German Spitz

German Standard Spitz

This middle-sized German Spitz is known in England as the German Spitz (Mittel), and in its homeland as the Deutscher Mittelspitz.


During the course of the last few centuries, the German Spitz dogs have been progressively reduced in size from the big, northern dogs that were their early ancestors. The situation has become progressively complicated, with different authorities recognizing different phases in this reduction process. At the present time, there are five different sizes recognized, and this one falls in the middle of the range, with the Wolfspitz and the Giant Spitz above it and the Miniature Spitz and the Toy Spitz below it.

Although this breed had been recognized by the FCI for some time, it was not until 1985 that it was accepted by the Kennel Club in London. Previously the British preference had been for the ever-shrinking Pomeranian, which had first arrived in England in the 18th century as a medium-sized dog and had then been selectively bred for smaller and smaller sizes until the tiny, modern Pom had been reached. In the 1970s several English breeders decided that they wanted to reverse this process and imported larger German Spitz dogs which they then crossed with the minute Pomeranians. The idea was to reverse, to a small degree, the extreme dwarfism which had developed. The idea of calling the larger dogs resulting from these crosses ‘Pomeranians’ was offensive to the devotees of the very small Poms, and the Kennel Club decided to classify the new, enlarged Poms as a separate breed. Even this did not settle matters entirely, because there were now two ‘levels’ of enlarged Pom. These were given the new names of German Spitz (Mittel) and German Spitz (Klein), which linked them to their continental size-equivalents, the Standard German Spitz and the Miniature German Spitz.


Its height is given as 11—14 in (29—36 cm) by one authority, and 12—15 in (30—38 cm) by another. The outer coat is harsh and long, while the undercoat is soft and woolly, providing good protection from even the coldest weather. Colours are varied. Solid colours are most commonly seen, but others are permitted.


German Giant Spitz

Also known as the Great Spitz, the Large Spitz, the Grand Loulou and, in its homeland, the Deutscher Grosser Spitz or the Deutscher Grosspitz, this breed, despite its size, was developed exclusively as a pet dog.

This is not really a giant breed, being only of medium size and not even as large as its relative, the sheep-herding Wolfspitz. But it gained its name because it is bigger than the Standard, Miniature or Toy Spitz breeds. It is a rare breed today, because breeders have tended to favour the smaller sizes of German Spitz dogs, especially the tiniest of them all — the Pomeranian.


In origin, it is said that the ancestors of this breed, and its relatives, were brought to Germany from the north by the Vikings. The German Spitz dogs are certainly early breeds, there being a mention of them (before they split into different sizes) in the literature of the mid-15th century.


The Giant form is accepted only in solid colours: white, black or brown. Since at least the 17th century, each of these colours has been associated with a particular region of Germany. The white were favoured in Elberfeld, the black and the brown in Wiirtemberg.

In height, this breed is 16 in (40—41 cm); in weight it is 38—40 lb (17—18 kg).


German Miniature Spitz

Also known as the Miniature German Spitz, the Small German Spitz, the German Spitz (Klein) or the Deutscher Klein Spitz, this little companion dog has been separated from its close relatives purely hy size. It is smaller than the Wolfspitz, the Giant Spitz and the Standard Spitz, hut larger than the Toy Spitz and the Pomeranian. It has sometimes been called the Victorian Pom, because it is closest to the type of dog that was first imported into England by Queen Victoria in the 19th century.


There has been considerable confusion over the different German Spitz breeds. Some canine authorities recognize only three forms of German Spitz — the large German Wolfspitz, the German Spitz and the tiny Pomeranian. In those cases, the Giant, the Standard and the Miniature are lumped together as one breed, called simply the German Spitz. The FCI, on the other hand, recognizes five breeds: the Wolfspitz, the Giant, the Standard, the Miniature and the Toy.

The situation was further complicated in the 1970s, when British breeders, alarmed by the problems arising with the smallest Pomeranians, imported both Standard and Miniature Spitz dogs to boost their size. These larger specimens were originally called Pomeranians, but this was unsatisfactory and eventually the Kennel Club allowed them to be separated and called the German Spitz (Mittel) and the German Spitz (Klein).


The height of the Klein, or Miniature, breed is given as 9—11 in (23—28 cm), which fills the size-gap between the Mittel, or Standard, and the Toy.

These quibbles over classification do not, happily, affect the personality of these dogs. From the rare Giant down to the tiniest Pom, they are all essentially the same kind of dog, even if they come in different-sized packages. They are all buoyant, lively, adaptable pets with almost identical spitz proportions, and provide ideal urban companionship.

This particular breed, the Miniature, may appear in both solid and bicolour forms. Although it had become quite rare, since 1985 there has been a revival of this version of the Spitz family in Germany, perhaps following in the wake of its official recognition by the Kennel Club in London.

Gallery of German Spitz