Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a small dog with a big personality and a pedigree. They are typically happy, gentle and playful dogs. Japanese Spitz make excellent devoted companions and in fact, require companionship themselves. 

They do not like to be left alone for any length of time. Fortunately, they get along with family, strangers and other pets. Keep in mind that they do not make for good service dogs.

Although generally considered to be an indoor dog, they can tolerate extreme temperatures, and prefer the cold, but are not to be left outside at night. Plan on long walks and daily exercise for fitness and to combat boredom. You can count on your Japanese Spitz to protect your children and will happily play with them in a safe manner.

a Japanese Spitz sitting in the grass

Japanese Spitz Information

  • Average Height: 10 to 16 inches.
  • Average Length: 11 to 17.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 10 to 25 pounds.
  • Coat Type: Long length.
  • Coat Appearance: They have a rich textured double coat with a thick undercoat and a long outer coat.
  • Coat Colors: White
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Medium Shedding
  • Brushing Requirements: They need to be brushed twice a week.
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Barking: Yes
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: They are playful and friendly with their owners, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: They are small in size and good tempered, so yes.
  • Good with Other Dogs: Medium
  • Good with Other Pets: Medium
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners: Yes
  • Training: They are intelligent and easy to train
  • Exercise Needs: Medium
  • Weight Gain: Medium
  • Health Concerns: Patellar luxation, frequent runny eyes, and dry skin being the only health concerns.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 14 years
a Japanese Spitz looking at something

Physical Appearance of Japanese Spitz

A Japanese Spitz is a small-sized dog with a somewhat square-shaped body. The neck is muscular and moderately long. Their chest is deep and broad. They have a moderately long tail which is set high and curls over back. The Japanese Spitz has cat-like feet with thick paws. 

Their head is broad and round. They have a pointed snout which is small and black in color. The medium size eyes are almond-shaped and dark black in color. Their small triangular shaped ears stand erect and slightly bent in the forward direction.

The Japanese Spitz has a pure white double coat rich in texture. The outer coat is straight and long while the undercoat is soft and dense. They have short hair on the legs, ears, and lower part of the legs with long hair on the rest of the body. The hair on the tail and neck are fluffy. 

Temperament of Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a playful and smart dog. They are friendly and loyal to their owners. Though they look small, they are fairly active and love to play with the family members. They are also courageous and protective. This will usually be the reason why they bark at strangers. Nevertheless, they are obedient and calm down if the family members reassure them. They make great watchdogs. 

They are great companions and with some training can learn to mix well with strangers and other pets.

Poodles, generally, are very outgoing and love to meet new people. However, they have a habit of barking frequently if ignored or left alone. Sometimes, they might also bark at strangers but giving them socialization training can help to reduce this behavior.

Training a Japanese Spitz

These dogs are intelligent and obedient which will help you to easily train them. Positive reinforcement and obedience training is what works the best with them. Start training them early for the best results. This will help them to follow your commands when they grow up.

It is necessary to maintain consistency otherwise they may not obey your commands. They usually respond well when you are training them and learn quickly. Give them occasional treats in between sessions to keep them happy. 

They can bark when you have guests over. You have to train them not to bark at house guests. They will become very familiar with the No, and Quiet commands.

Like some small dog breeds, Japanese Spitz can develop behavioral problems if not trained properly or exercised regularly. Training and exercising them does more than just keep them physically fit. It helps to take care of mental boredom. Exercise them or take them out for walks for 30 to 60 minutes daily and you will find they behave better, and learn faster.

Provide early socialization training to your pet. Introduce them to different people, sounds, experiences, and other dogs. This will help them feel comfortable when they meet new people.

a cute puppy Japanese Spitz sitting near flowers
a Japanese Spitz sitting in the grass

Their Compatibility with Children

These dogs are gentle and playful, making them great pets for families with children. They enjoy playing with children and love being around them. They rarely act aggressively and are totally safe to be around kids. They are protective of the kids and tend to guard them when strangers are around. As they are small, you do not have to worry about them accidentally jumping on pushing over your child.  

You should teach your kids how to interact with Japanese Spitz. If you see your kids trying to pick them up, you should ask them not to do as they may accidentally drop them. Unless they are puppies, these dogs are too big to be picked up by children.  Until you know how the dog and the children play together it is a good idea to have an adult supervise the interaction.  After a few play sessions together this shouldn’t be needed anymore.

Best Climate for Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz can tolerate both hot and cold weather. They are more comfortable in cold than hot climates. This is because they have a long and dense double coat that provides protection from cold. 

