This section is from the book "British Dogs: Their Varieties, History, Characteristics, Breeding, Management, And Exhibition", by Hugh Dalziel. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs.
This variety of the dog is now an established favourite in this country, although it has never attained the great popularity of some other breeds of house and companion dogs. He has been written of as the wolf dog, the fox dog, the spitz, the loup loup, etc.
There is a pretty large tribe of dogs peculiar to northern latitudes, varying in minor points from each other, but agreeing in general form and outline, that are often roughly called wolf dogs from an approach to the wolf form of body and head, and I have little doubt to one or other, or a commixture of several of these, the Pomeranian of to-day owes his origin. My reasons for thinking so are that in big and coarse specimens of what we now call well-bred Pomeranians there is a decided approach to the lank gaunt form seen in all the varieties of northern dogs shown as Esquimaux, Greenland, Siberian - sleigh dogs, etc, and there is in all much correspondence in shape of head, with the invariable prick ears and pointed muzzle, dense furry under coat, and short curled tail. In their native home Pomeranians are said to be used as sheep dogs, but such specimens as are seen in this country are quite unfitted physically for shepherding on our hills, even if they possessed the requisite patience and intelligence, which I am not disposed to grant them as a class.
The Pomeranian is a bright, active dog, indeed, almost too active, and many specimens would be better described as restless and fidgety; they are also apt to be too noisy, and their yelping becomes annoying; that, however, is a fault good training can cure or modify. These traits in his character enhance his value as a house watch, for, ever on the alert, he is quick to give tongue, and wise enough in his own interest to keep a safe distance from the intruder whilst he gives the alarm.
Although not ill-tempered dogs, they are rather impatient and not very tractable, yet I have known several that were very tricky. They are capital jumpers, and are easily taught steeplechasing, jumping through hoops, etc, and the handsomest black specimen I ever saw was also the cleverest performer, walking and dancing on his hind legs, feigning death, and other clever tricks at the word of command. As ornamental dogs they stand high when kept in good order; the white ones should be occasionally washed, roughly dried only if the weather is fine, and turned into a heap of straw or into a good grass field. The coat should be kept from getting matted by the use of brush and comb, but if the combing is overdone, they are robbed of the under growth, which gives density to the coat, which then assumes a limp and frizzy appearance. They should not be allowed to lie by the fire; they are sufficiently well protected from cold by nature, and indulgence by the fire causes the hair to come off, which is a great nuisance, as well as detracting from their appearance; and although I cannot explain it, I have known several instances where the nose of a Pomeranian, perfectly black, has become brown or flesh coloured from no other apparent cause.
MR. JAMES FAWDRY'S POMERANIAN DOG "CHARLIE" (K.C.S.B. 7744).
Although one of the numerous breeds we have introduced from abroad and naturalised, the Pomeranian has been known here for at least a century, as the following description, I think, clearly proves. He appears, however, to have been rather bigger than we now like him, and the then prevailing colour is now discountenanced, if not altogether lost. A writer in the "Sportsman's Cabinet," 1802, thus describes him: "The dog so called in this country is but little more than 18in. or 20in. in height, and is distinguished by his long, thick, and rather upright coat, forming a most tremendous ruff about the neck, but short and smooth on the head and ears. They are mostly of a pale yellow or cream colour, and lighter on the lower parts. Some are white, some few black, and others, but very rarely, spotted; the head broad towards the neck, and narrowing to the muzzle; ears short, pointed, and erect; nose and eyes mostly black; the tail large and bushy, and invariably curled in a ring upon the back. Instances of smooth or short coated ones are very rarely seen.
In England he is much more familiarly known by the name of fox dog, and this may originally have proceeded from his having much affinity to that animal about the head; but by those who in their writings describe him as a native of Pomerania, he passes under the appellation of the Pomeranian dog."
I cannot refrain from giving the same writer's description of the character of the Pomeranian, although, as applied to those of the present day, it is decidedly too sweeping in its condemnation. He says the Pomeranian is "by nature frivolous, artful, noisy, quarrelsome, cowardly, petulant, deceitful, snappish and dangerous to children, without one predominant property of perfection to recommend him." If he deserved this terribly bad character in the beginning of the century, he must have been a sad dog indeed, and I am glad to be able to say that Master Pomeranian has largely profited by the happy influences of English home life, and is now morally a respectable, as he is physically an ornamental, member of the canine family.
In respect to colour, fashion seems to rule the day, but surely we ought not to let fashion and prejudice injure a breed when all the while dog show promoters and others profess to be doing all in their power to promote canine interests. What could be prettier than a good cream-coloured Pomeranian or a rich reddish fawn ?
Some fifteen or twenty years ago there was a strain of the latter colour in the neighbourhood of Handsworth, Birmingham, perfect models in all points, and two years ago I saw a beauty of the same colour in an open carriage in London, and I do not think it would be very difficult to produce them. There was one, two or three years ago, at a butcher's shop in Clapham, and a fair one is to be seen any day now in Drury-lane.
The white ones that now appear at our shows are for the most part coarse and indifferent specimens, and the black ones a great deal worse. The best black I have ever seen is the property of the proprietor of Dolen's Hotel, Amsterdam.
There are numbers of better Pomeranians in the hands of people who never exhibit than nineteen out of twenty seen on the show bench. I know of no class exhibited where there is more room for improvement.
In judging Pomeranians but few points are considered, and these I would describe and assess as follow:-
General appearance, symmetry, and condition. He presents the appearance of being as square built as a pug, although he is not, his thick outstanding coat causing the deception, aided by the cut-off look behind, owing to his tail lying so tightly on his back; yet that he is active and nimble, his straight forelegs, well bent clean hocks, neat feet, sharp muzzle, and bright little dark eyes assure the judge; out of condition he looks thin, meagre, flat-sided, and ragged.
Size. I think a standard for size should be established. As it is, we have them all sizes, from 101b. to 251b. As they are essentially a lady's dog, I would say the nearest to 161b. for dogs and 141b. bitches the better.
Head. Skull flat, broad at occiput, narrowing to the forehead, which should not be too bold; cheeks wide, muzzle narrowing to a fine point; ears small and quite erect; eyes dark, quite black preferable; nose also black, but a brown nose should not disqualify; the whole head very foxlike; head and face covered with smooth short hair.
Coat. Thick, straight, outstanding, free from curl or frizziness, very abundant all over the body, and superabundant round the neck, forming a thick deep ruff, and long, straight, and flowing on the hams; underneath the longer hair there should be a thick soft underjacket.
Colour. Self colours - white should be a pure flake white throughout, coloured patches, fawn, or other being very objectionable. Other colours I think should be encouraged are black, cream, fawn, red, buff.
Legs and feet. Straight fore legs, feathered behind; hocks well let down, with but scant feathering below the joint; feet small, neat, round, and the toes well sprung.
Tail short, tightly curled on the back, exceedingly well feathered, with the feathering spreading out from each side of it over the hips, fanlike.