What Were Pomeranians Bred For? The Evolution in the Breed

Big Personality Bred in a Little Body

A full-grown Pomeranian is lighter than most newborn babies. It’s a tiny dog that packs a big punch. Any Pom owner will tell you that their personalities are delightful and like no other dogs’. They are one of the most popular breeds of dogs. Year after year, they are one of the 15 most registered dog breeds as per the AKC. Maybe you are a proud Pomeranian owner. Perhaps you have only seen one of these small fur puffs walking around. Either way, the question, “What were Pomeranians bred for besides being fluffy lap decor,” might have crossed your mind. The answer is quite a lot, actually. Read on to find out more about this breed’s interesting history.



Pomeranians descended from the German Spitz. The word spitz comes from the German word, spitzen, or pointed. Spitz breeds share genetics with wolves. They have thick fur to protect them from harsh winter weather. They have pointed ears and snouts, and they have curled tails as well. Although Pommies descended from the German spitz, this specific breed developed in Pomerania. Pomerania is in northern Poland and Germany by the Baltic Sea.

Working Dogs- Pomeranians Bred For Labor

The dogs averaged about 30lbs, although there are reports of them reaching 50lbs. Pomeranians were bred to guarding homes and herding animals on farms. Like other spitz breeds, Pomeranians were also bred for pulling sleds through rough, wintry terrain.

What’s In a Name?

The original Pomeranian dogs became known by other names throughout Europe. For example, in France, a dog with Pomeranian characteristics was called Lulu, Chien de Pomerania (or the Lulu). In Italy, it had many names, including Italian Spitz and Lupino. Queen Charlotte was originally from the German territory called Duchy of Mecklenburg. When she married in the mid-late 18th century and moved to England, she brought some of her Poms with her. She then imported more from Pomerania and called the dogs Pomeranians. From that point on, they became universally known by that name.

What Were Pomeranians Bred For?

Pomeranians Career Change- No Longer Bred For Labor

It is unknown if Western Europeans were aware of what purposes Pomeranians were bred for. When the dogs came to Western Europe, they were no longer bred as working dogs. Instead, they existed for companionship. There are several portraits of British royals and their Pomeranian pets on record. The dogs in the portraits are bigger than the current breed. They do, however, have similar characteristics such as the ears, snout, tail, and thick neck fur.

Pomeranians were Bred in England

Queen Victoria, Queen Charlotte’s granddaughter, ran Pomeranian breeding programs. She imported Pomeranians from multiple countries. This allowed a variety of fur colors into the breed.

Many websites state that the queen bred Pomeranians down to their current size. During her reign, the dogs’ size decreased by about 50%. This observation isn’t exactly correct because the “toy” Pomeranian already existed. Queen Victoria did have a fondness for smaller Pomeranians. The decrease in breed size is likely the result of people’s interest in the queen’s small Poms. The general public enjoyed reading about Queen Victoria’s dogs. There is a considerable amount of documentation about her Pomeranians from newspapers. This reporting further increased its popularity.

Her most famous Pomeranian was Marco, who was 12 lbs. She also had others that were smaller than him. Three years after she purchased Marco and her other Poms, she created a Pomeranian breed club. When the club was first started, the size of the breed averaged “under or over 10lbs.” Over time, breeders only bred small Pomeranians because that is what was in demand. As the breed’s size decreased, the official size changed to “under or over 7lbs.” At first, small Pomeranians were specified as “toy Pomeranians.” With the change in breed size standards, the word “toy” was dropped. This is how they became known simply as Pomeranians.

What Were Pomeranians Bred For?

Strong Genes

Modern Pomeranians are small dogs with personalities as big as their ancestors’. Pomeranians don’t know how small they actually are. They carry themselves with a self-assured attitude most of us would envy. When you get to know the Pom breed, it’s not hard to see that they are big dogs in small bodies:

  • Activity Level– Pomeranians are high energy dogs. They need frequent exercise, and they enjoy running, which harkens back to their herding and sled-pulling genes. Owners should be aware that this genetic desire to run makes it common for Poms to try to run away. It is best to keep them supervised when outside.
  • Little Guard Dogs– Pomeranians are possessive of their belongings. They are wary of strangers and are infamous for barking. Additionally, Poms are highly attuned to differences in their environment. Since they used to guard homes and herd animals, it’s no wonder these traits are present. Pomeranians’ confidence and attentiveness make them good guard dogs despite their size.
  • Poms and other animals– If Pomeranians are well socialized, it will get along with other dogs. They are generally amicable with dogs and cats within their households. They may chase smaller pets like rabbits or chickens. Be mindful if you have the animals running free in an area together. Remember, Pomeranians were herding dogs, and they are oblivious to their size. A cow doesn’t intimidate them. As I said above, Pommies are not aware of their small stature. They can be aggressive towards other dogs or strangers to prove their dominance. This is why it is important to have a good trainer and begin socializing them immediately.


Learning about what Pomeranians were bred forgives the Pom personality more context. People might develop a greater appreciation of the beauty and complexity of the breed. Understanding the Pom’s genetic instincts might also help you find new activities to introduce to your dog. For example, give a herding ball a try. You can even train your pup to herd the ball into a goal to stimulate both its mental and physical needs.

Looking for Pomeranian puppies for sale? View the best Pomeranian Breeders here.

Since you now know the origins of Pomeranians, I hope we will be seeing more pictures of Pommies pulling mini sleighs this winter. One can only hope.

What Were Pomeranians Bred For? The Evolution in the Breed

Amber Drake (23)

Amber L. Drake is a world-renowned Canine Behaviorist and Professor of Canine Ethology and Cancer, as well as the Author of numerous publications (books, columns, news, etc.) about dog behavior, safety, and training.