10 Things You Should Know Before Owning a Pomeranian
For real, who doesn’t want a dog officially nicknamed “Pom-pom”? They are basically adorable. Take a glance of a Pomeranian pup, and even the hardest of hearts will melt. The Grinch should’ve been introduced to a Pomeranian. Like any other dog breed, Poms have their positives and negatives, pros and cons to ownership. On the plus side, Pomeranians tend to have a pretty sweet temperament; they’re playful, think they’re bigger than they are, and love being trained to do tricks because they’re little smarties. They’re teeny sweeties. They’ve got beautiful coats. They make great guard dogs.
Some of their positives, though, are also pretty negative. For one thing, their size can be a real problem—drop them, flick them, and they can break bones, their necks, and even die. Those beautiful coats? They take a whole lot of upkeep and vacuuming for shedding. Sure they’re great guard dogs, but that’s because they’ll bark at anything that moves or makes a sound.
Pomeranians can be bossy little suckers. You’ve got to make sure you’re the Alpha in the situation, or you’re going to have a tough barker and a constant misbehaver. Poms aren’t exactly great for children. They’re too fragile, and they’re also too defensive. They can’t play rough. Perhaps the largest issue with adopting a Pom is health issues.
Cute’s costly. But for some people, it’s worth it. Before you get yourself a Pom, check out this list of pros and cons.
10. They are Hard Workers Who Pull Sleds and Herd Animals.
Did you think I was serious for a second? The truth is, Pom-Poms used to be pretty big, weighing in around 30 pounds. And they were once used as sled dogs and herding dogs in the province of Pomerania, their original home. They weren’t bred to be little lap-dog companions until the 1800s. What’s amazing is that every once in a while, breeders end up with throwbacks, or Pomeranians that express the big-dog gene and come out more like their ancestors than the contemporary Pom. Dogs like the Pom are characterized by wedge-shaped heads, pricked-up ears, and thick, furry coats. Believe it or not, your little Pom is related to Norwegian Elkhounds and American Eskimo Dogs.
Poms shrunk, most likely, when Queen Victoria, granddaughter of Queen Charlotte, took up dog breeding. She stumbled upon a smaller Pom around 12 pounds and latched onto the smaller Pomeranians, continuing the breed them. For the rest of her life, Victoria surrounded herself with the little fluffies and popularized the developing breed. Victoria was so into her dogs that she requested that she die with her beloved Pom named Turi at her side.
Poms continued to shrink. These days, they’re 7-12 inches tall, weighing in at a tiny 3-7 pounds! Throwbacks, though, can grow to be more than 12 pounds. One thing that makes Pomeranians so attractive is their teeny, adorable size. If you’re looking for a dog you can bring on airplanes and carry in your purse, consider adopting a Pomeranian.
9. They’re Vicious.
Not really. Poms are, though, related to wolves. Like malamutes and Akitas, Poms are a spitz breed, or a breed of dog with wolfish characteristics. What’s funny is that Poms are actually prey to plenty of species. Birds like eagles, hawks, and owls would happily fly away with one in their talons, so keep an eye on your little Pom-Poms while they’re playing outside.
They do have a bit of Napoleon Syndrome, which can put them at increased risk of trouble or injury. Poms think they’re big dogs (they once were, after all), and because of this, they often pick fights with bigger breeds and bravely jump from high places. Once again, keep an eye on yours.
Overall, Pomeranians are extroverted, social, and smart. And they are the perfect breed of lapdog. They love meeting new people and animals. Here’s how the AKC puts it: Pomeranians are “buoyant in deportment… inquisitive by nature… cocky, commanding, and animated.” Certainly this is true. Most Poms happily play with others, though some are blessed with more commanding personalities and boss around and chase other dogs.
Pomeranians aren’t the type of dogs you have to really worry about around other dogs, in the sense that they don’t have the ability or desire to hurt others. The only risk you’re taking is them getting stepped on by a Great Dane or other large breed. That could result in some fat hospital bills for broken bones.
8. Their Coats Take Quite a lot of Upkeep.
Comb through your Pom’s coat, and chances are you’ll end up with a Pom-sized puff ball beside your dog in no time. Pomeranians have thick, double coats indicative of their sled-dogging past. Buy a nice vacuum, because these dogs know how to shed. If you’re not into regular vacuuming, regularly comb up your pet, as the more you groom, the less you have to vacuum.
Put simply, Pomeranians are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming. This may be a reason to consider a different breed. Grooming needs to be done frequently, and it’s got a lot of steps. This can be expensive if you choose to get it professionally done, or time-consuming and messy if you choose to do it yourself. Your dog is going to be a real ball of mess if you don’t groom, so laziness in this regard isn’t an option.
Don’t shave up your pup when the weather gets warm. Although this may seem the logical step since you don’t want your pup to overheat, the coat may never grow back to its beautiful fluff if you shave it off. Shaving this thick coat off doesn’t help your dog avoid overheating, either. You’re best off taking walks during cooler parts of the day and making sure to keep ‘em hydrated throughout sunny months.
