Some Facts About the Japanese Spitz, a Mixed Bred Dog Race

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Our lovely little fur-baby, Nemi, is of the Japanese Spitz breed. She is small, about 6,5 kg and measures 32 cm in length and 30 cm in height measured from toe to shoulder. She looks like an Arctic Fox, but you can see the similarities with both the Samoyed, German Spitz and the Pomeranian breed of dogs.

Why? Well, from the literature, it is said that the Japanese Spitz is not a pure blood but a mixed race. It has been the result of breeding, mixing Samoyed, Pomeranian and Germans Spitz. With this article, I want to provide you with some facts about the Japanese Spitz, a mixed bred dog race.

History and Origin of the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a rather new breed. It was cross-bred from other races in the early 1900s to become the breed it is today. It originated in Japan and is the smallest of the Japanese dog races. The first time it was shown publicly, was during a dog exhibition in Tokyo in 1921. The dog breed was introduced in Norway in 1973, and since then it has become a very popular dog breed in the country. Including Norway, the race has the largest population in Japan, Sweden and Finland.

The “blend” of German Spitz, Pomeranian and Samoyed dog breeds is considered to be the origin of the Japanese Spitz. You can see it if you study these three dog breeds. It is easy to recognize their characteristic features in the Japanese Spitz.

The race has been bred to specific standards and today there are four variants of the race. Below is a description of the variants and how they compare to the breeds standards.

  1. Hakuo – A light and somewhat longer body with mid-length legs, an average-sized head and typical Spitz shaped snout. The overall size is medium to small, the fur is rather short, and agile dog with a lively personality.

  2. King-Light – This variant stands out with a rather small head, a short and not to elegant neck. The overall size is medium to small. with rather short legs. Its fur has a tendency to a lesser degree of pigmentation than the standard, but it has lots of it of the right quality and length.

  3. Lassie – It is characterised by the size which is above the average size of the race, and it is strongly built. It has majestic movements, a big expressive face and a beautiful, bright white fur. Its temper is not always easily controlled.
  4. Hi-Crown –  This variant is recognised by its solid built body shape, a short and lesser elegant neck, short legs, a big round head with a relatively short snout. The overall size is medium to small (due to short legs), strong fur (heavily coated fur), but not in the wanted quality and colour. To its advantage, it is calm and easy-going regarding temper and personality.

In Norway and the rest of Europe, you will usually find an improved variant of the Hi-Crown variant.

Physical Characteristics of the Japanese Spitz

Breed Family: SpitzNemi, Hi-Crown Japanese Spitz

Life expectancy: 10-15 years

Weight: 6-12 kg

Height (above the shoulders):

Male: 34-38 cm

Females: 30-34 cm

The dog breed has a thick, pearly white fur, with a thick tail, curling itself over the dogs back towards the head. Its eyes are mid-sized, triangular-shaped, as its head. Its ears are also triangular and the breeds “race standards” says to shape the fur of the ears further to highlight the triangular shape.

The Japanese Spitz fur around its head is like a lions mane. The male dogs usually have a lot more fur than the females. Further, it does not have the typical “dog-smell” and is very popular because of it.

The dog breed is bred to be a watchdog and a companion dog. It is perfect for people that have not had a dog before. Its fur is easy to look after and is, to a certain extent “carefree”. Just brush the fur once a week, and its fur will stay clean for along time. It is a quick and agile race and is well suited for Agility competitions.

Mentality and Personality of the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a physical and mentally healthy dog breed. It is a harmonic and trustful dog. A typical specimen of the race projects pride and dignity. It radiates self-confidence and is intelligent, eager, curious and a social dog.

They are perfect as family dogs as their personality is easy-going and usually get along great with kids. But you have to let the dog get used to kids as early as possible.

The dog just loves its family and wants to be close to the family members as much as possible. The race loves to be together with you where there is action. The breed is alert and curious, and loves to dig, especially in the flower beds.

The dog can be a bit “barky” due to its watchdog instincts.

