German Spitz

German Spitz is used to refer to both a dog breeds and category or type of dog. Several modern breeds have been developed from the German Spitz, and are either registered as separate breeds or as varieties of German Spitz. All the German Spitz type dogs are dogs of the Spitz type of German origin. The Grossespitz, Mittelspitz, and Kleinspitz breeds of German Spitz type are also called the German Spitz in English.


German Spitz are similar in appearance but vary in color. The German Spitz can only be white but the Standard, Small and Dwarf can have various color combination as well. All German Spitzen have a wolf/fox-like head, double coat, highset triangular ears and a tail that is curled over the back. Although the Kleinspitz and the Pomeranian look alike, they are not the same dog. Also, some mixed-breed dogs, such as the papichon, a cross between the Bichon Frisé and Papillon breeds, resemble them, but are not to be confused with them.

The German Spitz breed

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes the German Spitz (Deutscher Spitz) under Group 5, Section 4, European Spitz. The Deutscher Spitz is one breed, names differentiate sizes and colour:

  • Wolfsspitz (a.k.a. Keeshond) - Wolf grey with black points
  • Großspitz (Great Spitz) - White, Brown or black
  • Mittelspitz (Medium/Standard Spitz, incl. American Eskimo Dog) - White, Brown or black
  • Kleinspitz (Miniature Spitz) - White, Brown or black, Orange, Grey shaded and other colours
  • Zwergspitz (Dwarf Spitz, a.k.a. Pomeranian) - Any colour

The German Spitz type

Since there is no one German Spitz breed type, "German Spitz" can also be considered a subtype of the Spitz. Dogs descended or bred from various German Spitzen are included in this grouping.

The Wolfspitz is also called the Keeshond and is registered as a separate breed by the Kennel Club (UK) and other registries. The Großspitz (Grossespitz) or Giant Spitz is 40.5-41.5 cm/16-17 in. high and weighs 17.5-18.5 kg/38.5-40 lbs. The Keeshond and the Giant Spitz are divided primarily by colour. The Mittelspitz or Medium/Standard Spitz is the ancestor of, and is sometimes taken to include, the American Eskimo Dog. The American Eskimo Dog is allowed to be registered as Mittelspitz by some registries. Only the Canadian Kennel Club and the two major American kennel clubs recognize the American Eskimo Dog as a separate breed. The Kleinspitz is allowed more colors than the larger German Spitz under the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard. The Japanese Spitz, also bred from the German Spitz, is very similar to the Kleinspitz but is limited to the white color. The Zwergspitz, the Pomeranian, is also registered as a separate breed in the UK and North America.

The Kennel Club (UK) and the Australian Kennel Club recognize only the Kleinspitz and Mittelspitz. In those countries the Grossespitz is not recognized, and the Pomeranian (Zwergspitz) and Keeshond (Wolfspitz) are separate breeds. In many countries the Miniature (Klein) Spitz is also confused with the Pomeranian (Zwergspitz). Some registries and dog breeds clubs allow various sizes of German Spitz to be interbred, others do not.

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