However, the Japanese Spitz is a companion dog and generally considered an inside dog.  So you should not keep them outside overnight. They are very happy spending most of their time inside your home.

The Attention a Japanese Spitz Needs

The Japanese Spitz needs a lot of attention. They are companion dogs and human affection is something which they absolutely need. The dog wants to be around their owners and may follow them around the house. They need physical activity for at least 20 minutes, 2 times a day. This can be just going for walks or the exercise could just be playing with them in your yard. This will keep them happy.

They do not like being left alone or being ignored. Leaving them alone can lead to them developing behavioral problems. Other than during the work day, someone should always be around them. If you have a family that spends most of their day outside the home, then Japanese Spitz is probably not the right pet for you.

Health Issues

Japanese Spitz dogs are fairly healthy with very few genetic conditions when compared to other pedigree dogs. 

The only major health condition in them is the Patellar luxation. This happens when the kneecap of the dog gets dislocated from the femur. Though this is not that serious, it may cause frequent pain in them. If you see that your Japanese Spitz is having problems walking you should take them to the vet and get them diagnosed for this disease.

Very few Japanese Spitz will get epilepsy. It affects the nervous system and can cause seizures or make the dog behave weirdly. This can be easily treated by medications.

Runny eyes is another condition that sometimes develops. This happens when toxic elements in foods containing wheat, dairy, or added chemicals are discharged from the eyes. It can cause stains to occur below the eyes. These stains can be wiped away with a damp cloth easily.  To avoid this it is important to feed them a healthy diet specified by your vet.

Bathing them frequently can also cause certain conditions like dry skin or even an ear infection. So, you should only bathe them when they are dirty or smell bad.

a Japanese Spitz sitting in the grass looking at something in the distance
a Japanese Spitz looking at something in the distance

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Looking at their rich textured white coat you might expect to be brushing them a few times a day.  Surprisingly the Japanese Spitz has low maintenance needs. Brushing them two times a week is enough. A pin brush works well on their fur to remove the loose fur without pulling much on the rest.  For sensitive areas like the eyes and face, use a soft slicker brush. 

Their coat naturally repels water and dirt. This lessens their need for regular bathing. You will only have to bathe them when their coat gets dirty, or if they start to smell bad. When you bathe them, remember to use only a high-quality dog shampoo that is recommended for white coats.

Clean their ears once a week with a moist cotton ball. This will help to remove the dirt and any discharge from the ears. Since they can have runny eyes, you should check the area around the eyes daily. If there are any stains use a cotton cloth to gently wipe the area. This is necessary to keep their white coat clean. 

Check their nails every other week and trim it if necessary. You need to be careful and patient while trimming their nails to prevent hurting them. 

Check their teeth, eyes, ears, and skin for any signs of redness or infection once a week. If you find any, take them to the vet to have them checked.

Feeding A Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz needs to be given 1 to 1 ½  cups of food split between two meals. You should serve them high-quality dog food that is recommended for most small dogs. You can ask your vet which dog food to feed the Japanese Spitz. The exact size of their meal will depend upon how active your dog is.

You should avoid free-feeding Japanese Spitz dogs as they can quickly gain weight. Keep a regular feeding schedule to feed them and they will know when to expect to be fed. Avoid giving them table scraps. This is because some ingredients in people food can be harmful to the dogs and cause runny eyes in them. Stick to a healthy diet given by your vet.

Related Questions:

How did the Japanese Spitz originate?

The Japanese Spitz dogs have originated from the white German Spitz. The German Spitz was brought to Japan from China in the early 1900s. This was followed by several other Spitz being imported to Japan. These imported breeds were crossbred to produce desired features that emerged to become the Japanese Spitz. In the 1950s, these were exported to Europe and eventually to America. However, these dogs are still not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They have been recently categorized under the Foundation Stock Service in 2019. This is a record-keeping program for rare pedigree dogs created by AKC.

a pile of multi colored dog food

Are Japanese Spitzes Expensive?

Yes, the Japanese Spitz dogs can cost you between $1,000 to 2,500. This is because they are very rare and difficult to find. There are not many breeders or rescue groups who can provide you with a Japanese Spitz. If you really want a Japanese Spitz, you can check the website of the American Kennel Club. They have a list of reputable breeders who might have this breed.

Are Japanese Spitz good pets for Senior Citizens?

Yes, their affectionate and loyal behavior makes them excellent dogs for senior citizens. They do not require a large place to live.  This is why this dog can sometimes be found in assisted living facilities. It is important to note that they are not recognized as service dogs or therapy dogs. So while they can provide comfort, they are not very useful for people with disabilities.

C&R Family Pets logo
Quick Links