Instead of shaving, trim your Pom every couple of months. Don’t cut the coat down so much as trim the spots that are overgrown, like loose ends on human hair.
One of the best, most adorable aspects of Poms is their fluffy, soft fur. Correctly groom your pup, and you’re going to get that Pom-pom look you want.
7. They’re Suspicious Little Buggers.
Poms will bark at the drop of a hat, and they’ll bark all day if you let them. If you’re looking to get a Pom, make sure you train it as quickly as possible to quit barking on command. Otherwise, you’ve just inherited one heck of a headache. If doggy barks get on your nerves, consider ditching the Pom as a potential pet. As was mentioned before, Poms can be a little bossy, so assert yourself as Alpha as soon as you can, and as clearly as you can, because if you don’t, you’re going to get a pup who barks at you whenever they want or need something, even if that something is as simple as a tap on the head.
This penchant for barking isn’t always a bad thing, though. Despite their small size, Poms make for great watchdogs. They won’t just ignore a creak in the night, and who knows? Maybe that could save your life.
Here are a few tips on calming down a frequent barker:
- Don’t reward the behavior in any way—no excessive attention or treats at barking time.
- Socialize from an early age. Your pup will be less apt to bark at strangers (unless you’re living in a neighborhood where you really need a guard dog!)
- Poms hate isolation. Put them off on their own when they bark to encourage them to quit.
- Remove stimuli. Close your windows, install sound barriers, or sweep the curtains tight.
Follow these rules, and you may be able to curve your Pom’s penchant for ruffs.
6. They’re Not Exactly Kid-friendly.
Scan the internet, and you’re going to find stories about Pomeranians with lovely, social temperaments and others who bark their faces off at kids. If you’re looking for a dog that’s guaranteed to get along with kids, go for a Golden Retriever or Labrador instead of the sassy Pomeranian pup.
Not only do Poms cause troubles with kids, kids can cause trouble for Poms. Unsurprisingly, the little pups are majorly fragile. Step or sit on a Pom by accident, and you might kill ‘em. Poms can kill themselves by jumping out of your arms or off a sofa, for instance. Break a Pom’s neck with a quick shake. Here’s a soundbite from one Pomeranian owner:
If you have small children, I do not recommend a Pomeranian. There are just too many Poms who won’t tolerate any nonsense. And there are too many Poms who feel overwhelmed by the loud voices and quick movements that children can’t help making—and stress and shyness (even defensive biting) may be the result.
If you’re scanning a pup website and stumble upon five-star ratings, most likely a Pom is going to get a one to two-star rating on the kid-friendly section. You might think this is a real shame if you’ve always wanted one and you’ve got toddlers on your hands, but wait a few years and your children can learn how to more carefully handle these fragile animals.
5. They Hate Being Alone.
Are you needy? Looking for a friend? Then you’re in luck. You’ve found a cuddle-buddy in a Pomeranian. Poms are so social they tend to experience separation anxiety when you leave. They just want to be with you all the time! Consider crate training for this reason.
It’s getting easier to take your dog around with you. There are dog-friendly restaurants, stores, and even bars. If you’ve got a purse-sized dog, it’s even easier to take your Pom wherever you go. At the same time, though, you can’t always have your dog with you. Chances are, you’ve got a job and places to be from time to time. And you need some time off from your energetic friend, too.
Separation anxiety, though, can be pretty intense. Your dog gets flooded with anxiety and can even feel stressed once you’re back home safe and sound. You can find scratches on the walls, chewed up toys and objects, and water and food scattered all over the place.
If you’re gone from home for more than seven to eight hours, chances are the Pom is not the dog for you. If you do get a Pom, Pomeranians can handle some time alone, and can learn to handle even more over time, but it takes training and patience. Make sure your dog has all the supplies she needs while you’re gone, from a well-stocked food and water bowl to a comfy place to curl up and feel safe.
4. Uh-oh. They’re Known for Being Hard to Housetrain.
Small dogs have small bladders. And Pomeranians are notorious for taking a very long time to housetrain.
Good luck with housebreaking any toy breed, especially the Pomeranian. If you’re an impatient type of person, opt out of getting a Pom. Your dog is going to need to go out pretty often if you want to avoid messes in the house.
Training a Pom takes time. You need to take your dog out to use the restroom at least every couple of hours until it understands the drill. Important times to go out include the morning, after waking up, before going to sleep, and after meals. Of course, praise your Poms when they wait to go until they’re outside in the proper spot.
Contrary to some people’s first impressions, crates are actually very comfortable and soothing to pets. Dogs have a sort of nesting instinct, and crates soothe them. If you want to avoid your dog ripping up your entire house while you’re gone, get a crate, too.
Crates are useful because they’ll prevent your Pom from chewing up and messing up your whole house, but they’re also helpful in keeping your pup safe. Poms really love jumping around, and no one wants to come home to a hurt pup.
3. They’re Not Exactly Health Freaks.
Pomeranians should come with a “Warning: Health Problems” sign. Like most dogs, they’re generally healthy day to day, but they are more susceptible to certain health issues. One way to avoid this is to request health clearance papers from breeders which prove a dog’s parents have been cleared for a list of conditions.
