In hopes that I can give my readers some insight into dog breeds’ personalities, I am featuring different breeds each week. I will give a little history about the breed, i.e., what they were bred to do, talk about their personalities, and provide advice on the lifestyle needs of the breed. Remember, as I always say, every dog is an individual. Some dogs will exactly fit the breed characteristics while others may be nothing like it.

Did you know that the teeny-tiny 8 inch high, 8-pound Pomeranian is really a sled dog? Truly. They belong to the Nordic Spitz group of dogs, originally bred in Iceland in the 16th century to pull sleds, carry packs, and even be guard dogs. The Pomeranian as we know it today came from the northern Poland/eastern Germany region called Pomerania and were much larger, weighing about 35 pounds. Through the years, they have been bred smaller and smaller and you can now find Pomeranians that weigh only 3 pounds (although that is not the breed standard). Queen Victoria of England is purported to have had a large influence with the breed in the late 1800s. But they still bear the appearance and temperament of their ancestors – thick, sturdy coat and a determined character.

Don’t be fooled by the Pom’s diminutive size. They can have big personalities! Often described as feisty and spirited, these little dogs are confident and are not aware of their small size. They can be quite the watchdog, very alert and barking frequently when they hear noises. So, despite their petite-ness, they may not be well-suited for apartment living unless trained not to bark. Because they can be suspicious of strangers, they must be socialized at a young age.

Pomeranians love to play, play, play! They will demand your attention and may be unhappy if left alone. They do bond closely with their humans and will love to be with you. They also like other dogs (another throwback to their sled dog roots!), so if you must leave them alone while you’re at work all day it would be nice if they had another dog-friend to live with.

Pomeranians can be strong-willed, despite their small size. If not trained and shown proper leadership, they will take over as boss of the home and won’t listen. Early obedience training and leadership by good parenting skills is required.

Poms may not be the best choice for families with young children. They can be fragile and easily harmed if stepped on or picked up. Little dogs have a tendency to be snappy with small children. It is their only defense.

Pomeranians are often exploited by puppy mills due to their small size (puppy millers prefer to breed small dogs because they take up less space, are less expensive to feed, and are in demand by the public – which all translates to bigger profits for them). Never buy a puppy from a pet store, on the Internet or from an Amish farmer. You will be paying a lot of money for a dog with questionable lineage and the strong possibility for health problems. My neighbor bought a Pomeranian from an Amish farm and the dog looks a lot like a Shih Tzu! That’s what they do, they mix the dogs together but then claim they are pure bred. AKC or ACA papers mean nothing nowadays.

Most Pomeranians are very sweet and loving, and will make wonderful pets. They can live for a very long time – be prepared for a lifetime of love from them.