This section is from the book "British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation", by W. D. Drury. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs: Their Points, Selection And Show Preparation.
There is little doubt that this variety originated in Northern Europe, and, if it did not actually come from the district associated with the late Prince Bismarck, and known as Pomerania, that part of the world has produced several varieties of the canine race with many of the characteristics of those we know under the above name.
Although some persons hold the idea that the dogs which have long been kept in Germany, and there called by the generic term of Spitz, are distinct from what in this country we know as Pomeranians, this is not the writer's opinion, which is strengthened by the fact of his having had before him on many occasions specimens imported from Germany - in fact, in the early days of shows most of the best animals of this variety were imported.
It is more than likely that these dogs were not originally kept as pets, but as utility dogs, either as guards or possibly to assist in the care of sheep and cattle. Probably, too, they were not of diminutive size. Selection and interbreeding have doubtless produced the present race of Toys in response to the demand for such. The dogs the writer remembers seeing in different parts of Germany many years ago were larger than even the largest of any seen in this country for a considerable time, although they possessed all the characteristics of the variety to a marked extent. In fact, for true type and character the writer has seen more first-class specimens over 151b. in weight than he has in any of those strictly classed as Toys, and nearly all the best-known specimens have passed through his hands during the last twenty years.
Some old illustrations of what were then called Greenland Dogs, and that were used in pursuit of the polar bears, the writer has seen in books upon dogs published more than fifty years ago. They represented animals of much the same character as Pomeranians, but they were of the size of small Collies. In all instances the colour seemed to be pure white, as it was in other books of the same period in which were shown dogs very similar in appearance but called Iceland Dogs. All this goes to show that the variety originally came from the extreme North, and that the present variations have been produced by mating and selection from imported specimens.
Although many and great changes have taken place in nearly every variety of dog since "British Dogs" first appeared in 1880, there is no variety in which the changes have been so great as in the Pomeranian, or Spitz Dog. On many occasions, in the seventies and early eighties, the writer can remember them represented at some of our largest shows by one or two specimens, often by only one, and the first time that he judged this variety, for the Kennel Club at one of their early shows, the entries did not exceed six, whereas on the last occasion that he officiated for the same club, at the Crystal Palace, there were something like two hundred entries. This shows what can be done with one variety in less than twenty-five years. The value, too, of really good specimens has increased in even greater proportion. When the First Edition of " British Dogs " was published, ten pounds would have been thought a very big price to pay for a Pomeranian of even the highest quality. At the present time more than a dozen specimens could be named for which one hundred pounds would be refused by their owners. Even larger sums have been readily paid for high-class specimens within the last few years. There are probably fifty owners of Pomeranians now for every one that existed twenty years ago.
The greatest changes that have taken place in the breed have been in their size and colour; for whereas they were formerly produced in weight ranging from about 151b. to 251b. and more, and all sizes shown together, seldom even divided by sex, now they have classes for weight, colour, sex, etc., with endless subdivisions, into winners, open, limit, novice, maiden, and puppies, of each sex. And whereas at first the prevailing colour was white, with a few blacks occasionally seen; now there are black, brown, fawn, blue, sable, red, orange, and parti-coloured specimens to be found at most of the shows, and of almost every size, down to 31b. in weight. Toys of the variety, if of high quality, seem to be in constantly increasing demand, and are readily sold at high figures, so that for some time past they must have been very remunerative to breeders. In yet another direction is there a noticeable improvement - namely, in temperament. The old-time Pomeranian had a rather bad character and was undoubtedly snappish: shows and a closer association with man have not been without their good effect upon the Pomeranian in this respect.
Her late Majesty Queen Victoria was a warm supporter of Pomeranians, and kept a large number of them, as the writer has reason to know, having had the honour of a special invitation to visit the Royal kennels at Windsor Castle, and being one of the few persons before whom any of Her Majesty's dogs came to be judged on the occasions when they were exhibited at some of the London shows. Her Majesty did not go in for the largest sizes, nor for the very small ones. Those in the Royal kennels were mostly what would be called small medium in size, and of all sorts of colours, many of them white with markings; very few were whole- or self-coloured. One of the few exceptions to this rule was Marco, Her Majesty's special favourite and companion: he was red, somewhat of the shade usually associated with Chows.
At the present time Pomeranians are about the most popular variety coming strictly under the designation of Pet, or Toy, breeds; command the largest entries at all the principal shows in the kingdom, and not undeservedly, for they are very handsome, showy animals, with much vivacity and intelligence, greatly attached to their owners, and they make agreeable companions, house dogs, and pets. It is not advisable to use collars or chains for them, except for exhibition purposes, as they are likely to wear away the hair of the mane and frill, which form very ornamental features of this variety.