If you are thinking about getting a German Spitz: Congrats! Spitzes are really very special dogs that steal your heart. However, everyone should think in advance about whether a Spitz actually suits them and their life.
"Never ever a Spitz - and definitely not a big one! Because these dogs are sneaky, snappy, treacherous and have to be combed constantly and bathed at least once a week. In the apartment you can see the fur everywhere on the upholstered furniture and on the farm the dog is constantly covered in dirt. And in summer you can't do anything with them because it's too hot for them and for those many fur. So keep your hands away from the German Spitz!"
If you listen to this accumulation of prejudices, you may be depriving yourself of a great deal of joy with a really great breed of dog!
Spitzes were and are real "all-rounders": They guard their master's belongings and keep their area free of rats, mice and vermin of all kinds. They used to guard as carriage dogs, on barges and ships and are even able to take on light herding work. In order to be able to guard well, a Pomeranian must be suspicious of strangers (possible intruders!) and, if necessary, be prepared to defend his property. At least that's the theory. In practice, however, these characteristics vary considerably.
Since the Spitz has always flourished in secret and has been half-forgotten in our time, it is difficult to get sensible and truthful information about it. Anyone who looks for information on the Internet will quickly find very contradictory characteristics about him. "Heel-biter", "sharp" "family dog", "yappy", "perfect dog for children", "non hunting dog", "suspicious", "sneaky" and "easy to train" are the buzzwords you come across. And yes, they contradict each other.
The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Because there are Spitzes that are extremely easy-going, as well as those that are extremely stubborn, grumpy and incredibly sharp. And of course lots in between. This has something to do with the breeding goals of the breeders as well as the respective variety. Of course, the matter of breeding goals has its limits:
Personally, I prefer the more robust Spitz, and I'm not a fan of "modernizing" the German Spitz in order to supposedly make him more family-friendly and adapt him to today's times. Although there is no denying the fact that today's Spitz has more facets than the Spitz of the past, you should not be taken for a fool.
Do you have a Spitz who can barely hold himself up when he sees a squirrel and his teeth are chattering like crazy? Does your Spitz retrieve like a world champion? The alleged Wolfsspitz looks more like a huge Pomeranian and can hardly see out of its eyes because of all the fur? Are you receiving requests for breeding from the German Shepherd Club because your Spitz looks much more like a Swiss Shepherd with a curl on the back than a German Spitz? Does your German Spitz let strangers pet him through the garden fence when you're absent? Congratulations, you've been fooled! What was sold to you is certainly a Spitz, but not a German Spitz - but at most a European "Spotz". What is a “Spotz”? A mocking word creation that describes a kind of hybrid of German and foreign Spitzes (for example Lapphund or Samoyed). As far as I'm concerned, they're welcome to hunt and retrieve like hell, I don't care. However, such mixed breeds are by no means German Spitzes, even if the pedigree and breeders lead you to believe that is exactly what they are. Nope, you were duped in a big way. Because there are no different interpretations of the German Spitz, or even an “old style” or "old type". There are only German Spitzes - and also foreign Spitz breeds or Spitz hybrids. That's it!
So if you're looking for a super-smart clown who can have an eye on everything and everyone, you're definitely right with the Spitz. His vigilance and, above all, his curiosity should not be underestimated. He likes to position himself in places where he can see or hear all the important places and people. It sometimes happens that the windowsill, the hill in the garden or the back of the couch become your favorite place. Or the balcony flower boxes (sure, the view is much better from there). He is not always friendly towards strangers, new situations or just neighbors on two or four legs. The German Spitz has perfected barking at stimuli. Due to his very interested but skeptical nature, he tends to look closely at situations or new things from a safe distance. At least that's the theory.
Only a few breeders keep Wolfsspitz and Giant Spitz together and can really compare both varieties under the same conditions. My experience extends to my own dogs, the dogs of friends and of course my research. My comments therefore do not necessarily have any general value.
The Wolfspitz is able to herd sheep or cows and is ideal as a guard dog. With adequate training, he never barks unnecessarily. But when he gets angry, he literally explodes. The angry Wolfsspitz stamps impressively with his front quarter paws and breaks into a howling yelp. I don't know of any such behavior from the other big size Spitzes.
