Age: 12 years
Breed: German Spitz (Kleinspitz)
We bought Tazzi as a puppy from a home breeder who advertised him as a Pomeranian. As a pup he was a roly-poly little thing with a black stripe down his back and a rubbery pink belly. He was friendly, easy-going, and best of all, got along with our other dog Tangles the maltese x poodle. Soon enough he grew up into…. what looked like a very big Pomeranian! After years of thinking that perhaps he wasn’t as pure as the breeders said, or that perhaps there was a different kind of Pomeranian that is naturally bigger (not far from the truth!) I discovered the German Spitz. In the same family as Pomeranians, as well as other Spitz dogs (such as the Japanese Spitz and Samoyed).
The first thing you notice about Tazzi is that he is very friendly, and wants nothing more than to hold your attention and have endless cuddles. As a younger dog he was quite pushy, and tended to jump up a bit (often when I was walking he would jump a surprising distance and lick my elbow). However, he is also quite independent; he will tend to look around to make sure the rest of the “pack” is doing alright, but he’s more than happy doing his own thing. When it comes to strangers he is wary and shy, tending to keep his distance and keep up a steady series of “alert” barks that will nonetheless give way if his need for love and attention looks like being met by the stranger. He is incredibly loyal, and a bit of a one-owner dog, much to the dismay of my poor husband, who has tried to forge a bond with him with little success!
The Spitz Klein has triangular ears and a small, foxy face that is less fluffy than the rest of the body, although the fur is still very thick. The fur around the neck is even thicker, giving the dog a lion-like appearance. The body has a fuzzy, woolly base underneath the straight, smooth upper coat, although it has a tendency to become crimped when wet. The tail will usually curl up over the back and sit flat. The dogs can be a wide variety of colours, including wolf sable, blue, cream, brown, orange, black, white, and a mixture of black/brown and white, and black and tan: gold and black dogs tend to predominate. The Spitz Klein ranges in height from 9 inches (23 cm) to 11 inches (28 cm), and in weight from 11 pounds (5.0 kg) to 40 pounds (18 kg).
Tazzi weighs in at about 7.5 kg. His coat is predominantly orange-brown, with a golden front, and black hairs that grow out from the rest of his coat and add even more texture and colour. He grows a fine feathering kind of hair around his feet and the bottom part of his legs, particularly in the colder months – originally Spitz dogs came from snowy regions of Northern Asia and the arctic, so they are designed to withstand extreme cold. How does this fare in warmer regions, you ask? Surprisingly well! In summer he will shed his woolly undercoat, and keeps himself cool by digging a shallow hole in the dirt and lying there in the shade. He actually seems to cope better than my Moodle, who has only a single coat. Although he does tend to shed a bit of hair, it is quite different to short-haired breeds such as the Jack Russel or Labrador. The hair collects in clumps on the ground – it does not tend to fly up and stick to every fabric item it can find. It is very easy to clean up, simply by vacuuming or sweeping, and clothes will come good in the wash.