Pomeranians are currently amongst the most talked about and debated breeds, and as many of you know we strive to unravel complex debates with the help of breed experts. Not self-proclaimed master dog breeders or the likes, but rather experienced breed judges, dog handlers, show winners, etc.
We asked Gill Taylor to write an article about what is happening to the Pomeranian, as a whole, as a breed. She has been prompt to accept our offer and we want to show her gratitude. Gill has owned Pomeranians for over 30 years and judged them at Challenge Certificate level (referred to as CC level).
In addition, Gill has the judges’ diploma and dog breeders’ diploma as secretary of the South of England Pomeranian Club for 14 years and chairman. She is always happy to try and educate new owners on all aspects of Pomeranians.
Without any further ado, here is Gill Taylor’s first article on the Pomeranian breed, dog breeding and its future.
I have been asked to write a small piece concerning Pomeranians. First I should like to introduce myself. My name is Gill Taylor and I have been associated with Pomeranians for more than 35 years. It is a delightful breed and although small in size they are very large on personality. They are easy to train and can manipulate their owners into spoiling them outrageously.
Pomeranians: Small Dogs, Strong Characters
Once past puppyhood, Poms are a robust breed and many never see a vet, unless for vaccinations and maybe teeth cleaning. They can be noisy and feisty if allowed, this should be stopped in puppyhood as an older Pomeranian with a suspect temperament is no one’s friend.
On the whole the temperaments have improved and we rarely see a vicious Pomeranian today. But it is because they can and will defend themselves that they don’t make suitable pets for young children, they won’t stand for being pulled about and treated like toys.
Thinking of Breeding Pomeranians?
I have always been more interested in showing than breeding. So for the most part, I have brought dogs into show from good kennels who bred the lines that I liked. In doing so, I have had a reasonable amount of successes. However, I have had enough litters of Pomeranians to know the pitfalls and heartbreaks involved. I also believe that the way forward is by educating people.
So if you are thinking you would like to take this breed on, continue reading.
Various Sizes of Pomeranians
If you are going to get involved with the breed, then there are several things to keep in mind when breeding Pomeranians. Until early to mid 1980’s Pomeranians and German Spitz were considered one breed split into three sizes:
- and Pomeranian.
In many countries this is still the case today. We however separated the breed and they are no longer allowed to interbreed. In the same way, long and short-coated Chihuahua should not be mixed.
However, due to this fact we sometimes get throw backs in that some puppies grow a lot bigger than a normal Pomeranian. They are still pedigree dogs and look like Pomeranians, just much larger. These should never be confused with puppies bought from sites like Epups and similar sites often sold cheaply, these look like pomeranian puppies, but are often mixed breed, and don’t look anything like the average Pomeranian in adulthood.
A Pomeranian should be no more than 5lbs in weight. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TEACUP POMERANIAN. Any Pomeranian small enough to fit into any size tea cup should never be bred from.
Bitches should be a little bigger than the dogs. Dogs should be 4 to 4.5lbs in weight, and bitches up to 5lbs. If someone is advertising teacup Pomeranians run a mile in the other direction. These are often weak sickly puppies being sold by people who know less than nothing about the breed.
Unfortunately Pomeranians do not always breed true. That is to say putting a well-bred dog of correct size to a well bred bitch of the correct size, does not automatically give you small puppies and the size of the puppies does not tell you the adult size of the dog. I have had tiny puppies grow on and big puppies stop at 3 months. It takes years of breeding and getting to know your and other people’s bloodlines to be able to tell how a puppy will turn out. As pointed out this is due to the fact that they were once interbred with the German Spitze and we still get throwbacks today.
It is for this reason you must study pedigrees and get to know the breed as well as possible before you embark on breeding them.
Breeding Pomeranian Dogs Costs Money
Pomeranians are not a get rich quick breed. Decent well-bred Pomeranians of the correct size rarely have large litters. It’s more often one or two, sometimes three, and very rarely four puppies.
Now if you have done it properly, meaning if you have:
- bought the best quality bitch costing about $2,000 mark or more,
- found the best stud dog you can,
- arranged a mating with normal stud fee, approximately $500,
- fed the bitch correctly,
- wormed her,
- kept her properly groomed and socialised,
- kept her exercised,
- and provided good quality accommodation (Pomeranians do best as house dogs)
…finally you get her mated! Then she has one puppy by cesarean section, the cost of which can be anything from $800 upwards. It is at this point that you start to realise why they are so expensive to buy and why it costs more to produce pom puppies than it is to produce some from other breeds.
Assuming that you are abiding by Kennel club rules, you have to consider that you can only have one litter per year. No bitch should be bred from more often than that. She should be over a year old before her first litter and only four litters in the bitch’s lifetime… and I believe that you cannot register puppies after the bitch is 8 years old.