All in all, the Wolfspitz is rather “macho-like”. His training as a companion dog is certainly possible, but it requires a lot of perseverance, because the Wolfsspitz is very independent and doesn't particularly like to obey commands. He is not an obedience machine, and some specimens shine through their professional stubbornness. He is still more than loyal to his understanding master. What he has learned is never forgotten - including good and bad experiences.
Like the Wolfsspitz, the Giant Spitz prefers to use his eyes instead of the nose. Both see everything: objects that are no longer in their place, but should not actually be particularly interesting for the dog, are immediately discovered and barked at - especially by the Giant Spitz, as they are more choleric are than the Wolfsspitz. Giant Spitz are usually very agile, happy to jump and quite willing to obey. They love learning little tricks and are actually happy about everything, as long as you keep busy with them. The black Giant Spitz is definitely more robust, sharper and primitive than the white one and therefore needs appropriate leadership. If he gets this, you will have a really great dog at home. All large Spitzes are very suitable as guards.
In summary, one can say that the Wolfsspitz is a very loyal, but also very independent dog, while the Giant Spitz appears hot-blooded, but literally melts in the presence of its master - like snow in the sun. He just wants to please his family. “Wolfsspitz or Giant Spitz?” In principle, it means "lonesome rider" vs. "mummy's little baby" - but this only applies to the closest circle. Outwardly, most Spitzes are initially suspicious and primitive in nature.
(SOUND ON!) In the video you can see the difference between Wolfsspitz and Großspitz very clearly: While Mr. Großspitz demands the stick with a grumble, Kuno secures it with his Wolfsspitz superpower - his stubbornness. Almost short temper vs. persistence.
Shortly about grooming the Spitz: A dog is as clean as its surroundings! Wolfsspitz also gets dirty when kept in the coal cellar. And: All dogs shed, although short hair is much more difficult to remove. The Spitz requires occasional grooming with a comb and brush, with the undercoat being treated gently. Because of the structure of its undercoat, caring for the Wolfspitz's coat is a little more complex than that of the Giant Spitz's, but it's still hardly worth mentioning. Incidentally, all Spitzes are not suitable objects for shampoo advertising because they should all be bathed as rarely as possible. It is actually only necessary if the dog has rolled in sh*t while walking. As a rule, caring for the fur of the Giant Spitz is the easiest thing: it basically takes care of itself.
“Are all Spitzes equal?”
No, they are not. The characteristics typical of the breed, which are listed by the FCI standard, cannot often be confirmed in reality. On the one hand, there are sharp guardians among them, but on the other hand, just as many German Spitzes are much more like the classic family dog. As already described above, this is due to both the different breeding goals of the different breeders and the different lines and varieties within the Spitz population. Above all, the differences between the dogs are due to the fact that they are not purebred, but rather "Spotzes" (see above). Although some people think it's okay that there are German Spitz dogs that hunt like hell, these dogs are more likely to be mixed breeds than German Spitz! The same applies to Spitzes which always let any stranger give them a good cuddle. Although every dog is an individual and the German Spitz in particular is certainly really individual, a dog breed is still a dog breed because it meets defined breeding goals. If a breeder does not adhere to these breeding goals or the breed standard, what he produces is not a German Spitz but a mixed breed.
Purely a matter of taste. Male dogs are usually more outward-oriented, and when they are, they are more openly unruly. Bitches are more domestic, more inward-oriented, but also often more adept at breaking rules unnoticed by flirting with the master.
"Is the German Spitz a beginner's dog?"
Nope! First, for me, there is no breed that is absolutely the “ideal first dog” for everyone. Every breed has typical characteristics that have been fixed through many years of breeding and are firmly anchored in the genes. But ultimately it is the character of the dog that determines whether the chemistry between the dog and the owner are right - and with every dog you will be faced with new challenges because every dog is individual.
If you are enthusiastic about the German Spitz and are aware that you are bringing a guard dog into your home, the Spitz is definitely suitable as a beginner dog. But no matter which breed you choose, you always have to invest time and energy in training the dog in a species-appropriate manner. So even a Spitz that is supposedly so easy to handle doesn't train itself.
