Most of us know of Pomeranians as toy, companion dogs. They’re those happy little butterballs and fluff-puffs running to catch up with you on their tiny little legs. They are known to be smart and friendly, but sometimes bossy dogs, with a reputation for being barky and yappy… and they can be, actually making them effective guard dogs because they will alert their hooman if there are any guests/intruders on their territory.
But I don’t believe in generalizing dog characters because of their breed. The very reason I brought my Belle home was because she sat there quietly looking back at me while I looked at her. No barking, no whining. Just quiet waiting, which appealed to me because there was no pressure for me to immediately like her. It was actually more for her attitude, rather than her size or her breed, that I chose my breeder-size Pom.
(Photo 1: Belle at 4 months, wearing a bling collar.)
Thanks to a friend who gave me a book on Pomeranians, I now know that my Belle is a descendant of the sled dogs of Iceland and Lapland, and that her breed was developed in Germany and Poland – the general area of which used to be called… drumrolls please… Pomerania. Apparently, too, these balls of fur came from bigger stock, of the spitz family of dogs that include, among others, the huskies, malamutes, and chow chows. Coming from that working class lineage, the small Pomeranian was bred because members of European royalty fell in love with the miniature, companion version of the dog. Queen Victoria of England is actually credited for promoting Poms by importing and breeding different colors in her own kennels. (This royal upbringing would probably account for the occasional snooty behavior of my Belle, who, at 13 years old is still so maarte, she would put up a paw that she had gotten wet until you come and wipe it dry.)
(Photo 2: Belle is an orange Pom, but comes from a lineage of blacks and reds. Pomeranians come in probably the widest variety of colors of any dog breed. Poms may also be white, brown, cream, blue, sable, black and tan, brown and tan, spotted, brindle, and parti, plus combinations of those colors.)
If you’re thinking about getting a Pom, below are my personal, slightly biased, opinions:
- Poms ARE good companions (affectionate, but not too needy!) and adapt well to small spaces like condominium units or apartments. Because of their smallness, they won’t require too much space for exercise. But they can be frisky and energetic, so it would still be good to take them on walks. I know my Belle loves being outdoors because she acts more alert and there’s an extra spring-bounce to her step.
(Photo 3: Pomeranians will range in weight from 3 to 7 lbs (or 2 to 4 kgs). Belle is breeder-size, which means she’s not a puffball.)
- It’s easy cleaning up after them because – let’s be very honest here – they’re small and have small poop. =D But it’s also because the Pom is smart and easy to train, which I now attribute to their working class roots. It took me just about a week to train Belle to do her business on old newspapers laid out in my condo’s service area.
- Like I said, Poms can be good guard dogs, partly because they’re territorial but also because they’re friendly and will alert you as soon as they realize you have guests at the door. Word of warning, aside from the yapping (aka, high-pitched barking), the Pom can also be stubborn. This is not a good combination when they set their minds on barking at something like a bird on the terrace or a lizard on the ceiling.
- Biggest drawback, which I personally don’t mind, is that they can be a bit high maintenance because of their long, thick, double hair coat. The Pom will require frequent brushing and grooming, but you’ll actually enjoy doing that because you’ll see just how much your dog will love the pampering and primping!
(Photo 4: Pom puppies will need to be brushed at least once a week, while full-grown Poms will require at least 2 to 3 times brushing every week especially when they’re shedding, to minimize matting. Note that Poms have minimal oil on their coat and skin, so they can be bathed only every 3 weeks or once a month.)
Just some other interesting Pom trivia:
- Two Poms were among the 3 dogs that survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, both escaping in lifeboats with their owners Margaret Hays and Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild. (Their small size makes them easier to lug around!)
- Famous people with poms
- Elvis Presley: Sweet Pea and Edmund
- Britney Spears: Isabelle
- Gwen Stafani: Winston
- Hillary Duff: Macy and Bentley
- David Hasselhoff: Jenny and Killer
- Keanu Reeves: Fluffy (He’s seldom seen or photographed with Fluffy, but even just the idea that he has a Pom makes me love Keanu even more!)
And also: Liza Minellli, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, Sylvester Stallone, Kelly Osbourne, and Sharon Osbourne.