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Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is an attractive small to medium sized dog, very typical of the spitz type with a foxy face, pricked ears and tail held curled up over the back. Their plush, stand off coat is pure white, and the contrast between the white of the coat and their dark pigmented eyes and nose lend an attractive expression of laughter and merriment.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10-16 years
Weight:  5-6kg
Height:  Adult dogs are 34-37cm tall, females 30-34cm
Colours:  White
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Utility


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5


The Japanese Spitz is affectionate and loyal to loved ones and familiar friends, but may be a little reserved with those they don’t know well. Typical of the spitz type, this is an alert, lively breed who will bark if they hear anything unusual or startling.  

They enjoy the company of family, and are generally a gregarious type, getting on well with other family pets and other dogs, though as with all dogs, should be socialised well as puppies. If you want to find out more about dog socialisation, check out our handy article.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Japan

Although the spitz type has been around in the northern hemisphere for some considerable time, the Japanese Spitz is a relatively modern breed that has found a niche as a lively household companion and also an eye-catching show dog. It is thought their ancestors arrived in Japan first in the form of smaller Samoyeds via Mongolia and then later in the form of white coated German Spitz dogs. It’s also possible that some American Eskimo dogs from Canada added to the mix along with some Russian Spitz in the 1930’s, and these all contributed to this new breed which was finalised by the Japan Kennel Club in 1948.  

The UK didn’t see the Japanese Spitz imported until the 1970s and they were recognised by the Kennel Club in 1977.

Did You Know?

  • The Japanese Spitz is sometimes nicknamed the Cloud Dog due to their fluffy white cloudlike appearance. They are also often described as having a ‘self-cleaning’ coat, referring to the fact that once dry, mud and dirt brushes off or drops off very easily.
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