Japanese Spitz: a friendly and charming dog that adapts well to apartment life

A medium-sized spitz covered with the softest white fur

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By Alex

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz, a delightful small to medium-sized companion and guard dog, is intelligent, lively, and affectionate—a perfect playmate. Recognizable by its plush white fur, pointed muzzle, and plume tail, this breed moves gracefully and swiftly. Adaptable to apartment living, yet requiring an hour of daily exercise to prevent weight gain.

Origins of the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a breed that originated in Japan in the early 20th century.

While the name might be misleading, the Japanese Spitz has roots in white spitz breeds from North America and Northern Europe, including the Samoyed, Russian, and German Spitz. Initially, the breed was categorized by size: “Samo” for large and “Spitz” for small.

The spitz gained popularity in Japan and eventually spread to Sweden and worldwide. Officially established in 1948 after numerous crosses, the Japanese Spitz is now recognized for its distinct characteristics.

Physical Characteristics of the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a small to medium-sized dog with a fluffy double coat, erect triangular ears, and a plume-like tail that curls over its back. Here are some of its most distinctive features:

  • Body: Muscular, harmonious, and proportionate.
  • Neck: Moderately long with well-developed muscles.
  • Limbs: Straight and muscular legs.
  • Head: Rounded and relatively large, proportionate to the body.
  • Muzzle: Pointed.
  • Mouth: Regular with strong, scissor-bite white teeth.
  • Truffle: Small, round, and black.
  • Eyes: Dark, almond-shaped, slightly slanted, and relatively large.
  • Ears: Triangular and erect.
  • Lips: Tense and black.
  • Tail: Moderately long, set high, carried on the back, ending with an abundant plume of hair.
  • Coat: Straight, raised, and abundant across the body, except on the forehead, ears, under the hock, and the front part of the forelimbs.
  • Undercoat: Soft, short, and dense.
  • Color: Pure White.

This breed’s identifiable features include a pointed muzzle, dense white fur, and an elegant, high-carrying plume tail, showcasing its quick and agile movement. This breed features a harmonious and robust structure, capturing attention with its distinctive physical traits.

japanese spitz

Size & Weight

Height at withers:

  • Males: 32 cm to 38 cm
  • Females: 28 cm to 35 cm

The weight ranges between 5 and 11 kg.

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This dog breed is generally lively and affectionate, alert and intelligent. The Japanese Spitz loves to be cuddled by his owner, towards whom he is faithful and protective. With strangers, however, he appears rather reserved and distrustful, but still not aggressive.

Japanese Spitz dogs are known for their friendly and outgoing nature. They are often good with children and make excellent family pets.

These dogs are intelligent and trainable, making them suitable for various activities, including obedience training and agility, although they can prove to be stubborn and independent at times

They are alert and make good watchdogs, as they will bark to alert their owners of any perceived threats.

Japanese Spitz Care Guide

Coat Maintenance

Japanese Spitz dogs have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Regular brushing and occasional baths are essential, especially during its yearly molting period in early summer. The shed undercoat is repurposed by breeders for crafting warm scarves, clothes, and accessories.

The undercoat naturally regrows by the end of summer to provide protection against harsh climates.


Daily brushing or, at most, every other day is recommended to maintain the soft, long fur, keeping it shiny and knot-free. While the white coat is naturally dirt-repellent, washing should be limited (max a couple of times a year). If it gets dirty, let mud dry and then brush it away.

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A single daily meal suffices, featuring high-quality kibble or a well-balanced homemade meal with rice, meat, and vegetables. Due to their tendency to gain weight, careful portion control, considering daily physical activity, is crucial.

Physical Activity

Despite adapting well to apartment living, the Japanese Spitz requires a minimum of one hour of daily exercise. Regular movement is vital to prevent weight gain in this breed accustomed to an active lifestyle.

japanese spitz

Health and pathologies of the Japanese Spitz

Despite being a small breed, it is generally a healthy breed. Like many small dog breeds, it can experience joint problems, such as patellar luxation.

It is also prone to dental problems; for this reason it is good to brush his teeth every day, and in any case at least once every 7 days.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of a Japanese Spitz is around 12 to 16 years, provided they receive proper care, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups.

japanese spitz

Japanese Spitz cost

The starting price for a puppy of the Japanese Spitz breed is 1,000 / 1,200 dollars.

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