They’ve got allergies. If your Pom licks his paws or rubs her face excessively, chances are there’s a problem. Other Poms develop epilepsy. Still others have a wide range of eye problems: cataracts, dry eyes, tear duct malfunctions, even eventual blindness.
Here’s a list of potential health issues, because a list is necessary in this case:
- Bad teeth. Get your Pom’s teeth cleaned regularly to avoid larger dental issues.
- Collapsing tracheas—Poms are so, so fragile that a tug on the leash or a too-tight collar could result in a collapsed trachea—OUCH.
- Cushing’s disease.
- Dry, flaky skin.
- Fur issues like molting.
- Hip / elbow dysplasia.
- Tricky kneecaps that slip out of place from time to time.
- Von Willebrand’s disease.
Unfortunately, the list goes on. If you’ve ever bought any breed of dog, you know that keeping up your dog’s health with regular heartworm prevention treatment and flea / tick prevention treatment can be expensive as is. If regular check-ups are hard for you to afford, yet alone these issues, a Pom is not for you.
Despite health issues, Poms tend to live for a pretty long time. They live on average from 12 to 16 years. If you’re looking for a longtime but sometimes sickly companion, you’re in luck—Pomeranians are for sale.
2. They’re pretty much royals.
Celebrities have had an attraction to Pomeranians since Queen Victoria first fell in love. They’re a status symbol, and they’re easily carried around wherever you need to go, even if that’s across the red carpet. Here’s a list of contemporary Pom owners: Eva Longoria, Sylvester Stalone, LeAnn Rimes (who has three), Jessica Alba, Keanu Reeves, Gwen Stefani, Kate Hudson, the list goes on.
In the past, actual royals owned plenty of Poms. Besides Queen Victoria, Queen Charlotte owned two white Poms named Mercury and Phoebe. Her son King George IV, King of England, also latched onto the breed. Marie Antoinette, the famous / infamous Queen of France, had numerous Poms. Josephine Beauharnais, Empress of France, also preferred Pomeranians.
Mozart may have found inspiration in his Pomeranian, Pimperl. Gainsborough painted Pomeranians who are now housed in the Tate Gallery in London. Martin Luther had a Pomeranian. Isaac Newton had one, adorably named Diamond.
There’s just something about Pomeranians that speaks to royals. Perhaps it’s their delicacy that seems like a… delicacy. Maybe it’s that fluffy coat. Maybe it’s that they are, just like many royals, as high-maintenance as they come when proper grooming is concerned.
Unfortunately, Poms don’t tend to win many awards. Only one Pomeranian has won Best in Show at Westminster since the show began way back in 1877, and that was Prince Charming II—an unsurprising name, right?
1. There Are a lot of Poms Seeking Forever Homes.
Just like any other breed, there are all too many Pomeranians who have been abused, lost, or abandoned. Because of their size, Poms do well with people living in apartments, the elderly, retirees, and couples who have older children who can carefully handle the fragile pups. Because they’re so friendly, Poms adjust fast to new situations and will quickly fall in love with their new owners.
After reading all of this, it’s got to be tempting to adopt a Pomeranian. They’ve got wonderful personalities ranging from cute and sweet to bossy and bombastic. They’re wild balls of energy, and they love you so much they’ve got a case of separation anxiety. Is there anything sweeter than the unconditional love of a dog? It’s hard to think of anything you can count on more than a dog’s loyalty and friendship, and Pomeranians are known for both.
Puppy mills produce pups who have more health problems than the average Pomeranian. Pomeranians that are full-bred can have just as many issues, but at least you know they’ve been raised well. If you’re looking for a truly hearty pup, though, look no further than the pound or a rescue organization. There are already so many dogs in the world in need of owners—why look any further?
Bet you never thought you could learn so much about such a tiny subject. Pomeranians are chockful of interesting information, though. They’re the little dogs who think they can thanks to their origins as large and hearty sled dogs and herders. They’ve got a lovely temperament and very clear, unique personalities. They’re smart, joyful, silly, and fun. Although they’re fragile pups who have the potential for quite a few health issues, they also have a long lifetime and can bring you joy for nearly two decades of your life.
If you’re looking to buy a Pom, there are a few issues to be aware of, besides health. Pomeranians are so fragile they need to be watched carefully—they’re at risk of being scooped up by birds of prey; as unusual as that occurrence probably is, be mindful of the possibility. They think they’re invincible, but they could easily shatter and break their little bones, including their necks, from one fall or too much roughhousing with bigger dogs. For this reason, children aren’t always the best companions for Poms, unless they’re older and know how to carefully handle the pooch.
There are few ways to enrich your life that are easier or more fun than buying a dog. Dogs are man’s best friend for good reason, and Pomeranians are a great example of a breed that humans have loved on for centuries. Buy yourself a big purse, a little crate, and some pooch food, and head to the pet store, pound, or breeder’s. It’s time to get a Pomeranian.