Japanese Spitz

Pure, snow white, and unique among Japan's dogs as a spitz type with its characteristic pointed muzzle, this very popular companion dog is gaining a following worldwide.

This dog is a relatively new breed. It is said that two pure white Samoyed females imported from Canada by a Tokyo breeder in the early 1900s were crossed with offspring of pure white dogs, also from imported stock, being bred in Nagoya. By around 1955, the Japanese spitz had become the most popular breed in the country.


The Japanese Spitz was developed in Japan in the 1930s. Some white spitz-type dogs were found in a cargo shipment from Canada at the time of the Tokyo earthquake and it seems certain that these were American Eskimo Dogs. That breed was originally taken to America from central Europe, having been developed from the White Spitz or Pomeranian. Russian White Spitzes were also imported into Japan in about 1930, this breed having spread to Russia from central Europe. There were a few white spitz-type dogs in Japan many years earlier but it was not until after World War 11 that the breed was really established at the Nagoya Centre for Spitz Breeding.

The first English imports were brought over by Mrs. Dorothy Kenyon from Sweden where the breed had been recognized. Although it was possible to import the breed directly into Sweden from Japan, it was not possible to do this in the United Kingdom. The British Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1977. Today the breed is well established in Britain and the level of quality is such that the Japanese Spitz is now a serious contender at Group level.


This dog has acute senses and is smart, merry, and friendly with children, as well as being loyal to its master.

The Japanese Spitz has a delightful temperament, being very alert and aware of what goes on around it. These dogs are intelligent, bold and make great companions.


The Japanese Spitz is very eye-catching with a beautiful double coat. Its medium-sized head should be moderately broad and its skull rounded, tapering to a pointed muzzle. Its small, angular ears are set on high; it has dark, oval-shaped eyes set obliquely. The breed has a broad chest. Small, round, catlike feet are called for with black pads and dark nails. The tail should curl over and lie along the back. The breed moves with a light, smooth action. The breed has a mane on its neck. The hair is shorter on the face, ears, the front of the foreleg and on the hind legs. The coat is always pure white and this, coupled with its dense black pigment, is a major part of the breed’s attraction. Dogs stand 12-14 inches/30-35.5 cm in height at the shoulder.


In general, Japanese Spitzes are very healthy little dogs which usually live to about twelve or fourteen years of age. There has been some incidence of patella luxation when the kneecap in the stifle joint slips out. Hopefully selective breeding will help to eliminate this condition.

Special Care and Training

The breed has a typical spitz double coat which means that the undercoat is shed once a year. Regular grooming is important to keep a Japanese Spitz in prime condition. Like other breeds in this group, Japanese Spitzes take to training quite well so long as this is done gradually from when the puppy is about eight weeks.


Japanese Spitzes are very adaptable dogs that make excellent companions, because they are naturally very affectionate. They have acute hearing and will warn of approaching strangers. They can be kept in either a kennel or home environment, but if the dogs are kenneled they must have plenty of human contact.

The breed’s popularity owes much to its size, being much larger and sturdier than the Pomeranian, yet considerably smaller and less demanding than the Samoyed.

Puppies and Training

The three to six puppies born in a litter are strong and easily trained.

Gallery of Japanese Spitz