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.
The exact origins of spitz dogs are not known, though most of the spitzes seen today originate from the Arctic region or Siberia. The type was described as Canis pomeranus by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in his revision of Systema Naturae in 1788.
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. 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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Hare Indian Dog||Origin: Canada||Sakhalin Husky||Origin: Sakhalin, Russia|
|Salish Wool Dog||Origin: North America||Tahltan Bear Dog||Origin: British Columbia, Canada|
- 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.
- 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.
- Gest, Jason. "What Is a Spitz Type Dog?". Cute Pomsky. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Media related to Spitz at Wikimedia Commons