.
When it comes to their coat, the German Spitz boasts having a double coat that consists of a woolly undercoat and a much harsher top coat. Dogs have more hair around their neck and front quarters which creates a profuse frill. Their front legs boast lots of feathering which tapers from the elbows to a dog's pasterns whereas their back legs are only feathered down to a dog's hocks. Their ears are well covered in soft, short hair, but the hair around their faces is short and smooth. Their tails are well covered in hair.
The German Spitz can have virtually any colour coat with a variety of markings being acceptable with the exception of any "butterfly" pigment which is not allowed in any colour.
The German Spitz is known to be an intelligent, fun-loving little dog and one that is a pleasure to own and have around. They might be small in stature, but they are always alert and like to be kept busy, loving nothing more than being around people. They truly enjoy being involved in everything that goes on in a household and rarely would a German Spitz whether Mittel or Klein, show any sort of aggressive behaviour.
They have become popular in the show ring thanks to their charming looks and nice, kind natures. However, the German Spitz is also known to be an independent little dog which means they need to be taught the "rules" from a young age for them to be truly obedient, well-rounded dogs. Puppies have to be well socialised and introduced to as many new situations, they need to meet as many people and other animals once they have been fully vaccinated as possible too for them to grow up to be outgoing, confident and well-rounded mature dogs.
Without the right sort of training and direction, these lively little dogs can be a little noisy and are known to like the sound of their own voices which can be a problem for anyone living in an apartment. They are quite adventurous by nature and as such really enjoy being taken out for a walk as often as possible. They also enjoy being able to let off steam in a back garden as often as possible, providing the fencing is very secure.
The German Spitz is known to be a really intelligent little dog, but they are also known to have a bit of a wilful streak in them which means their education and training has to start early. They respond extremely well to positive reinforcement and they excel at many canine sports which includes agility. Some of them even do well when taking part in obedience competitions. In short, in the right hands and with the right amount of early socialisation, positive reinforcement training, the German Spitz is very trainable and a pleasure to have around. With this said, their training has to be consistent throughout their lives.
When German Spitz are well socialised from a young age and correctly raised, they are known to be good around children. However, any interaction between a dog and the kids needs to be well supervised to make sure things don't get too boisterous which could result in someone getting scared or hurt.
In general, the German Spitz gets on well with other dogs and pets, but they need to be introduced carefully to them from a young age. With this said, it would be unwise to leave a Spitz alone with any small family pets because their instinct might just get the better of them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a German Spitz is between 14 and 18 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
They are known to be healthy little dogs although there are a few health concerns worth knowing about if you are hoping to share your home with a German Spitz. The health issues that appear to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, a German Spitz needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The German Spitz has a very profuse coat which in short, means they are quite high maintenance in the grooming department. Their coats need to be brushed daily to prevent any tangles or matt from developing. Unlike many other breeds, their hair needs to be brushed the "wrong way" and special attention needs to be paid to a dog's ears and their elbows where knots are more likely to form. They also need to have their coats trimmed from time to time and this is best left up to a professional groomer which makes it easier to cope with a German Spitz's coat in between visits to a parlour.
Interestingly, males tend to shed just the once a year whereas their female counterparts shed more hair twice a year, once in the Spring and then again in the Autumn which is when more frequent brushing is generally necessary.
Although small in stature, the German Spitz is an energetic and very intelligent dog. As such they may not need a tremendous amount of physical exercise and they need to be given the right amount of mental stimulation to keep them happy. These little dogs like nothing more than to run around a back garden as often as possible where they can really let off steam. With this said, fencing in a garden needs to be very secure so these little dogs can amuse themselves for hours, weather permitting.
If you get a German Spitz puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a German Spitz, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £900 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old German Spitz in northern England would be £18.77 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of April 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a German Spitz and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £900 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a German Spitz would be between £70 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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