The highly praised intelligence of Spitz is only one side of the coin, as it sometimes leads to Spitz thinking of a variety of ways to outwit his owner and cleverly circumvent the rules in order to achieve his goal. 😉
As different as they are visually, these dogs are also different in character
The closer a Spitz is to the original type, the more primitive it is. This means that such a dog must be managed consistently, otherwise one day you may experience hell on earth. However, if you look into the ranks of the Spitz, which have influences from abroad, such as the Keeshond or Spitzes with American Eskimo Dog ancestors, it is quite likely that you will get a much easier-to-handle family dog here (Maybe, not must! My Giant Spitz Birk has Eskie ancestors, but is very tough and primitive and therefore not easy to handle.).
One thing in advance - regardless of whether it is an apartment or a house: If you are obsessed with cleanliness or hygiene, you should generally not get a dog. Wherever animals come and go, there is dirt; where dogs are, you will also find dog hair. Anyone who sees this as a danger to their well-being and that of their family will go through life better without a dog.
Now to the actual question: Should you keep a large Spitz in your home? I say “yes” clearly, because the apartment is a place of retreat, a place to sleep. This is the place for peace and security. However, it is important that the dog gets enough exercise outside the home and is allowed to accompany its family whenever possible. Since the Spitz is a born guard dog, keeping him busy isn't very difficult, because after all, there's always something to guard.
Large Spitzes were originally kept on farms, wagons and ships, where they only had a little range of movement. Even today, they still love to observe the surroundings from a vantage point. But even if they don't have an excessive need for exercise and, unlike hunting dogs, for example, they don't get digestive problems as quickly if they don't get enough exercise for a few days, the large Spitz should also have the chance to go for a long walk at least once a day.
True. The German Spitz has a huge heart for children and will play along with any practical joke well into old age. German Spitzes are real jokers and absolutely enthusiastic when it comes to “their” children entrusted to them.
Spitzes are ideal for living in a family with children, as Spitz - more than any other dog breed - relate to their people. They are simply very fond of “their” children and watch out permanently to ensure that nothing happens to them. They are also ideal children's dogs because, due to their lack of hunting drive, they pose no danger to small children, for example, falling down (this falling can certainly trigger a prey reflex in some dogs, because head = ball. There have already been a few serious accidents of this kind.). Even fully grown Spitzes maintain their absolute harmlessness towards children and do not hold any grudges at all. If the children poke the Spitz, he retreats briefly, only to immediately undergo the same procedure again. Click here!
Yes, that's right. The original magpie was probably once apprenticed to the original Spitz. The difference here is upbringing: a well-trained Spitz only steals when his master is absent, a naughty one even when the master is present. 😜
A neat, well-behaved Spitz, he gets along well with all other pets and maintains his unconditional harmlessness towards them throughout his life. In my opinion, this is mainly because the German Spitz doesn't have hunting drive. The animals sense this instinctively - even wild animals that you sometimes meet on your walk feel that the Spitz poses no danger to them, so that when they see him they do not flee, but rather remain calmly where they are. I have experienced this myself several times, and it has also been confirmed to me by other Spitz owners. As is often the case, the key to this is certainly the Spitz's lack of hunting drive.
❓ Are you looking for a good guard dog?
✔️ If you would like to have an old style guard dog: look into the ranks of the pure-black Giant Spitzes or the Wolfsspitz of the original type.
❓ Would you rather have a friendly family and companion dog?
✔️ Here you will probably be happiest with a Keeshond or a Spitz with Eskie blood.
❓ Your dog should guard, but not too much?
✔️ A white Spitz should fit. He's still very dutiful, but not too keen.
❓ You definitely don't want a Spitz who has a hunting drive?
✔️ Then you might be most likely to have luck with a Wolfsspitz or a Giant Spitz from German breeding (Eskie-free line). However, you should ask the breeder very carefully about any hunting instincts the parents may have.
❓ Would you like to do agility with your Spitz and ride a lot of bikes?
✔️ A Spitz with an Eskie component is probably best suited for this.
❓ Do you want your dog to be easy to groom?
✔️ This tends to apply to Giant Spitzes from German litters and Wolfsspitzes from the old German type. Keeshonds and Eskies often have much more lush fur than the working lines.
Giant Spitz "Evoli von Wölkau" at work on the farm. She has enough predatory drive to kill rats and other vermin, but is still friendly to the riding students and the associated audience - but without neglecting her guardian duties.