Article written/researched by Vivienne Peterson BA - First published 2008 - Copyright Protected

This article was published in the American Pomeranian Club Pomeranian Review 50th Anniversary edition March 2009

 

Note: I have found errors in nearly all books on Pomeranians. A few errors made by Mr Hicks in 1906 have been taken as fact and quoted over and over again as hard fact without either crediting him as the source or by disputing his findings through personal research. For example, it is only in Pom Books you will find the incorrect information that the KC was formed in 1870 – this error stems from Hicks’ otherwise very informative book. 

Researching the data for this page involved searching and double-checking a vast archive of material and whenever possible accessing primary sources and eye-witness evaluations in out of print books. Every effort has been made to be accurate, if however, you find an error please let me know and I will be happy to double check my information.

Poms at Dog Shows 

Possibly the first show with a scheduled class for Pomeranians was in 1863 at Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea. Two were exhibited, Mr Barnes’s Mike and Mr McCarthy’s Beauty. Prior to this Pomeranians had been shown in Foreign Dogs (Non Sporting) and were often referred to as Pomeranian Fox Dogs.

The Kennel Club was formed on April 4th 1873. The first Stud Book produced by the Kennel Club in 1874 listed 40 breeds of dogs and one of them was The Pomeranian. The Stud Book (compiled by Frank Pearce) recorded pre-KC era shows back to the first known English show in 1859. The show record of 43 Pomeranians was given commencing with Mr Thornley’s Alba – a prize winner in 1862. The date of birth of only seven Poms was given and breeders included Lord Harrington, Prince Maltzoff and Mr T Lines Turner.

In 1891 the Pomeranian Club was formed and Miss Hamilton of Rozelle Pomeranians was elected President. Miss Hamilton first appears in the records as the handler of Mr A. H. Megson’s dog Shirley at 3 London shows in the year 1889. Miss Hamilton acquired Shirley later that year. Mr Megson was a well-known Collie breeder.

Mr Fawdry, a founding member of The Pomeranian Club, exhibited a very handsome fellow called Charley, (right image) a white born in 1876, his weight is recorded in Vero Shaw’s book as 18lb – his height at the shoulder was 16 inches making him a small Gross Spitz by today’s FCI definitions and just slightly oversized for a Mittelspitz.

After 1874 when a black Pomeranian, imported from Germany by Mr Lender was successfully shown, a new era began. Dogs were regularly imported from Germany, usually black in colour, some were purchased from famous German breeders such as Mr Seyfarth & Essig and Burger. Many of the dogs had names reflecting the Swabian dialect, this confirms their origin in Germany’s Wuerttemberg region famed for Toy Spitz dogs (the Mannheimer or Zwergspitz).

Herr Albert Kull, a German authority on Spitz and show judge, is quoted in Hicks’ book (1906) as refuting the name and usage of the term Pomeranian –‘ But this nomenclature is quite a wrong one, for these dogs have never been introduced from Pomerania, but relics of them, especially skulls, are found in very great numbers in Switzerland, in all Germany, and in special abundance in Wurtemberg in the remains of lake-dwellings and in caves’

The salient issue is that commencing in 1874 for a period of some 25 years or so ALL the regional Spitz named below were classified for the purpose of exhibition in Britain as Pomeranians. Regardless of where they originated, what size or colour they might be, we classified them all as Pomeranians. 

EARLY VIEWS ON POMERANIANS 

In 1906 Mr Hicks (the Hon. Secretary/Treasurer of The Pomeranian Club) wrote, ‘The title of Pomeranian is not admitted by the Germans at all, who claim this as one of their national breeds, and give it the general name of German Spitz’. 

Mr Hicks – “ This breed of dog which we call the Pomeranian, is known by different titles on the Continent; for instance, Spitz, Wolfsspitz, Volpino, Lupino, Lulu and Pommer.”

Miss Ives (President of the N. of England Pomeranian Club) concurred, listing Lulu from France, Volpino from Italy, Keeshond from Holland and Spitz dogs from Germany all shown in England as Pomeranians. Two Volpinos she exhibited (as Pomeranians) were, she thought, the first two brilliant red dogs exported to America. The Pomeranian Ch Ruffle was bred from ‘ a yellow imported Volpino and a white Spitz which came from Germany’.

Vale Nicholas contributed the following information to The Kennel Encyclopaedia of 1907 (edited by J. Sidney Turner, Chairman of the KC Committee); ‘ … on the Continent they are known as Spitz, Wolfspitz, Volpino, Lupino, Loup-Loup, and Kees-hond.’ The Germans consider the breed a national one and do not admit the title by which it is known in this country.

