Let's talk Japanese Spitz Dogs

The Japanese Spitz is small in stature but mighty when it comes to protecting their humans. A keen expression denotes their smart nature and alertness, all wrapped up in that fluffy white coat! The compact size of a Japanese Spitz means they’re suited to apartments and non-threatening to small children, but training is a must to maintain the peace. That double coat is actually low-maintenance, so don’t be put off by it. If you want a small dog with buckets of personality, the Japanese Spitz may well be the breed for you.

Official name: Japanese Spitz

Other names: 日本スピッツ Nihon Supittsu

Origins: Japan

Black and white portrait of a Japanese Spitz
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living? 
 Physical activity needs Low Kid friendly?
Medium
 Compatibility with other pets Medium
Can stay alone?

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

 
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Illustration of a Japanese Spitz
Male
30 - 38 cm Height
4.5 - 11 kg Weight
Female
30 - 38 cm Height
4.5 - 11 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2-10 months
 Adult age  10 months - 8 years
 Mature age  8-12 years
 Senior age  from 12 years

Japanese Spitz sat on a hill, eyes squinted

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Get to know the Japanese Spitz

All you need to know about the breed

With a permanent canine-smiley expression, the Japanese Spitz is here to make your life more fun. Their comedic temperament is coupled with an elegant appearance that often makes them the centre of attention - and the Japanese Spitz is a-ok with that.

Originally bred to be an adorable companion, the Japanese Spitz has evolved to be smart, speedy and brave, while remaining an all-round great family dog. They make wonderful playmates for young children, once the training is out of the way, but may find older kids a little too boisterous for their compact frame. Speaking of size, the Japanese Spitz adapts well to apartment life but they will be just as content in the countryside - this canine aims to please his humans above all else and shows unwavering loyalty to them.

A day in the life of a modern-day Japanese Spitz involves a walk or run with their family, followed by play time and cuddles. Easy to train and groom, the Japanese Spitz would make a great companion for first time pet owners, people living alone, and families with children. If you can handle a big canine temperament in a diminutive frame, you’ll gain a charming companion with a Japanese Spitz.

Japanese Spitz stood alert on grass

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2 facts about Japanese Spitz dogs

1. Bark worse than their...

The Japanese Spitz was bred to be an affable but smart canine companion. It also turns out that they’re courageous, making them talented watch dogs. Look out for the Japanese Spitz’s bark, which is louder than one would expect from such a small-sized dog.

2. Low-maintenance fluff

The breed has a beautiful white coat that is dense but short and oh-so-soft, which requires less grooming than one would expect. Their fur does not hold onto debris and dirt from time spent outdoors, so one weekly grooming session at home will keep the Japanese Spitz’s fur looking beautifully glossy.

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History of the breed

The Japanese Spitz made its first ever appearance at a dog show in Tokyo, Japan in 1921. Experts are certain that the first dogs were bred from white German Spitz dogs that had been brought over to Japan from China. These dogs were then bred with several other white Spitz breeds from around the world, in order to achieve desirable traits such as intelligence, agility and an amiable temperament.

With many official records destroyed during World War II, the breed wasn’t formally recognised by the Japan Kennel Club until 1948. Following this, Japanese Spitz dogs were exported to Sweden, then England, in order to gain a more international presence. Today, many national kennel clubs recognise the Japanese Spitz as a stand-alone breed, with the exception of the American Kennel Club. Their reason being that the Japanese Spitz too closely resembles the American Eskimo Dog.

Their adorable nature and appearance means that the Japanese Spitz is a popular dog both in their native Japan and abroad.

Black and white portrait of a Japanese Spitz

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Japanese Spitz dogs

1. Coat

Wavy, speckled coat in a wide variety of colours.

2. Head

Well-defined head held high; upright, elegant bearing.

3. Legs

Lean build with strong, muscular legs.

4. Ears

Alert expression and large silky ears.

5. Tail

Graceful curved tail with feathered fur.

Japanese Spitz running down a gravel path, mouth open

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Japanese Spitz
Japanese Spitz stood alert on gravel

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Caring for your Japanese Spitz

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Japanese Spitz has a thick double coat, which they shed twice a year. During this time, you will need to brush them daily, to prevent living in a palace of fur. But for the rest of the year, the Japanese Spitz requires one weekly brush to keep their coat looking sleek. Nothing sticks to their fur, so mud and dirt from outside can be removed with brushing once it has dried out. Like all breeds, the teeth should be brushed daily and nails trimmed regularly. The Japanese Spitz is moderately active so will benefit from a daily run or walk of 30-45 minutes with human company, in order to stay trim and maintain their agility. Training a Japanese Spitz should be, well, a walk in the park as they’re intelligent and eager to please. Positive reinforcement will work wonders. The best thing you can offer a Japanese Spitz is your company, so engaging them in interactive games and exercises will keep them content.

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All about Japanese Spitz dogs

Yes – they get on great with children once trained, although like any other breed they should not be left alone with them. Japanese Spitz dogs are loyal to their humans and enjoy spending as much time as possible together. Always game for an athletic adventure, their comedic turns will also keep you entertained no end.

The Japanese Spitz does not shed as much as their generous double coat would have you believe. They ‘blow’ their coat twice per year, for between two and three weeks each time, which requires daily brushing and some extra fluff around the house. For the majority of the year however, the Japanese Spitz sheds very little and requires just one weekly brush.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/