With their pointy ears and wolf-like behavior, Spitz breeds have been favored hunters, guardians, and working dogs for centuries.
Spitz dogs aren’t a specific, individual breed, but rather, the name encompasses a wide range of different breeds with similar looks and personality traits. But there can be big spitz breeds, little spitz breeds, and everything in between.
From the fluffy German Spitz to the powerful Siberian Husky, here are the best Spitz breeds!
What is a ‘Spitz Dog’?
The name can be applied to at least 70 distinct types of dog breed from around the world. The term is used to group these dogs together, given that they all share unique characteristics. In general, it’s considered to be pointy-eared, with a wolf-like face and thick fur coat.
Spitz dog breeds include the following types:
- Chow Chow
- Finnish Spitz
- German Spitz
- Indian Spitz
- Japanese Spitz
- Shiba Inu
- Siberian Huskies
Spitz breeds are thought to be descended from Arctic dog breeds (like the Siberian Husky), and they are particularly popular in the Nordic nations and Germany - although there are also breeds of Spitz that originate in Korea and Japan, too. They can be bred for work, or they can be bred as companion dogs.
Considering that the Siberian Husky, the German Spitz, and the Pomeranian are all classed as Spitz dogs, however, it can sometimes be difficult seeing where those similarities are found, so let’s take a look at their unique features in a little more detail:
- Short, pointy ears
- Bushy tails
- Thick fur coats (often a double coat)
- Wolf-like features
- Aggressive when not trained
They’re built to survive in extremely cold temperatures, which is why they have such fluffy fur coats. With this in mind, they aren’t well-suited to hot climates.
They are not always the best dogs for first time owners, either. As well as retaining their wolf-like facial features, Spitz dogs retain many of the characteristics of a wild wolf too. They are very independent, intelligent, and at times, fierce. They make for excellent guard dogs and will protect you for life, but they need expert training and handling, too.
Spitz breeds really are numerous and varied, however, so remember that these are generalized character traits. While some breeds are aggressive, others were also specifically bred down from their wild cousins to be companion dogs, often for life in a royal court. These breeds are much easier to look after, and they’ll happily jump up a bed ramp for dogs and spend the evening cuddled up on the couch.
Top spitz breeds
Regardless of their size or how fluffy they are, Spitz dogs are always prized for their proud temperaments, independence, and loyalty.
This makes them well-suited for a wide range of roles, from pulling sleds to watching over your family at night.
Akitas are renowned for their never-ending loyalty. Akitas were originally bred to be guard dogs, and they were tasked to guard royalty during Japan’s bloody, medieval-era.
They are powerful animals, with an almost bear-like presence, but they are fanatically obedient when trained well and looked after. One of the most famously loyal dogs of all time was Hachiko, an Akita that waited nine years at the train station for their owner to return (spoiler: their owner never returned).
Hachiko’s story has been turned into a feature film, a great watch if you’re looking to learn more about this intriguing dog.
Average height: 25 inches
Average weight: 100 pounds
Physical characteristics: Large, heavy dogs with fluffy tails and a gruff, almost bear-like face. Often white in color, with black ears and tail.
#2 Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and was originally bred to survive the cold winters of Northern China and Mongolia. Chow Chows are ancient, and there are references in history that date them back to at least 2000 BC. They were prized as war dogs, working dogs, and ferocious ‘lion’ dogs.
The Chow Chow has a unique blue-black tongue, which few other breeds can boast, and while their thick furry faces give them an adorable outward expression, the reality is that these are tough, fierce, yet loyal dogs.
Average height: 18 inches
Average weight: 50 pounds
Physical characteristics: Squat, yet large dog with a powerful frame. Famously fluffy face, unique blue-black tongue, and thick red or light brown fur.
#3 Finnish Spitz
The Finnish Spitz is a breed that’s well-suited to the cold climes of the Arctic. The Finland Spitz dog was bred to be a hunter, and they are so good at their job that they’ve become specialized in hunting birds.
The Finnish Spitz is favored for its fox-like appearance, as well as its hunting abilities. They are usually red-brown in color, with a thick coat that keeps out the cold. Famously, they have what the Finns would call a ‘yodel’, rather than a dog-like bark.
Average height: 18 inches
Average weight: 25 pounds
Physical characteristics: Fox-like features, including a bushy tail, pointy ears, and a thick, often red-brown fur coating.
#4 German Spitz
The German Spitz is a classic Spitz breed, and it’s well known for its incredibly bushy tail and fur coat. The German Spitz is descended from larger working dogs, because the German Spitz was deliberately intended to be a small, compact dog that would be suited to the royal courts.
Be warned, though, while the German Spitz might be small, they have kept the fierce characteristics of their larger cousins. This often brown, red, or black Spitz dog has a fiery temperament because the German Spitz loves independence!
Average height: 13 inches
Average weight: 25 pounds
Physical characteristics: Small dogs with distinctive ruff necks and a super bushy tail. Thick fur coats can be a range of colors, from light brown to black.
#5 Japanese Spitz
The Japanese Spitz is a small to mid-sized Spitz breed that’s revered for its impressively white fur coat. This is a wonderfully fluffy dog that has all the attributes of a classic Spitz yet remains compact in size.
The Japanese Spitz is lively and fun to be around, and they are small enough to cuddle up with on the couch while you watch your favorite tv shows. They need lots of exercise, but they are well suited to living life in an apartment or small home.
Average height: 20 inches
Average weight: 20 pounds
Physical characteristics: Pure white coat, dark black facial features. Short, yet compact in size, and incredibly fluffy!
The Pomeranian is a wolf in miniature, and these tiny toy dogs stand no more than 7 inches tall. The Pomeranian is a famous companion dog, and like the German Spitz, they were originally bred down from larger dogs to live a life of luxury in the royal courts.
Like all types of Spitz, though, they are still incredibly independent, fierce, and loyal. They are perfect for small homes or apartments, and their thick fur coats are just begging to be groomed and styled.
Average height: 7 inches
Average weight: 7 pounds
Physical characteristics: Tiny, toy dog that’s a Spitz in miniature form. Tiny yet pointy ears and lovely, thick coats.
#7 Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are one of the most well-known breeds of Spitz on our list. These working dogs are prized for their wolf-like appearance and super soft fur coats.
Bred for Arctic conditions, the Siberian Husky is first and foremost a working dog; they can pull sleds or hunt down rabbits in the frozen tundra. But they are increasingly popular as family dogs too. They are independent but intelligent, and they are ferocious guard dogs when called upon to protect the family!
Average height: 22 inches
Average weight: 50 pounds
Physical characteristics: White coats with darker shades of grey, brown, or black. Fierce blue eyes and a strong, athletic build.
The last word
With so many different breeds of spitz to be found all over the world, there’s definitely going to be one that’s well suited to you and your lifestyle.
If it’s loyalty you’re looking for, then an Akita cannot be matched, while if you’re after a fluffy companion dog, then the German Spitz is a classic.
If you’re searching for your next four-legged friend, then why not bookmark this guide?