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Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz
Japanese Spitz
Puppy

The Japanese Spitz is a small dog with a square body, deep chest, short legs, and a distinctive white fluffy coat. Created in 1930 by breeders who crossbred different types of Spitz dogs, the Japanese Spitz is a loyal and friendly companion dog. Despite its small size, the Japanese Spitz is known for its courage and bravery, making them an excellent watchdog for people living in flats or smaller houses. The Japanese Spitz is a  very social dog with a genuine fondness for children of all ages.

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Key facts about the Japanese Spitz

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful
  • Size : Small
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £645 and £770

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types

Section

Section 5 : Asian Spitz and related breeds

Physical characteristics of the Japanese Spitz

Adult size

Female dog Between 11 and 14 in
Male dog Between 12 and 15 in

Weight

Female dog Between 13 and 22 lb
Male dog Between 13 and 22 lb

Coat colour

A Japanese Spitz will always have a brilliant white coat.

Type of coat

These dogs have long outer coats and a thick, insulating undercoat.

Long and double-layered.

Eye colour

Black/dark brown.

Description

The Japanese Spitz is a small, sturdy dog with a unique white coat that requires lots of grooming. They have short, pointed muzzles and triangle-shaped ears that point upwards. They also have long tails that tend to curl back on themselves, an unusual trait in Spitz breed. They have dark eyes and small, black noses.

Temperament

Affectionate

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Bred as a companion dog, the Japanese Spitz is well-known for its loving and affectionate nature. These highly social dogs require lots of human company and attention and will happily spend hours curled up on your lap.

Playful

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They might be small in stature, but the Japanese Spitz is full of energy and loves to play. But be warned, their playful natures can soon tip over into mischievous if you let them get away with too much.

Calm

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The Japanese Spitz is a high-energy dog, but they still know how to relax. A Japanese spitz will keep you entertained without wearing you out or testing your patience. However, they tend to get over excited by “unexpected” visitors and can sometimes become confrontational when ”strangers” knock on the door.

Intelligent

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The Japanese Spitz was developed by crossbreeding different Spitz breeds, which were bred from highly intelligent working dogs like the Akita and the Husky. Unsurprisingly, the Japanese Spitz also has a high level of intelligence. This makes them interesting companions that respond really well to training. Although, like many "smart" dogs, they can display a strong, independent streak.

Hunter

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They may have inherited many qualities from their larger, more powerful relatives, but hunting ability was not one of them. In fact, the Japanese Spitz is more likely to see smaller animals as potential playmates rather than prey.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Very suspicious of foreigners, he does not trust easily. A good socialisation is necessary to prevent it from becoming fearful.

Independent

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Like many other intelligent breeds, the Spitz can display some independent behaviour which can soon turn into stubbornness. Such characteristics are part of the Spitzs unique personality, but they must be managed with the right training methods and early socialisation.

Behaviour of the Japanese Spitz

Tolerates solitude

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No dog should be left alone for long periods of time, but the Japanese Spitz does have a high-tolerance for solitude. This makes them a good choice for those with busy lifestyles and hectic work schedules.

Easy to train / obedience

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As long as you use the right techniques, most Japanese Spitzs will be very easy to train. But keep the training sessions short and fun. Otherwise, you’ll have a difficult time keeping the dog focused on the task at hand. 10-15 minutes a day is enough to start with. And make sure you give them lots of praise.

Barking

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This vocal little breed really enjoys the sound of its own voice. As a natural watchdog with an alert nature, they'll never shy away from warning you about potential invaders and will often express their "views" on the arrival of unexpected guests. They also tend to get quite yappy during playtime.

Tendency to run away

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Japanese Spitzs have neither the physicality or the curious natures that can make other breeds much more likely to run away. That being said, it's always a good idea to keep them on a lead in unfamiliar places. Outside home-spaces, like your garden, should always be properly fenced off.

Destructive

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The Spitz is not a naturally destructive breed. However, like any dog, they will start displaying bad behaviour if their needs are not being met. So make sure you give them enough exercise, mental stimulation, affection, and company.

Greedy / Gluttony

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Given their small size, Japanese Spitzs have modest dietary requirements and are not known for greedy or gluttonous.

Guard dog

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These alert, loyal, and brave little dogs make excellent watchdogs. They might not be big enough to scare away intruders, but they will still make a big noise, which is usually enough to deter any “bad guys.”

