As small and energetic dogs, Pomeranians have captured people’s hearts and minds for ages. Those fluffy coats and smiling eyes would make your heart melt with joy. In the parlance of our times, they’re called a real eye bleach.
Despite this cute appearance, Pomeranians were bred for very practical purposes. From guarding livestock to pulling sleds and protecting homes, Pomeranians played an important role back then. Long before they were valued for their looks and fluffy hides, Pomeranians were the security guard and the eye that didn’t sleep at night.
But times change and the guard dogs of the past, get a new role in modern life. This article covers the history of Pomeranians and traces the evolving part they played in our lives from ancient times to the present day.
Ancient History of the Pomeranian
The history of Pomeranians is as complicated as the journey they shared with humans over the years. While the exact place where they originated from is still shrouded in mystery and we’ll probably never know it, there are some speculations.
One common theory that gained credibility over the recent years tells about Pomeranians originating in Iceland. While that may sound like a remote possibility, there’s evidence to support it. For example it was the Germans who first adopted this breed and made it popular.
These cute dogs also appear on artifacts and paintings that go back to 400 BC. In other words, we’re looking at a very ancient breed that has come a long way from the time it was tied outside people’s homes to keep guard all night. While that may sound like a cruel thing to do, they were simpler times and people had different values and traditions.
One thing is for sure, back then Pomeranians were much larger dogs than their modern descendants. This might explain why they were considered hardy animals that could pull sleds and fight off potential intruders. The current Pomeranians are nothing but a shadow of their fierce ancestors.
Modern History of the Pomeranian
The history of Pomeranians in the United States started much later than that. The first mention of these dogs was recorded in the late 19th century. Exactly in 1898 was the breed first categorized. In 1900, the American Pomeranian Club was first established and 9 years later it was accepted in the American Kennel Club (AKC).
As time went by the new breeds of American Kennel Club started to favor looks over practical purposes. The wolf-like features and characteristics disappeared as new features were favored by owners. A thick and fluffy hide was preferred over a strong dog. The sweet eyes were chosen over the wolf-like face that scared burglars in ancient times.
The new and improved Pomeranians weighed less than 6 pounds, had large and floppy ears, and their coat texture was much finer than their predecessors. Some famous Pomeranians were the two who survived the Titanic in 1912 and made it to the New World.
What Were Pomeranians Originally Bred For?
As we said, the history of Pomeranians is closely intertwined with that of humans. As far back as 40 BC, Pomeranians were being bred and cared for by people in Northern Europe because they offered many services that other breeds couldn’t handle.
One of those first jobs that only Pomeranians could do were pulling sleds. In regions where it snows heavily for months, the only way for people to move around is on sleds. Ancient Pomeranians were huge and had many characteristics of their closest relatives, the wolves. They had a muscular build and enough strength and stamina to pull the sleds through the harsh weather without showing fatigue.
Another job that they excelled at was guarding homes and livestock. As wolves preyed on the herds of sheep and goats, farmers need an equally fearsome breed of dogs to handle the predators and protect the livestock. This job fell on the shoulders of Pomeranians thanks to their intimidating physique.
What Are Pomeranians Be Bred for Today?
Today it’s a whole different story. Many Pomeranians are bred for their cute and cuddly looks. They’re much smaller, fluffier, and cuter than their ancient ancestors. It’s hard to imagine these dogs pulling a sled or even scaring off a predator. In most cases, they wouldn’t be able to scare off a cat.
You find Pomeranians a lot taking part in dog competitions. They’re easy to train and they have good hides which makes grooming them a delight. The dogs are easy to handle and care for. Even though they’re a bit fussy, they still make good companions and can learn tricks and enjoy games of fetch.
If you watch dog shows on TV, most likely you’ll find the final contestants to be Pomeranians. These adorable and energetic dogs have wits to match their good looks.
Natural Instincts and Impulses
We already mentioned how the modern Pomeranians differ from their ancient ancestors. It’s not just looks that differ, it’s also their characteristics and nature. The old Pomeranians were natural born predators. They were tough and fierce. They could pull a sled through a storm and come out smiling like it was nothing. They thrived on challenges and lived the fast life.
The modern Pomeranians couldn’t be any different. They’re pampered and like to be cuddled and fussed over. They like quality food, and are kind of territorial. If you have a cat in the house, that cat had better know its place otherwise it will get an earful from the Pomeranian.
Pomeranians lost many of the qualities that endeared their ancestors to their humans. The sharp nose, watchful eyes, and ability to mix it up with larger animals, all these qualities are long gone. These days, Pomeranians like to sit around looking pretty and being doted over by their humans.
Besides Companionship, Can Pomeranians Do Anything Else?
To be honest, there’s not much a Pomeranian can or would do other than keep you company and make your life so much more delightful. In all fairness, that’s all that dog owners ask out of their dogs most of the time. Unless you’re looking for a dog to guard your house or one that pulls your sled, then you’d better look elsewhere.
There’s nothing wrong with looking pretty and filling your life with happy yelps and demanding your attention and love. That’s what we grow pets for. As an eye candy, Pomeranians are unmatched. They manage to look cute while also being energetic. That’s something they have over cats which are cute but always lazy and sleeping most of the time.
Why People Love to Have a Pomeranian
The answer is simple. They are a delight to have around the house. You can take them out for a walk and they will attract praises from those who pass by. They have small legs and walk in a fast pace that is a joy to watch and follow.
The favorite place of a Pomeranian is your lap. As soon as you sit, it will jump in your lap, make itself comfortable and turn around to look at the world from this vantage point. To say that Pomeranians add class to their humans is an understatement. These dogs which have come a long way from being rough guards and protectors of sheep, are comfortable in their new roles as a classy ornament in an upscale landscape.
If you don’t love a dog that manages to fit in its surroundings, enjoy the good things in life, and acts like royalty in any situation, then you have the wrong dog breed.
As guard dogs, Pomeranians fail miserably. It’s not their fault. Once they made it to the New World, the conditions and demands of the new life left its mark on the breed. Being rough, tough, and bulky was out of fashion. Cute and adorable were the new qualities that were in demand.
So Pomeranians adapted. They lost their muscular body and became more diminutive. The fierce features softened. The ears became bigger to give them a cute look and the eyes became kinder and warmer. The fluffy hair was the last touch.
Even though they come from a long line of guard dogs that protected humans, houses, and livestock, Pomeranians these days are a shadow of their former selves. They’re easily scared and agitated. They prefer to be groomed and pampered.
Pomeranians’ Breeding Ancestry
While ancient cultures loved the wolf-like Pomeranians, the qualities they encouraged in the new breeds reflected the jobs they had in mind for them. Those who wanted dogs to pull their sleds, focused on the bulky muscles and high stamina that Pomeranians were famous for.
Guard dogs were chosen and bred for their heightened senses of sight and smell. They had fierce features to match their tough nature and breeders made sure that Pomeranians had these qualities to excel in their jobs as protectors of the weak and vulnerable.
Over time as the demands of humans changed, the breeding history of Pomeranians took a sharp turn toward the adorable and cute.