From its puppy stage, it needs to be trained in order not to be dominating towards its owners. Even if it is generally speaking a social dog, it is sceptical to strangers.

Japanese Spitz – Companion Dog or a Working Dog

The race can be used for dog sports, dog exhibitions, as a search dog or as a watchdog. Our dog, Nemi, loves to go trekking, and even if she is small, she is extremely tough. She has been with me on quite long trekking expeditions( daytime) without a problem. This is in contrast to the race´s description that they don´t need very long dog walks.

But then again they are also quite happy with getting a bit of fresh air and “sniffing the news” for some minutes.

The race is great for agility, but need some time to learn the different agility exercises.

Are there any Health Issues with the Japanese Spitz Dog Race

The Japanese Spitz is a very healthy race and there are few occasions of diseases among the race. There is one thing though, and that is their dental health. If you are not taking precautions on a weekly basis and in addition checking their teeth with a veterinarian once a year, the breed can develop dental issues.

The main health concern for Japanese Spitz is the development of Patellar luxation, a condition in which the kneecap dislocates out of its normal position. They can also be prone to runny eyes, which is most commonly due to having tear ducts that are too small, or an allergy to long grass or stress(Japanese Spitz – Wikipedia.

Some final thoughts

The Japanese Spitz is a small and handy companion dog for everyday people. It adapts easily to life in an apartment in the

city or as a Farmdog in the countryside. Further, the race is not one of the more demanding races in regard to physical activity, but enjoys dog walks in the forests and fields. Like any companion dog, it is very important for the dogs’ wellbeing that it is allowed to spend a lot of time together with its family and that it is not left alone for whole days at a time.

We have had our dog, Nemi, with us for almost 7 years. I can vouch for the suitability of the race for first-time dog owners. She is a very sweet, caring and great little person. She always happy, at least most of the time. The only time she gets sad is on the occasions that we are very busy, and cannot offer her much of the attention she wants. Also, when we have to let her stay home for some time she gets a little bit sad. But, we are quickly forgiven, when we get home again. Then it is all cuddles at fun at full throttle.

If want to have a dog. I can highly recommend a Japanese Spitz, They are a great breed that it is easy to get along with.

18 thoughts on “Some Facts About the Japanese Spitz, a Mixed Bred Dog Race”

  1. What a fantastic breed. I had never heard of them before but they do look familiar so I have probably seen them around. You post is really informative regarding personality, health issues, the origins. We will possibly be looking for a dog in the not too distant future when we get settled again so thanks for sharing the info about the Japanese Spitz – Chrissie

    • Hi Christine. Thank you for your kind comment. Our cutie, Nemi, is just fantastic. I never knew about this breed myself. We bumped into one puppy one day when looking for what kind of dog we should get us and we were taken with the breed immediately. Another fact that I forgot to put into the article is that they are longlived. You can expect to have them with between 12 to 16 years. Good luck on your “hunt” for a four-legged friend 🙂 Roy

  2. Hi

    I have seen the breed here in the UK but never knew the name or its heritage. Thanks to your article I know now more about the breed and how  to look after them. I got to admit I prefer smaller  dogs as it is easier onthe lap when they jump up on you, compared to bigger dogs. What is appealing to me is the purest white of the dog’s coat but wonder is it easy to keep that way, as it can show the dirt more? It is great what new breeds can be made from existing breeds. Does the word Spritz come from a person’s name?

    Thanks for the article.


    • Hi Antonio. Thank you for your comment and questions. I had to check up on the Spitz name, though. It is derived from the shape of the dog’s face and ears, which is wedge-shaped, which in the German and Norwegian language is “Spitz” and “spiss”.

      The fur of the Japanese Spitz is kind of self-cleaning. The dirt doesn´t stick very well to the fur at all. If they get dirty, the dirt falls off by itself after a while. With the help of a brush a couple of times during the week, the fur is pearly white for a rather long time.

  3. Thanks for writing this very informative article on Some Facts About The Japanese Spitz, A Mixed Breed Dog Race. They are a beautiful dog and sounds like they would make a great companion animal.