Add to this a rather unique dog known as a Seidenspitz or Silky Spitz (right image - Seidenspitz - Engraving by Ludwig Beckmann). In Mr Bendelow’s informative book (1991) is an account of this dog given by Mrs Langton Dennis (a typo in the article calls it a Seiderspitz but it is in fact a Seidenspitz).

 

She compared it to the Maltese dog of the 5th century B.C. and noted due to his timid disposition he was a tail-dropper and was usually found in ‘the ranks of the VHC brigade’. He had a soft, silky flat coat and was always white. Mrs Langton Dennis was partially reviewing, with additional comments, Mrs Lytton’s (Lady Balfour) new book published in 1911 she refers to Leighton’s book of 1907 to see a good example. This dog was prize winning Pussl Ermannsheim, owned by Frau E. Ilgner of Bad Sodden. Leighton defined the dog as somewhere between a Maltese and a Pomeranian ‘it is really a silky coated Pomeranian … the average weight is 5lbs.’ 

Eventually the Germans did not admit this dog as a true Spitz for exhibition purposes, although it continued to be shown. The dog was thought to be a Maltese Terrier – Pomeranian hybrid. The Seidenspitz was very popular in the early 20th century, perhaps due to its docility and glamorous looks. It was apparently shown as a Pomeranian in this era.

It can therefore be concluded that the ancient ancestry of the modern Pomeranian will be that of all the breeds named above. The Kennel Club considered all of the above breeds to be Pomeranian for showing or breeding purposes at that time.

On the left is an early example of a  Mannheimer Spitz ( then termed a Zwerg-spitz) - they could be purchased from a mail order catalogue for 60 to 200 DM depending on colour and age. The older ones were twice the price. 

Mrs Thomas was the owner of  the first black Pom champion Black Boy (right) and is known to have imported her foundation stock from Germany. 

This illustrates that Black Boy was a Mannheimer Spitz type.

GERMAN SPITZ 

 

The most well known German Spitz were the Pommer or Pommern Spitz, the grauer Rheinischer Spitz and the toy size from the Wuerttemberg region called Mannheimer Spitz or Zwergspitz. German expert Herr Loewi, considered the Rheinischer Spitz (or Wolfsspitz) to be the same dog known to the Dutch as a Keeshond. The Pommer or Pomeranian was typically white although some had yellowy cream areas behind their ears. Black, red and parti-colours were infrequently seen, the latter colour was discouraged by enthusiasts. The Pommern Spitz was also the white/cream Keeshond of Holland. The exceedingly popular Mannheimer Spitz was favoured in black although brown, wolf sable & white specimens could be found. 

By 1898 German Spitz were graded in three sizes (in Germany) they eventually were sub-divided into further size categories. The small size represented by the Mannheimer Spitz was synonymous with being the Toy German Spitz (Zwergspitz). This size would today equate to the Kleinspitz size although quite a few were known to scale at 3-6lb. The Prince of Wales bought one himself in Bad Homburg as a gift for his daughter in 1891 – Blackie, as he was called, weighed 4lb. Offspring of an earlier acquisition of the Prince’s in 1885 were noted to be the same size as Blackie. 

Left - Blackie, born 1891, 4lb dog acquired in Germany as a gift from the future King Edward VII to his daughter 

The diminutive Toy size quickly became all the rage and as one observer so aptly put it ‘ the whites had their noses put out of joint’.

Mrs E.J. Thomas (a founding member of the Pomeranian Club in 1891) and famed for her black Poms was known to have imported nearly all her dogs from Germany. Her dog Black Boy born in 1890, bred from this stock, was the first black champion.

A London Toy Dog Show in 1886, organised by Mr Cruft, scheduled one class for Pomeranians or Spitz, restricted to dogs ‘under 10lb in weight’. In the catalogue for this show was an advert for a forthcoming special feature of Toy German Pomeranians, with portraits, in the next issue of the Pet Dog Journal. (Hicks, 1906) At the 1887 show 10 Poms under 10lb in weight were exhibited some born as early as 1883. 

Mr Cruft appears to have lent a hand in promoting the small size! 

A frequent comment made at the time was the sweet disposition and improved temperament of the incoming small German dogs. The old style Pom was infamous for being snappish and possessing a quick turn of temper. Books warned they were not to be trusted around children or strangers. So it is easy to see why the Toy size appealed to many people. 

Prior to the Quarantine Act of 1901 it was very simple to bring in foreign dogs and you could even import them from mail order catalogues!

VOLPINO ITALIANO

Also known as the Italian or Florentine Spitz, the Cane del Quirinale or the Italian Pomeranian could range in size from about 6lb – 10lbs. Roman and Greek artefacts confirm their diminutive size over 2000 years ago.

