Intelligent, active, and a relatively healthy breed, Pomeranians make wonderful companion dogs and also do well in competitions, including obedience and agility trials. Despite weighing only 3 to 7 pounds, these small dogs retain many of the behavioral characteristics of their larger working-breed ancestors. However, some Pomeranians may be prone to specific behavioral problems, and potential owners should consider the temperament of these dogs before choosing one.
Pomeranians are extroverted dogs, a trait that probably stems from their ancestry. These tiny dogs are descended from working dogs originally bred to pull sleds and herd reindeer. They are part of the German Spitz family of dogs, and share the extroverted personality and intelligence of related breeds such as Chow Chows, Alaskan Malamutes, Norwegian Elkhounds and Siberian Huskies. Like their larger cousins, Pomeranians tend not to get overexcited. Their working-dog ancestry also gives Pomeranians the ability to live, play, and work well with other dogs. Pomeranians tend to be highly curious, checking out new objects by using every sense available. When Pomeranians are ready to play, they are quick to let their owners know by fetching a favorite toy or standing on their hind legs and barking to get their owners' attention.
Many Pomeranian owners notice that their dogs are extremely headstrong and willful. These tiny dogs can be territorial and may be wary of strangers, especially if they were not well socialized as puppies. They may not put up with small children tugging on or mishandling them, and may snap or bite when they feel threatened or in danger. Because they are so small, Pomeranians can easily be injured by an aggressive child, so families with young children may have to provide supervision when the children and dog interact. Owners of Pomeranians often find that these dogs benefit from early obedience training.
Because Pomeranians are highly intelligent, they generally are easy to train. They also tend to be good show dogs because they are well-behaved and eager to perform the actions their owners want them to. Pomeranians typically tackle tasks such as learning new tricks with enthusiasm. Because they are not highly excitable, Pomeranians also make good therapy dogs.
Two potential problem behaviors sometimes seen in Pomeranians are excessive barking and poor housetraining. As with all toy breeds, early housetraining is vital so that bad habits do not form. Barking is typically more of a problem in dogs who are left alone for long periods of time, so owners should not leave a Pomeranian alone with no interaction all day. Many of the potential problem behaviors of Pomeranians are established in puppyhood, so people who purchase or adopt an adult Pomeranian can determine whether those problems exist before getting the dog.