A "Spitz-type" breed is a dog that is compact of body, with dense stand off coat, tail curled over the back and a fox appearance to the head. The German Spitz in appearance is quite similar to that of a small Chow, with less ruff at the neck and a more fox-like appearance to the head. Archaeological findings date the German Spitz to dogs that were of similar body build and size during the Stone Age.
Historically in Germany the German Spitz has been divided into five separate sizes. All sizes of the Spitz can be found in Germany today. Actually these dogs are all considered separate "breeds" but are classed in the F.C.I. (European dog club classifications) as members of the entire "family" of German Spitz. The Spitz family ranges from the 19 inch size (known as the Keeshond) down to the 7-8 inch variety known as the Pomeranian. The Keeshond and the Pomeranian are the sizes most commonly seen in Britain and in the United States. Australia only recognizes the standard size in their dog shows. The breed standard of the F.C.I. distinguishes all variations by size and markings or color but all within the one classification of "German Spitz" while the A.K.C. recognizes the varieties as separate breeds. In Great Britain the Kennel club allows exhibits of all sizes and colorations within one class. At the Kennel Club shows this makes for an interesting and exciting class for spectators to observe, what with all the different colors and markings.
In all the varieties of the Spitz, the coat is termed a "stand-off" coat, meaning that the individual guard hairs stand away from the body and do not lie flat. This makes an easy care coat that requires little brushing to remain mat free. The outer coat is weather resistant and does not mat easily and except for seasonal shedding of the undercoat a weekly brushing is fine. The ears are always upright and the tail is always curled over the back, with shorter fur on the fronts of the legs.
The Spitz was commonly used in Germany as a drover's dog. Queen Victoria was responsible for the introduction of the breed into Great Britain, where it became popular as a companion dog and lap dog. In Great Britain the Pomeranian size gained the greatest popularity. The German Spitz has a lively and inquisitive nature, friendly and outgoing and non aggressive in all respects, making it a dog that blends easily into a household with children and other animals. They are a bit reserved with strangers and give a good warning as a watchdog but are not known for displays of bad temper. The high intelligence and easy trainability of the German Spitz makes it a popular obedience candidate and it is lively enough to be a good agility prospect also. This is a breed that no doubt would make more of a mark in the United States if agility enthusiasts knew about it. The dog's size and temperament make it an ideal apartment dog, needing nothing more than one or two daily walks for exercise.