    My sister-in-law uses to have a spitz, but I’m not sure what kind she had. Her dog was very friendly and a great watchdog. She lived a very long time too. I know she misses her greatly now. I loved her soft fur and great personality. She was a wonderful dog.

    Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful memory. 


    • Hi Lynne. Thank you for your comment. Your sister-in-law´s spitz sounds like a typical spitz, and like our Nemi. It is very funny when she chases the neighbour’s cat away when the cat tries to come over to our lawn for some R and R.

  4. I really love this dog although I don’t have one yet. I think I have only had the opportunity to see it once. It was a very nice experience as they´re one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen. I never knew they were a mixed breed. Thanks for sharing this awesome article.

    • Hi, thank you for reading the article and your kind comment. The breed is a super breed for sure. They are a mixed breed, the origin of it. But, it is recognized as a pure breed. The different nation´s dog organisations are making sure that the breed is not “contaminated”, and that the breeding standard for the race is followed strictly. The reason is to avoid health issues for the dog, and to keep the race within the guidelines for breeding. We are planning to have some puppies with our dog next year and have started planning the project.

  5. hellooo roy, thanks alot for sharing such an amazing content with us all, i was actually doing some research online when i saw your post on the japanese spitz, learning about the orgin was amazing, i wished you could write more cause your choice of words and writing skills was really nice, i believe i have seen these dog some time ago cant remember were now, but seeing the image reminds me of how cute the dog is, thanks alot for the info roy

    • Hi, thank you for your kind comment. There will be more posts about the breed as my family and I learn new things about our dog every day. Even if they are aa quite popular breed, they are not among the most widespread breed compared to breeds everybody knows, like the German Shepherd, Doberman, Poodle, Golden Retrievers to name few. Often the Japanese Spitz is mistaken for a Volpino, which has an Italian origin.


  6. Well, I didn’t know what type of dog this was, when my sister said to me that she wanted one. I was thinking, what kind of dog is a Japanese Spitz? The dog is really cute and I think she really has a good taste to want a dog like this one. I’m definitely going to try to get one, but I want to know if this dog also has mixed colours like black and White.

    • Hi, Jay. Thank you for your interest in the Japanese Spitz. This breed is only white. But, there are several other dogs of the Spitz “dog family” that comes in different colors, German Spitz, Middle Spitz (also called Mittel Spitz), and Klein Spitz. I hope that this helps, and wishing you good luck on your search for a Spitz for your sister 🙂

      Just ask me if there are other questions you have, and I will help you as best as I can.


  7. Japanese Spits is a nice dog breed.  Personally I prefer a larger working dog but overall, I love a visit from the happy face and fur of a friendly Japanese Spits.  I have a question regarding a Japanese Spitz as a companion dog.  Would you say one would make a good formally registered canine companion? Based on your article, I would think yes.  I read a lot about canine companions helping people with PTSD through bonding. The Japanese Spits sounds loyal and aware. Thoughts? Feelings? Thanks.

    • Hi, thank you for visiting my site, and reading my post. The Japanese Spitz makes a perfect canine companion. As a matter of fact, our dogs grandmother was a registered canine companion. My wife, who is a registered nurse, has also had our dog with her at work, visiting the old patients. Our dog, even if not trained, did the tasks by herself without much coaching. In the case of PTSD, and this is my own opinion, I think a Japanese Spitz would be great as a canine companion. But again, that is my own personal opinion.  I have been in the armed forces, and now a little bit about PTSD, so my opinion related to your question is based on my experience as a professional soldier.

      All the best,


  8. Hi roy thank you such a great amount for imparting this stunning substance to us, I really was doing investigate online when I saw your post on the japanese splitz, finding out about the source is astounding, I wished you could expound more on canines. Much appreciated part for this information roy.

    • Thank you for your interest in my article. I am thrilled that you found the article interesting. This article was about the Japanese Spitz only, but I am planning to do more articles on other breeds and also more about dogs origin in general. Thank you for providing feedback on suggestions to additional topics on the blog. I appreciate it highly.



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