Spitz (derived from the German word "spitz", meaning "pointed") is a type of domestic dog characterized by long, thick, and often white fur, and pointed ears and muzzles. The tail often curls over the dog's back or droops.

Princess Ludovika of Bavaria (1808–1892), mother of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, holding a spitz dog

The exact origins of spitz dogs are not known, though most of the spitzes seen today originate from the Arctic region or Siberia.[1] The type was described as Canis pomeranus by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in his revision of Systema Naturae in 1788.[2]


Spitzes are well suited to living in harsh northern climates. They often have an insulating, waterproof undercoat that is denser than the topcoat to trap warmth. Small, upright ears help to reduce the risk of frostbite, and thick fur that grows on the paws protects the dogs from sharp ice. Many spitz breeds, like the Akita and Chow Chow, retain wolf-like characteristics like independence, suspiciousness, and aggression towards unfamiliar humans and other dogs, and they require much training and socialization when they are puppies before they become manageable in an urban environment. Some, such as the Karelian Bear Dog, are more difficult to train as companion dogs. Some sources claim spitzes are more prone to rabies than other dog types.[3] Some breeds, such as the Pomeranian, have manes.

Companions and toysEdit

Spitzes, with their thick fur, fluffy ruffs, curled tails and small muzzles and ears, have been bred into non-working dogs designed to be companions or lap dogs. This trend is most evident in the tiny Pomeranian, which was originally a much larger dog closer to the size of a Keeshond before being bred down to make an acceptable court animal.

The Keeshond, the Wolfspitz variety of the German Spitz, is an affectionate, loyal, and very energetic pet that was bred as a watchdog for barges (hence the name Dutch Barge Dog). Often, these breeds are recognized for their "smiling" mouths. Other spitzes that have been bred away from working uses are the American Eskimo Dog, Alaskan Klee Kai, German Spitz, Volpino Italiano and Japanese Spitz.[4]

Spitz breedsEdit

Sled dogsEdit

Alaskan husky Origin: Alaska, United States Alaskan Malamute   Origin: Alaska, United States
Canadian Eskimo Dog   Origin: Northern Canada Greenland Dog   Origin: Greenland
Mackenzie River husky   Origin: Alaska, United States Samoyed   Origin: Northwest Russia and Western Siberia
Siberian Husky   Origin: Siberia, Russia

Hunting dogsEdit

Black Norwegian Elkhound   Origin: Norway East Siberian Laika   Origin: east of the Yenisei River
Finnish Spitz   Origin: Finland Hällefors Elkhound   Origin: Svealand, Sweden
Hokkaido   Origin: Hokkaido, Japan Jindo   Origin: Jindo, South Korea
Kai Ken   Origin: Japan Karelian Bear Dog   Origin: Karelia
Karelo-Finnish Laika   Origin: Karelia Kishu Ken   Origin: Japan
Norrbottenspets   Origin: Norrbotten, Sweden Norwegian Elkhound   Origin: Norway
Norwegian Lundehund   Origin: Norway Pungsan dog   Origin: North Korea
Russo-European Laika   Origin: European Russia Shiba Inu   Origin: Japan
Shikoku   Origin: Shikoku, Japan Swedish Elkhound   Origin: Jämtland, Sweden
Swedish White Elkhound   Origin: Jämtland, Sweden Taiwan Dog   Origin: Taiwan
West Siberian Laika   Origin: Russia Yakutian Laika   Origin: the Sakha Republic

Herding dogsEdit

Finnish Lapphund   Origin: Lapland, Finland|- Icelandic Sheepdog   Origin: Iceland
Lapponian Herder   Origin: Finland Norwegian Buhund   Origin: Norway
Swedish Lapphund   Origin: Lapland, Sweden Swedish Vallhund   Origin: Västergötland
Dikkulak Origin: Turkey

Asian breedsEdit

Akita   Origin: Akita and Odate, Japan Chow Chow   Origin: China
Indian Spitz   Origin: India Japanese Spitz   Origin: Japan
Kintamani   Origin: Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia Nureonji Origin: Korea
Thai Bangkaew Dog   Origin: Bang Rakam District, Phitsanulok Province, Thailand East Siberian Laika   Origin: Eastern Siberia, Russia

Companion dogsEdit

Alaskan Klee Kai   Origin: Alaska, United States Mittelspitz   Origin: Germany
American Eskimo Dog   Origin: Germany Pomeranian   Origin: Pomerania, Germany
Danish Spitz   Origin: Denmark Northern Inuit Dog   Origin: United Kingdom
Eurasier   Origin: Weinheim, Germany Schipperke   Origin: Belgium
Grossespitz   Origin: Germany Tonya Finosu   Origin: Turkey
Keeshond   Origin: Netherlands Volpino Italiano   Origin: Italy
Kleinspitz   Origin: Germany

Extinct breedsEdit

Hare Indian Dog   Origin: Canada Sakhalin Husky   Origin: Sakhalin, Russia
Salish Wool Dog   Origin: North America Tahltan Bear Dog   Origin: British Columbia, Canada


  1. ^ http://www.woofahs.com/dog_breeds/spitz_dog_breeds.html
  2. ^ Linnaeus, C. (translated and revised by R. Kerr). 1792. The Animal Kingdom; or, zoological system of the celebrated Sir Charles Linnaeus. Class I. Mammalia and Class II. Birds. Being a translation of that part of the Systema Naturae, as lately published with great improvements by Professor Gmelin, together with numerous additions from more recent zoological writers and illustrated with copperplates. J. Murray, London, 644 pp.
  3. ^ Peterson, Vivienne (March 2008). "Mad Dog! The Vilification of the White Pomeranian or Spitz in 19th century New York City". Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  4. ^ Gest, Jason. "What Is a Spitz Type Dog?". Cute Pomsky. Retrieved 4 January 2016.

External linksEdit

  •   Media related to Spitz at Wikimedia Commons