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Between their earliest origins in the frozen Arctic landscape of Iceland, their late 19th century tenure as dogs of royalty, and their current status as cuddly lap dogs you can scoop up with one hand, the Pomeranian dog breed has a storied history that informs their personalities to this day. Nicknamed “Poms,” this little dog values affection above all else and longs to be close to their human as much as possible. Although they’re a high-energy breed, most of their exercise needs can be met in apartments and smaller units. Here are 9 Pomeranian facts you might not have known:

1. They weren’t always a toy dog breed.

Pomeranians didn’t used to be the lap dogs they famously are today. At just 3-7 pounds, it’s hard to imagine the breed originally weighed as much as 30 pounds! Though they’ve since shed the weight, they’re still big dogs at heart and aren’t afraid to stand up to larger dogs to assert themselves. Adult Poms are often confused for puppies throughout their lifetime due to their small size and innocent almond-shaped eyes. A Pomeranian under 3 pounds is referred to as a “teacup Pomeranian,” though reputable breeders argue this is an unethical breeding tactic that can lead to health problems for the teacup dog.

2. Pomeranians descend from Arctic sled dogs.

Look at your tiny Pom. Now, try to envision them pulling a sled through a frozen tundra. Poms originated as part of the Spitz family, a group of large, wolf-like working dogs in the Arctic regions of Iceland. Here, they took on roles such as herding, protecting livestock, and pulling sleds. The spitz breed group includes huskies, malamutes, Akitas, and Samoyeds.

Pomeranian running down a pathway

3. Their name comes from Pomerania, a Baltic region where today’s Pomeranian began to take shape.

Eventually, the breed made its way to northeastern Europe, specifically a region near the Baltic sea called Pomerania. It was here that the name “Pomeranian” was born as the breed was downsized from the typically larger spitz. Though they were still larger dogs than the Pom we know today, these early Pomeranians exhibited modern traits such as the tail that curls over their backs.

4. Queen Victoria owned a LOT of Poms.

While Queen Charlotte brought the breed to England in the 18th century, Queen Victoria especially took a liking to Poms during her reign in the late 1800s; so much so that she is said to have had 35 in her kennel and even requested that her Pomeranian Turi accompany her on her deathbed. Queen Victoria is also credited with inspiring the miniaturized version of the Pomeranian that is around today after importing a 12-pound Pomeranian named Marco from Italy. During her time as Queen, the standard size of Pomeranians decreased 50%. Other famous Pom owners throughout history include Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, Napoleon, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Marie Antoinette.

Pomeranian sitting on a sofa with a leash on

5. Despite their small size, they still fare well in the cold.

You can take the Pomeranian out of the Arctic but you can’t take the Arctic out of the Pomeranian. With their thick double coats, scarf-like ruff around their necks, and tiny ears to fend off frostbite, Poms are a bit more equipped for colder climates than most small dog breeds. Perhaps the most wolf-like trait that modern Poms retain is their heavy undercoat, which traps warmth and keeps them insulated.

6. They were on the Titanic…and survived.

There were three canines that survived the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage to the United States in 1912, two of which were Pomeranians. Passengers Miss Margaret Hays and Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild escaped with their respective Poms on lifeboats.

Pomeranian on a sofa

7. Poms are a popular choice for emotional support animals.

Because they are so affectionate, Pomeranians are one of the most popular dog breeds for those seeking an emotional support animal. So long as they are properly trained, the breed can be very calm and gentle – though caution should always be exercised around small children who may mistake the little dog for a toy and get bit if they play too rough. Owners can expect lots of cuddles, kisses, and being followed around just about everywhere they go. Pomeranians have also been used as hearing assistance dogs and medical alert dogs.

8. Pomeranians are prone to knee problems.

Patellar luxation is a common ailment for the Pomeranian dog breed. The orthopedic condition occurs when the knee joint becomes dislocated and can be painful for the tiny dog. Regular check-ups are recommended to monitor the patella.

Pomeranian outside on a walk

9. They come in more colors than any other breed.

When it comes to coat colors, no other dog has more than the Pomeranian. According to the American Kennel Club , the 18 different colors in the breed standard can include black, white, orange, blue, and red. Their markings are parti-color, tri-color, brindle, mask, or sable, among others.

Frequently asked questions

Do Pomeranians bark a lot?

The Pomeranian has roots as watchdogs and use barking to alert their owners when strangers approach. Consistent training and socialization from a young age can help curb unwanted barking.

Where do Pomeranians come from?

Although their name comes from a historical Baltic region called Pomerania where the breed first became popular, their history as part of the Spitz family of dogs traces back to the Arctic region of Iceland.

How big are Pomeranians?

Today’s Pom is considered a toy breed that is just 6-7 inches long and weighs 3-7 pounds. These small dogs are a far cry from the original Pomeranian breed in Northern Europe, which were typically 20-30 pounds. Queen Victoria is credited with inspiring this decrease in size in the late 1800s.

Do Pomeranians get cold in the winter?

Despite their small bodies, Pomeranians fare well in frigid conditions because of their thick fluffy coats and tiny ears that prevent frostbite. They also have an insulating undercoat that traps warmth.