A puffball of a pooch, the Pomeranian is the smallest----and cutest---member of the spitz family. Perky, playful and a little bit naughty, their perpetual smile gets them out of trouble---most of the time.
Pomeranians hail from Pomerania, in what's now part of northern Poland and Germany. Like all dogs of the spitz family, they have a plush coat, bushy tail and tiny ears for warmth. Early Poms were much larger, averaging about 30 pounds. In the late 1800s, Queen Victoria's 12-pound Pom, named Marco, started the trend for smaller Pomeranians.
Because of their association with royalty, the breed became extremely popular with upper class ladies. By 1900, they were one of England's most popular breeds. Once in America, they also became popular quickly.
Poms love their people and they love their toys. They may be little, but they're never overlookable. A Pom owns whatever room he's in, whether he's playing, sleeping or just looking cute.
Feed your Pomeranian puppy a puppy food designed for toy dogs. Tiny puppies should be fed small amounts often---more than larger dogs---because they can't store glucose efficiently. They can easily develop hypoglycemia if they are active and have gone without food for too long. Puppy food for toy dogs combats hypoglycemia because it is high in protein, fat and complex carbohydrates. If your puppy becomes sleepy to the point of being hard to rouse, or unresponsive, it's an emergency. Rub syrup on his gums and get him to the veterinarian immediately. Most Poms outgrow the danger by the time they are 7 months old. But even as adults, a food designed for toy dogs is the best choice.
Poms are especially prone to knee problems. If you see your Pom skipping for a step or two, he may have a condition your veterinarian needs to check. He may also eventually develop arthritic changes in his knees. To combat this, add a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement to his diet as soon as he shows any signs of hopping or lameness.
Coat care is fairly simple. Use a pin brush to remove dead hair once or twice a week. Brush the coat in layers so you get all the way to the skin. Spritzing these areas with a mixture of water and conditioner will prevent static electricity as your brush. If you find a mat, tease it apart after spritzing it with a detangler or with the conditioner mixture.
During shedding season, use a shedding tool to remove the thick undercoat. You may have to brush daily for a week or two. Bathing in warm water can loosen dead hair. Brushing right after bathing, when the hair is still slightly damp, will usually remove the most coat.
For the best looking results, use a shampoo that builds body. You may also wish to use color-enhancing shampoos, or if your dog has itchy skin, avocado oil- or oatmeal-based shampoos. Blow drying the hair will give it that puffball look.
Most Poms have healthy ears, but you should still check them for signs of redness, itching or debris weekly. Any time they get goopy, clean with an ear-cleanser. If the goop comes back, see your veterinarian.
Toy dogs are prone to dental problems and tooth loss, so brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a small dog nail clipper.
Poms are perpetual puppies. But even Poms are subject to age-related physical changes, such as arthritis, make it tough to keep going at full intensity. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in spirit.