If you're looking for a small, fluffy dog to bring home, you have several options. Pomeranians and German spitz dogs both fulfill these requirements. While the two breeds both come from spitz bloodlines, they've been bred to different standards over the years, so they're quite distinct from one another. Learning about their differences may help you decide which one you'd like to become a member of your family.
Meet the Breeds
Spitz type dogs may have existed as long as 6,000 years ago, belonging to early hunter-gatherers, but German spitzes weren't popular until the 18th century. Early members of the breed were actually referred to as Pomeranians in the UK, although they were far removed from today's Pomeranians. They aren't yet recognized by the American Kennel Club -- although they're part of the Foundation Stock Service -- but are recognized by the UK's Kennel Club. Pomeranians came from the historical Pomerania region, which now makes up parts of Germany and Poland, where they were used as working dogs. They came from spitz lines, but were bred much smaller. They were recognized by the AKC in 1888.
Height and Weight
German spitzes come in two different sizes. Klein -- or small -- varieties should be between 9 and 11 1/2 inches to the shoulder. Mittel -- or medium -- varieties should be between 12 and 15 inches to the shoulder. No weight guidelines exist for the breed, according to the Kennel Club's breed standards, but their weight should be in proportion to their height. Pomeranians are of a similar height to klein German spitzes, but smaller than the mittel variety. They generally measure between 8 and 12 inches to the shoulder. They should weight between 3 and 7 pounds, with show specimens weighing between 4 and 6 pounds, according to the AKC breed standard.
Temperament and Personality
Both German spitzes and Pomeranians can make great family pets, but they do have slightly different temperaments. German spitzes should have a happy and friendly personality and be confident, without showing any aggression or any nervousness, states the Kennel Club. Pomeranians are more vivacious, with an extroverted personality and high levels of intelligence, according to the AKC.
Coat and Color
German spitzes and Pomeranians are both double-coated. However, German spitzes have soft, wooly undercoats and long, harsh, straight outercoats, whereas Pomeranians have short, dense undercoats and long outercoats which stand off the body, giving a fluffy appearance. Both breeds can have coats of almost any color, except German spitzes may not be shown if they have butterfly pigment and Pomeranians shouldn't have white on one or more feet, unless they have white or parti-colored coats.