The Pomeranian is the 22nd most popular dog breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Considering that there are over 180 breeds recognized by the AKC, this means that Pomeranians are tremendously popular and winning more admirers every day.

One of the most adorable dogs on the Internet is a Pomeranian named Boo with a very strange haircut.

However, Pomeranians are far more than a cute face and a clever cut. They are large dogs in small packages. Despite their fluffy coat and small size, they make fabulous watch dogs. Their intelligence makes them top competitors in dog sports like agility and obedience. Here is what any future Pomeranian owner needs to know.

Basic Information About Pomeranian Dogs

Pomeranians are often called "Poms" or "Pom Poms" by those who love them. They are descendants of Spitz-type sled dogs from Northeast Germany and Poland called (surprise, surprise) Pomerania. With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, people moved to the cities. They needed smaller dogs to live in smaller housing. England's Queen Victoria made the breed popular but also championed making it smaller. Whatever Queen Victoria liked was soon copied.

The modern Pomeranian came about during the Victorian Age. It shrunk from a dog weighing 20 to 30 pounds to a dog that now weighs an average of 5 to 10 pounds. They often grow to only a foot high at the shoulder. The pointed ears and nose make the Pom look like a miniature fox. Coats are always fluffy. Poms come in a variety of colors, but the most popular solid colors are orange, white, black and cream. They also come in mixed colors. Buyer beware -- Pom puppies often change color when they become adults.

Specific Care for a Pomeranian

Poms come with many health challenges. Small dogs are often prone to bad teeth. Poms need their teeth cleaned daily. Pom bodies are far more delicate than many other breeds. Although Poms may want to play with bigger, stronger dogs, do not let them. Other dogs can easily hurt them. They cannot take care of their fluffy coats by themselves. Ideally, they need to be thoroughly brushed every day. Poms can get their coats clipped, but not if they are being chosen for show dogs.

Small dogs have an unfair reputation for biting and for being hard to housetrain. Small dogs often can get away with bad behavior because they are small. Poms need to be trained just like any other dog. Never hit or kick a Pom. This can easily hurt them and will make them afraid of you. This makes them more prone to biting and to urinating out of fear. All small puppies urinate a few drops when meeting a new dog or person. They grow out this behavior.

Buying and Adopting a Pomeranian Puppy

Being a member of a popular and extremely cute dog breed can be a dog's worst curse. Because of the demand, there are many unscrupulous breeders. They bank on the knowledge that all Pom puppies are so cute that owners will fall in love and not try to return a puppy after health problems pop up. Do careful research into any Pom breeder before falling in love with a particular pup.

Older puppies and adult Poms are, sadly, often surrendered to animal shelters. Many states have dog rescues specifically for Poms. There are also dog rescues devoted to small dogs. Since Poms are one of the smallest, these organizations usually have numerous Poms for adoption. Adoption fees can range from one hundred to about  two hundred dollars. This is cheap in comparison to the vet bills of a Pomeranian with health issues due to poor breeding practices.

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