First dog

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The Japanese Spitz is an excellent choice for a first-time dog owner. They're intelligent without being overly willful, and playful without being hyperactive. They also have modest exercise requirements and no specific nutritional issues. But these dogs are quite high maintenance when it comes to grooming, so any potential owner must be aware of the cost and time involved.

Lifestyle

Japanese Spitz in a flat

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These small dogs can live very comfortably in a flat. They don’t need too much space and will happily spend a lot of their time snuggling up to their beloved owners.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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A spitz is a lively little dog that requires around 20-30 minutes of exercise per day. Ideally, they do need a bit of time off the leash, but always under control when walking through busy urban environments. They’re likely to be quite playful during the day, but once tired out, these little guys love to relax.

Travelling / easy to transport

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Small Spitz breeds are easy enough to transport from place to place, although they may get restless on long car journeys or long haul flights. Before making any big trips, it's always worth preparing your dog in advance. Crate training, herbal supplements, and even medication can help settle their nerves.

Compatibility

Japanese Spitz and cats

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If socialised from an early age, Japanese Spitzs tend to get on very well with family cats and other pets. However, due to their territorial nature, they might not be so welcoming to other cats that stay onto their turf.

Japanese Spitz and dogs

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Again, early socialisation is really important. Without it, any breed will start displaying aggressive behaviour towards other dogs. But, generally speaking, the Japanese Spitz is a social breed that enjoys the company of other well-trained dogs.

Japanese Spitz and children

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These dogs have a real affinity and fondness for children. Their small size makes them a suitable and safe companion for younger children and toddlers , although playtime should always be supervised by a responsible adult.

Japanese Spitz and the elderly

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The Japanese Spitz is an active, high energy breed that might not be suitable for people looking for a quieter, calmer life. That being said, these dogs are also partial to plenty of down-time, but only after they've been properly exercised.

Price

The average cost of a purebred Japanese Spitz is somewhere between  £645-£770.

These small dogs don't need massive amounts of food, but you’ll need to budget around £30-40 a month for feeding cost. Yearly health checks, vaccinations, insurance, and other costs will add to an annual expense of around £700 per year.

Grooming

A Japanese Spitz has a long, thick coat that needs brushing at least once a week. Some will even require daily attention! They will also need to visit a professional groomer a few times each year. Otherwise, you'll need to learn some dog grooming skills. If left untreated, their thick dense coats will become mated, dirty, and very unhygienic.

Hair loss

This breed is not prone to air loss, although they will shed a lot of hair during the summer months.

Nutrition of the Japanese Spitz

An averaged sized Japanese Spitz requires 90g to 99g grammes of high-quality dog food per day. This can be served as one portion or spread out in smaller meals throughout the day. They will also need access to fresh clean drinking water.

Health of the Japanese Spitz

Life expectancy

The average lifespan for a Japanese Spitz is between 10-14 years.

Strong / robust

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These dogs might be small, but they're still pretty tough. They have well-balanced and well-proportioned frames, with small but sturdy legs. These little guys are much more resilient than they look.

Withstand heat

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The Japanese Spitz was not designed for warmer climates, and they're at risk of overheating during hot periods of weather. In the case of a long, hot summer, it's worth keeping their coats short and try to avoid intense walkies during the hottest parts of the day.

Withstand cold

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The Japanese Spitz has no problem dealing with the average British winter. They’re relatives of the Husky and the Akita and have inherited the same kind of insulating coat that protects their distant cousins from some of the coldest temperatures on earth.

Tendency to put on weight

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Their active natures and relatively small appetites mean they fairly resistant to gaining unwanted weight.

Common illnesses

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Eye infections
  • Allergies

Good to know

Japanese Spitzs are generally very obedient, although they can have their stubborn or moody periods. 

They will require a lot more grooming than most other dogs, which can be expensive and time-consuming. 

They also have one of the longest lifespans of any breed, with many living up to 16 years old. This is a serious commitment by anyone's standards.

Origins and history

The Japanese spitz was breed from the much larger white German Spitz breeds and was first exhibited at a Japanese dog show in 1921. The final standard breed was accepted by kennel clubs in the 1950s, and it wasn't long before the Japanese Spitz became a popular companion dog for animals lovers in many parts of the world.  As of today, the Japanese Spitz is not the most popular choice for UK dogs owners, but their numbers are gradually increasing as the British public become more aware of this playful breed with a big personality.

Names

Good names for a Japanese Spitz dog: Buster, Jackson, Molly, Shinju

Find out more dog name ideas here