The Kennel Club will not accept an application to register a litter when:
- The dam has already whelped 4 litters (as of the 1st January 2012 the limit changed from 6 litters to 4 litters). As of this date the Kennel Club will no longer register any further litters from any bitch which our records show has already whelped 4 litters. Therefore for any litter born on or after the 1st January 2012, the system will automatically check to see how many previous litters the Kennel Club has an account of. Where the number previously recorded is 4 or more, the application will be rejected, or
- The dam has already reached the age of 8 years at the date of whelping, (relief from this restriction may be considered normally provided an application is made prior to the mating, the proposed dam has previously whelped at least one other registered litter, and the application is supported by veterinary evidence as to the suitability of the bitch involved in the proposed whelping), or
- The dam was under one year old at the time of mating, or
- The offspring are the result of any mating between father and daughter, mother and son or brother and sister, save in exceptional circumstances or for scientifically proven welfare reasons, or
- (From 1st January 2012) The dam has already had two litters delivered by caesarean section, save for scientifically proven welfare reasons and this only normally provided the application is made prior to the mating, or
- The dam was not resident at a UK address at the date of whelping.
There are further Kennel Club Rules and Regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered; the full Kennel Club Rules and Regulations are contained in the Kennel Club Year Book.
Pomeranian Information Pack – The Kennel Club (UK)
There is quite a high level of loss in puppies. This is for various reasons, and can also happen in any breed but more often in toy breeds. Anyone breeding any breed of dog, must be able to accept that puppies may die inexplicably at times. It is tragic and heartbreaking but an unfortunate fact of breeding any dog, nevermind toy breeds. Those of us who love this breed never get used to losing puppies.
So if you are thinking of trying to do this on a commercial level, which I sincerely hope you aren’t, then you are unlikely to ever make a very large profit.
Know The Breed, The Standard, The Bloodlines
We have six Breed clubs in the United Kingdom and all of them have the breed standard on their website, most have links to reputable breeders. Study the breed standard, talk to breeders and go to a few shows before you buy a puppy. Same for the United States, there are plenty of incredible Pomeranian breeders out there.
There is a list of allowed colours for Pomeranians. Rare colours usually mean that the puppy is not pure bred. For instance, we don’t have blue merle as it comes from shelties.
Whites are very hard to breed but allowed. Black and Tans show from time to time and they can be very pretty but not allowed in the show ring. They can be bred from but only breeders who know the inherent problems should use them.
Don’t buy a dog thinking you can put it to stud, this will only work if it campaigned in the show ring and does some winning, even then you may never get the chance to use him. Most breeders don’t use pet dogs; they study pedigrees and the winning dogs in the show rings, then choose the dog(s) they want to use. They plan each breeding carefully.
Learn About Common Pomeranian-Specific Medical Conditions
There are many things that can go wrong in any breed of dog, and Pomeranians have their fair share of health concerns. Pomeranians suffer a lot from open fontanels, slipping patellas, heart murmurs, etc. It is therefore essential that you learn as much as possible concerning your own bitch and her pedigree before you start.
Don’t breed until you can commit for each pup, forever.
What about people having to return puppies, this can be for various reasons. Divorce, barking, trouble with the neighbours, kids’ allergies, and so on. Are you in a position to take the puppies back? You will have to try and find good homes for them. Then there is high cost of vet treatment. Some dogs coming back to you might need operations or treatment for skin problems, teeth removal, etc.
Finally, can you hand-rear a litter if you lose the mother during a caesarean section? Have you got a whelping kit ready? These all are important things you should consider before you start.
Rearing of Your First Pomeranian Litter
All puppies should stay with the mother until at least 8 weeks old. During that time they must be fed properly, kept in clean condition, and wormed regularly. It is important puppies be kept at the correct temperature.
The mother needs to be fed larger amounts of food in order to cope with feeding her puppies. This means up to four times a day. Then the puppies have to be weaned. Again, feeding the puppies at least four times a day. All this means taking time off work. You should not be leaving the puppies alone all day while you go to work!
They will have to be registered with your kennel club and for this you should register an Affix but it is not necessary. All puppies will soon need to be microchipped. You should also get them vet checked before sale and prepare your puppy packs including toys, leaflets, books, and all documents related to each individual pup.
All this costs money! People paying a large amount for puppies expect all to have been done properly. They are much more likely to sue today than they were a few years ago. The Kennel Club rules and legal laws concerning breeding are being tightened up all the time. Quite rightly, as far as I am concerned. It is your responsibility to keep up with the changes. Ignorance is no excuse in law.
So, Are You Truly Ready To Breed Pomeranians?
If you are not prepared to do everything correctly and in the proper manner then please stay out of our breed. We have enough problems with bad unscrupulous breeders and sad sick puppies as it is, we do not need any more.
If however you love the breed and want to get involved and are willing to ask for help and advice then we will be more than happy for you to join us.