Queen Victoria

History Of The Pomeranian Breed

The forerunners of today's Pomeranian breed were large working dogs from the Arctic regions. These dogs are commonly known as the Wolfspitz or Spitz type, which is German for "sharp point" which was the term originally used by Count Eberhard zu Sayn in the 16th century as a reference to the features of the dog's nose and muzzle. The Pomeranian is considered to be descended from the German Spitz.

The breed is thought to have acquired its name by association with the area known as Pomerania which is located in northern Poland and Germany along the Baltic Sea. Although not the origin of the breed, this area is credited with the breeding which led to the original Pomeranian type of dog. Proper documentation was lacking until the breed's introduction into the United Kingdom.

An early modern recorded reference to the Pomeranian breed is from November 2, 1764, in a diary entry in James Boswell's Boswell on the Grand Tour: Germany and Switzerland. "The Frenchman had a Pomeranian dog named Pomer whom he was mighty fond of."

 

The offspring of a Pomeranian and a wolf bred by an animal merchant from London is discussed in Thomas Pennant's A Tour in Scotland from 1769.

Two members of the British Royal Family influenced the evolution of the breed.

 

In 1767, Queen Charlotte, Queen-consort of King George III of England, brought two Pomeranians to England. Portrait of Mr and Mrs William Hallett by Thomas Gainsborough, 1785. The painting features a larger type of Pomeranian than is now common, named Phoebe and Mercury, the dogs were depicted in paintings by Sir Thomas Gainsborough. These paintings depicted a dog larger than the modern breed, reportedly weighing as much as 30–50 lb (14–23 kg), but showing modern traits such as the heavy coat, ears and a tail curled over the back.

Queen Victoria, Queen Charlotte's granddaughter, was also an enthusiast and established a large breeding kennel. She first saw them in 1888 during a trip to Italy. During this trip she found a small red sable Pomeranian which she possibly named "Windsor's Marco" and was reported to weigh only 12 lb (5.4 kg). When she first exhibited Marco in 1891, it caused the smaller-type Pomeranian to become immediately popular and breeders began selecting only the smaller specimens for breeding. During her lifetime, the size of the Pomeranian breed was reported to have decreased by 50%. Queen Victoria worked to improve and promote the Pomeranian breed by importing smaller Pomeranians of different colors from various European countries to add to her breeding program. Royal owners during this period also included Joséphine de Beauharnais, the wife of Napoleon I of France, and King George IV of England.

Notable people who were said to have Pomeranian-type dogs include theologian Martin Luther, who had a Pomeranian named Belferlein that he mentioned often in his writings; artist Michelangelo, whose Pomeranian sat on a satin pillow and watched him paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; physicist Isaac Newton, whose Pomeranian named Diamond reportedly chewed many of his manuscripts, and composer Mozart, whose Pomeranian was named Pimperl and to whom he dedicated an aria.

The first breed club was set up in England in 1891, and the first breed standard was written shortly afterwards. The first member of the breed was registered in America to the American Kennel Club in 1898, and it was recognized in 1900.

In 1912, two Pomeranians were among only three dogs to survive the sinking of RMS Titanic. A Pomeranian called "Lady", owned by Miss Margaret Hays, escaped with her owner in lifeboat number seven, while Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild took her pet to safety with her in lifeboat number six.

Early Pomeranian color coats were primarily white, black, chocolate or blue, but after an orange colored Pomeranian began winning at dog shows in the 1920s, breeders began expanding in new colors.

Glen Rose Flashaway won the Toy Group at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1926, the first Pomeranian to win a group at Westminster. It would take until 1988 for the first Pomeranian, "Great Elms Prince Charming II", to win the Best in Show prize from the Westminster Kennel Club.

In the standard published in 1998, the Pomeranian is included in the German Spitz standard, along with the Keeshond, by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. According to the standard "Spitz breeds are captivating" and have a "unique characteristic, cheeky appearance."

Queen Victoria's Kennel
Queen Victoria's Kennel