Did You Know?

What Is A Spitz Dog?

Many breeds of dog popularly kept today are said to be ‘spitz’ dogs or ‘spitz type’ dogs. If you’ve been looking at a variety of different breeds and types of dogs with a view to finding the perfect future pet or companion for you and your family, you will possibly have already heard the term in usage and wondered exactly what it means, what type of dogs it encompasses, and if a spitz dog might be worthy of consideration as your future pet.

So, what is a spitz dog?

Spitz dogs are generally characterised by their pointed ears and elongated muzzle, and thick, dense fur which often contains a significant amount of white pigmentation. The tail will generally be of a type that naturally curls up over the back of the dog to some degree.

Why ‘spitz’?

The term ‘spitz’ is more of a ‘type’ identification, and dogs of the spitz type often bear a passing or sometimes strong resemblance to wolves. It is thought that spitz type dogs originate from both deliberate and accidental matings of both domestic and wild dog packs with wolves.

The spitz origins

While the precise geographical origins of the spitz dog type are unknown, a significant number of dogs classed as spitz types originate from East Asia and the Arctic regions. While the word ‘spitz’ is Germanic in origin, and a significant number of spitz dogs have been bred in Germany during their relatively recent history, the various factors that make up the spitz typing is not believed to be indigenously Germanic.

A list of spitz dog breeds

Dogs which fall under the heading of the spitz type may come from a wide variety of different breeds and breed groupings, and there is no one size fits all descriptive. While modern genetic testing and historical analysis of spitz dog types means that scientists and canine authorities are coming ever closer to definitively identifying the ancestral genetic relationship between different dogs of the spitz type, at this time a comprehensive and universally agreed upon list of spitz breeds is still under construction.

The range of dogs which are most usually considered to be spitz dogs and having the universal traits of the spitz type are listed below.

  • Akita Inu
  • Alaskan Husky
  • Alaskan Klee Kai
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Akita
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • Black Norwegian Elkhound
  • Canaan Dog
  • Canadian Eskimo Dog
  • Chow Chow
  • East Siberian Laika
  • Eurasier
  • Finnish Lapphund
  • Finnish Spitz
  • German Spitz
  • Greenland Dog
  • Guejae Gae
  • Hokkaidō
  • Icelandic Sheepdog
  • Indian Spitz
  • Jämthund
  • Japanese Spitz
  • Kai Ken
  • Karelian Bear Dog
  • Keeshond
  • Kintamani
  • Kishu
  • Korean Jindo Dog
  • Labrador Husky
  • Lapponian Herder
  • Mackenzie River Husky
  • Norrbottenspets
  • Northern Inuit Dog
  • Norwegian Buhund
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Norwegian Lundehund
  • Nureongi
  • Pomeranian
  • Pungsan
  • Russo-European Laika
  • Sakhalin Husky
  • Salish Wool Dog
  • Samoyed
  • Schipperke
  • Seppala Siberian Sleddog
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shikoku
  • Siberian Husky
  • Swedish Lapphund
  • Swedish Vallhund
  • Tamaskan Dog
  • Thai Bangkaew Dog
  • Volpino Italiano
  • West Siberian Laika

Spitz Appearance

The appearance of spitz type dogs is very distinctive, notwithstanding the general variations in size, build and origins between the different spitz type breeds, and once you have familiarised yourself with the signature spitz appearance taking into account the facial shape, curled tail and dense fur, identifying spitz type dogs when out and about becomes relatively straightforward.

Owning a spitz dog

One of the most distinctive and uniting factors common to all of the dogs of the spitz type is their dense, often luxurious coat, which may comprise of two layers; a long, fine topcoat and a thick, insulating undercoat of coarser hair. A spitz dog requires regular grooming and to be bathed with a nourishing dog shampoo to keep their coat soft, smooth and tangle-free.

A dog with a coat of this type may well require a considerable amount of grooming to avoid matted fur and associated problems, you must use a Leave On Conditioner while brushing, although that is not enough. A brush will only take care of the top layer of fur, and a comb will be required to groom the dog down to the skin and deal with any mats or knots within the fur.

Spitz dogs tend to be loyal, good natured and inquisitive, and are generally relatively easy to train, although they can be prone to stubbornness and require firm direction and consistent handling. They are generally good with children and other pets, although as with any type of dog, each individual animal should be considered on its own merits and will have its own unique personality and temperament.


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