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One of the oldest breeds from Central Europe, the German Spitz has a rich history in Europe and served as the progenitor of many breeds in the region. The term Spitz is derived from Old Dutch, and translates directly to “pointed peaks,” alluding to the breed’s distinctive, pointed ears.

The German Spitz was a common breed in medieval times and worked hard as a watchdog, vermin wrangler, and guardian of both livestock and vineyards. Today, the breed still maintains its reputation of having a watchful eye and lively spirit. There is much more to the German Spitz than meets the eye.

German Spitz sitting together in the grass.
Vera Zinkova/Shutterstock

The German Spitz Has Many Variations

The German Spitz comes in toy, medium, and large sizes, with a variety of color variations. The large German Spitz comes in brown, black, or white, while the toy and medium German Spitz come in a wider range of colors. This breed can weigh anywhere from 10 to 50 pounds, depending on its size.

They’re Highly Intelligent

The German Spitz is a very intelligent breed and learns quickly. They are eager to please their owners and respond well to various motivators. Their intelligence mixed with their devotion towards their owners make them easy to train. They can be highly independent, so consistent socialization and training are key.

German Spitz Can Make Great Watchdogs

The German Spitz is naturally a very vocal breed. Bred to be an alert watchdog, their natural reaction is to bark at just about anything. They can also be uneasy around strangers and lack hunting instincts. These traits make them effective guard dogs.

German Spitz sitting in profile outdoors looking up.
Zita Ile/Shutterstock

They’re an Active Breed

This breed requires plenty of mental and physical stimulation. They were bred to do field jobs, so they fare best when given regular exercise and activities like ball chasing and learning tricks. Neglecting to give the German Spitz a proper outlet for their energy may lead to excessive barking or destructive behavior.

Regular Coat Maintenance Is Key

The German Spitz has a thick, fluffy double coat that requires regular grooming. They need to be brushed every few days and require thorough grooming about once a week. Their profuse coats naturally repel dirt and require baths less frequently than brushing. Regular grooming habits should keep their lush coat intact, preventing knots and matting.

The German Spitz Was Bred For Colder Climates

The German Spitz is considered a northern breed and was initially bred for frigid temperatures. The thick double coat keeps the breed warm and allows them to deal with harsher conditions when doing herding or hunting tasks.

A Popular Breed Is Thought to Be Linked to the German Spitz

The Pomeranian is a breed thought to be linked to the German Spitz, specifically the toy version. The two breeds look alike and have similar temperaments, but the Pomeranian was bred for companionship while the German Spitz was bred for working.

German Spitz together in the field in the fall.
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Their Coloring Worked for Their Benefit in the Past

In medieval times, when the German Spitz primarily worked as a herding dog, its color was key in distinguishing it. Large, white German Spitz acted as typical farm guardians, protecting and herding sheep. Their white coat helped distinguish the breed from wolves in the dark. While white German Spitz watched over sheep, black German Spitz were more widespread across German wine regions. Large, black German Spitz would guard yards during the day and vineyards at night.

The German Spitz Is a Good Family Dog

A devoted breed, the German Spitz can be a great addition to a family. They tend to be good with older children and other pets, especially when socialized early. Plus, they bond strongly with their owners and can be quite affectionate with those they love. Families prepared to give this spunky breed all the attention and exercise they need may consider bringing a German Spitz into their home.

The German Spitz Is Resilient

Bred for colder climates, the German Spitz is ready to handle difficult conditions. They tend to be indifferent to the weather, and their endurance, energy, and attentiveness set them apart from other breeds. Pomeranians are also far more common in the U.S. than the German Spitz.

The highly intelligent, devoted German Spitz is a breed deserving of wider spread recognition. They have a legacy across generations, dating back to medieval times. Its close cousins and descendants represent a wide lineage of working dogs, with responsibilities in pastures and vineyards. Their alert, watchful nature serves just as much of a purpose for their owners today as it did in the past.