In 1502 the artist Carpaccio included a very small white specimen in the ‘Vision of St Augustine’. They appear in Continental court paintings as lapdogs throughout the 16th to 19th centuries. It is possible that some of the early Fox Dogs were this breed as Volpino translates as little fox.

 

Queen Victoria (the grand-daughter of Queen Charlotte – born a year after Charlotte died) bought some of her foundation stock from Florence in 1888 – one of them weighed a dainty 7 1/2 lbs.

Queen Victoria had shown no interest in Spitz/Poms until 1888 – her earliest dog Dash was a little Spaniel (the recipient of a wash directly after her Coronation) – her favourite breed was always the Collie and this is noted by several writers of the time and even in some Obituaries. The Queen had owned many breeds of dogs before dabbling in ‘Poms’ in the last 12 years of her life. She permitted a few of her dogs to be exhibited at shows between 1891-1894 for the ‘pleasure of the public’.

At her first show the Queen’s dog Gena ran headlong into Rob (later of Rozelle) an experienced show dog with his initial first place win at Crystal Palace in 1889. A very diplomatic judge awarded both Rob and Gena equal first place! Rob became the first Pomeranian Champion shortly thereafter.

The Queen’s ‘homebred’ bitch Fluffy was one of 94 entries (fewer were benched) at her Cruft’s debut in 1892. Lee noted (in 1894) that ‘all were of the small size’.

The Queen like many other enthusiasts merged Zwergspitze and Volpinos in her breeding programme.

 

Marco was frequently referred to as her Spitz dog, in the 1897 book ‘The Private Life of the Queen: by a Member of the Royal Household’ he is described as a‘ perky little tan-coloured German Spitz dog ‘Marco’ mate of Lenda’. In ‘type’ he resembled the Mannheimer/Zwergspitz of the era.

1892 – 1915 

In 1892 two small Poms did well at shows. Mrs Lynn’s Prince of Orange born in 1890 weighed 5lb and Mrs Thomas’s Lady Dinah born 1891 was a mere 3 1/2lb. One observer commented in 1894 that Poms of ‘4 to 6lb in weight being not unusual’.

As early as 1893 The Pomeranian Club decided to encourage Toy Pomeranians and provide classes for under 7lbs – this came into effect in 1894. However, the KC did not record dogs by weight until 1898 when they commenced using the terms – ‘exceeding 8lbs’ – and – ‘not exceeding 8lbs’.

 

The weight division was changed to 7lbs shortly thereafter.

By 1896, Miss Hamilton was able to offer three dogs at stud all under 6lbs!

Examination of the KC Stud Books from 1896 – 1900 reveals 306 under 8lb Poms and 247 over 8lb, confirming the popularity of the smaller size. This fact is confirmed by Lee in February 1899 ‘ but there are many little fellows of mostly all colours with us now that weigh 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs’ he then said ‘ this extraordinary increase is easily accounted by the introduction from Germany and the Continent of the smaller specimens, which are classed as Toys’.

It was once possible to re-register a ‘ Pomeranian Miniature’ (under 7lbs) to a ‘Pomeranian’ (meaning over 7lbs) at 12 months of age, should it grow larger than anticipated. This rule was in effect between April 1909 and December 1909.

It is still possible to re-register Zwerg/Klein/Mittel Spitz in some FCI countries based on their mature height at the shoulder. Quite a few exported British and American Pomeranians (Zwergspitz in FCI terminology) have exceeded the height for the Zwerg size and been re-classified as Kleinspitz for exhibition and breeding purposes.

Meanwhile there was a slight resurgence in interest in the larger specimens.

 

Well known judges had become critical of ‘weedy’ miniatures some weighing as little as 1 1/2lbs. Many thought the breed was better represented by dogs weighing over 5lb.

By 1896, Miss Hamilton was able to offer three dogs at stud all under 6lbs!

Examination of the KC Stud Books from 1896 – 1900 reveals 306 under 8lb Poms and 247 over 8lb, confirming the popularity of the smaller size. This fact is confirmed by Lee in February 1899 ‘ but there are many little fellows of mostly all colours with us now that weigh 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs’ he then said ‘ this extraordinary increase is easily accounted by the introduction from Germany and the Continent of the smaller specimens, which are classed as Toys’.

It was once possible to re-register a ‘ Pomeranian Miniature’ (under 7lbs) to a ‘Pomeranian’ (meaning over 7lbs) at 12 months of age, should it grow larger than anticipated. This rule was in effect between April 1909 and December 1909.

