Despite the fact that the breed is less than one hundred years old the origin of the Japanese Spitz is a matter of conjecture among authorities. Some believe it to be a miniaturized version of the Samoyed; some hold that it was created from a variety of Spitz-type dogs, among them the American Eskimo Dog and the white Russian Laika; others believe it is a direct descendant of the Large German Spitz. Many records, dogs and breeders were lost during the Second World War so all that can be claimed with certainty is that this dog was developed in Japan in the early 20th century to be a companion. The peak of the breed’s popularity in Japan came in the 1950s and thereafter declined somewhat. Outside their homeland they are becoming more well-known and appreciated as excellent family pets and vivacious show dogs.
The Japanese Spitz is first and foremost a companion. He thrives on human contact and attention and should be treated as one of the family. Although he enjoys being outside and has a protective coat that does not mean that he should be expected to live out in the yard, fed, watered and forgotten about. Such treatment will cause him to feel rejected and will inevitably lead to boredom and depression with consequent behaviour problems such as barking and destructiveness. Despite possessing an independent streak he is loyal and will bond strongly with his owners and he needs their company for fulfilment. His dainty appearance disguises a very robust and courageous dog. He can be rather wary of strangers and performs well as a watchdog. He is always alert and will announce the presence of ‘intruders’ with loud and forceful barking. Owners must take care that his readiness to bark does not become a nuisance to themselves and others. A cheerful, playful character he is usually good with children being ever ready to join in games, especially those involving chasing after balls or frisbees. He also tends to get along well with other dogs and household pets but his assertive nature makes him inclined to be ‘top dog’, and this trait can also see him become bossy with family members if he is allowed to get away with it. This breed is recommended as an excellent pet either for families or individuals seeking a lively, affectionate and versatile companion.
The exercise requirements of the Japanese Spits are not extensive but he will need fairly long daily walks to keep him fit in body and mind. He will also enjoy the opportunity to run off-lead if a secure area can be found for this purpose. Playing ball games or throwing frisbees is a good way to provide him with exercise and to give him the pleasure of interacting with you. He is a quick, nimble dog and can do very well at agility sports.
Basic obedience training should be commenced at a young age. This will provide mental stimulation and also ensure that he becomes an agreeable member of the household and acceptable to wider society. The Japanese Spitz is an intelligent breed and he will quickly learn what is required of him if consistency is applied. Positive reinforcement using treats and praise will bring out his eagerness to learn and his willingness to please. Harsh handling and strong verbal discipline are unnecessary and may be met with resistance. Such methods will erode trust and respect and will result in a dog that obeys through fear rather than through willing compliance. Socialization, which is the process of introducing the puppy to various people, places, noises, situations, other animals, should be started as early as possible. The adequately socialized dog will mature into a friendly, confident, well mannered adult and a credit to his breed.
- Patella luxation
Some photographs of the Japanese Spitz...