It is still possible to re-register Zwerg/Klein/Mittel Spitz in some FCI countries based on their mature height at the shoulder. Quite a few exported British and American Pomeranians (Zwergspitz in FCI terminology) have exceeded the height for the Zwerg size and been re-classified as Kleinspitz for exhibition and breeding purposes.

Meanwhile there was a slight resurgence in interest in the larger specimens.

 

Well known judges had become critical of ‘weedy’ miniatures some weighing as little as 1 1/2lbs. Many thought the breed was better represented by dogs weighing over 5lb. Recommendations were given to use brood bitches over 5lb in weight and smaller stud dogs.

(Reference – Mr Croxton Smith circa 1907)

right - Advert for Stud services 1896 Note - Manel Of Rozelle only weighed 3lb 2ozs

In 1899 an application was made by the Pomeranian Club to the KC to increase the annual amount of CCs from 4 to 8 per year. The application was refused. In 1904 despite continuing support for the breed the KC reduced the annual CC quota to 2. (This is information was recorded in 1906 by Mr Hicks.)

This affected the larger size more than the miniature size. At some point after 1906 (possibly 1908) the CCs were again adjusted to 4 annually. However, the overweight size was now passé and even Miss Chell (Belper Poms) their foremost advocate was selling tiny black Poms to the States. In 1915 the KC withdrew CCs for overweight Poms.

below left - Mrs Harvey's Ch. Prairie King, born 1894                           below right - Mrs. Bainbridge's Cello - born 1895

In 1899 an application was made by the Pomeranian Club to the KC to increase the annual amount of CCs from 4 to 8 per year. The application was refused. In 1904 despite continuing support for the breed the KC reduced the annual CC quota to 2. (This is information was recorded in 1906 by Mr Hicks.)

This affected the larger size more than the miniature size. At some point after 1906 (possibly 1908) the CCs were again adjusted to 4 annually. However, the overweight size was now passé and even Miss Chell (Belper Poms) their foremost advocate was selling tiny black Poms to the States. In 1915 the KC withdrew CCs for overweight Poms.

below left - Mrs Harvey's Ch. Prairie King, born 1894                           below right - Mrs. Bainbridge's Cello - born 1895

CHARACTER REFERENCE by Herr Albert Kull, German breed specialist, 1898

Herr Kull thought of them as ‘a surviving race of the primeval dog’ with qualities differing ‘from those common amongst other dogs’.

“He is no vagabond, no lickspittle; he knows what his place is, and what his duties are. He has to watch house and homestead, and to follow only his master. Therefore he takes no notice of other men or of dogs, but considers such intruders as enemies, and woe to the bones of the latter or the trousers of the former, whom he does not exactly like. He hardly knows any sleep; his small pointed ear perceives any noise; and with a furious bark he rushes at the supposed enemy; but all those qualities appoint him the protector and guard of house and homestead, as is the case with no other breed of dogs”.

Herr Kull stated they were distinguished by size – the great or carter’s Pomeranian, the medium size and the dwarf Pomeranian, the latter having become very rare, and being in great demand. Good specimens often were sold for £25.

(The Wolfs Spitz became the war dog of the Prussian Army in the Franco-Prussian conflict. Keeshond guarded barges in Holland. Others watched over merchant’s carts in both Germany & Italy and the smaller ones were perfect for homes and gardens. Miss Hamilton’s famed larger white, Koh-I-Noor, was ‘discovered’ trotting along next to a street-trader’s cart in Northern England and some 30 years earlier a Pom followed a dyer’s cart in Brighton. The dogs guarded their master’s wares when they had to leave the cart in the course of business. With this in mind all Spitz breeds make excellent watch-dogs and even the dainty little Pomeranian is ever alert and vigilant in listening out for you.)

Photo below left of pre-1906 Keeshond ( Wolfspitz) to be compared ( below right) with the Pomeranian Ch Tilton Sable Imp born in 1907 and a wolf shaded sable in colour.

Visit the fascinating website: Keeshond Archives

below left and right- Queen Victoria's Marco from Lane's book where he is referred to as a Pomeranian. In the photo on the right featured in an obituary for the Queen in the Ladies Kennel Journal he is called a Spitz.

below left and right- Queen Victoria's Marco from Lane's book where he is referred to as a Pomeranian. In the photo on the right featured in an obituary for the Queen in the Ladies Kennel Journal he is called a Spitz.

below left and right- Queen Victoria's Marco from Lane's book where he is referred to as a Pomeranian. In the photo on the right featured in an obituary for the Queen in the Ladies Kennel Journal he is called a Spitz.

All articles on this website are copyright protected and may not be reproduced without permission from the author

Email address pomkinsemail@aol.com - please fill in subject line so it doesn't end up in spam