Japanese Spitz Temperament: Want A Cute, Affectionate Little Dog?

The silly and playful Japanese Spitz temperament makes this dog an increasingly popular pet.



The Japanese Spitz is a relatively uncommon breed in America at this time, but it is gaining more attention.

The Japanese Spitz is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club, but it is recognized by other kennel clubs around the world.

If you are thinking about adding this breed to your household, continue reading to find out if the Japanese Spitz breed is a good match for your lifestyle.

Japanese Spitz Personality

Of course, individual dogs differ from each other—even within a particular breed. Not every Japanese Spitz will display the same characteristics. However, here are a few common Japanese Spitz traits:

Playful, Goofy, Clownish

Many people adore the Japanese Spitz temperament because these dogs are so silly and endearing. Japanese Spitz dogs love to play. It is heartwarming to watch them romp and play with their toys.

Japanese Spitz are inquisitive. They love to investigate new things. Make sure to puppy proof your home before you bring one home, or your new pup might abscond with one of your belongings.

Even when they do get into mischief, it is hard to stay mad when your dog looks at you with that impish smile and those twinkly eyes.

There is no doubt about it—these dogs are cute!

Moderate Energy

Another reason for the increasing popularity of the Japanese Spitz is that these dogs have a moderate energy level.

Like all dogs, they need daily activity, but they do not require as much exercise as many of the working or herding breeds.

Does the Japanese Spitz make a good apartment dog?

Yes, these dogs can adapt to apartment living, as long as their owner is committed to getting them daily playtime outdoors.

Since they are also a moderate size, they do not need as much space as larger dogs either. In fact, you can even exercise your Japanese Spitz indoors from time to time during inclement weather. They are small enough that a good game of tug or fetch in the house will do the trick if they cannot get their daily walk due to rain or snow.

However, when the weather is nice, these dogs love to frolic outdoors.

Smart But Can Be Stubborn

Japanese Spitz are definitely smart, but they can be independent thinkers. They are not always the easiest dogs to train.

You must be patient and find a rewarding treat that they love.

These dogs are clever and they can figure out how to solve problems (like how to open the pantry door and get a snack). Make sure you keep a close eye on them at all times.

One way to keep them from getting into mischief is to provide mental enrichment. For example, you can feed them their breakfast and dinner in a work-to-eat toy such as a busy ball, tug-a-jug, or Kong wobble.

You can also give them other brain game toys such as stuffed Kongs when you have to leave them alone in the house.

Visit your local pet supply store to find a variety of interactive toys and food puzzles! You can even find instructions for DIY dog toys online!

These types of activities will help channel that keen Japanese Spitz intelligence.

Housetraining Can Be Hard

Like many small breed dogs, you may find that your Japanese Spitz is hard to housetrain. Small dogs have small bladders, so it is hard for them to “hold it” all day.

During the housetraining process, use a very high value treat to reward going potty outside (like chicken)!

Take your Japanese Spitz outside frequently and reward him immediately when he does his business outside.

When you are in the house, keep him tethered to you with a leash so he cannot sneak away and have an accident without your knowledge.

When you have to leave him unsupervised, leave him in a comfy crate. Dogs are very unlikely to soil their crates.

Do not punish him if he has an accident in the house. If you yell at him or spank him, this will make him frightened to go to the bathroom in your presence—even outside.

Just keep a closer eye on him in the future and continue to give him extra delicious treats when he successfully goes outside.

If you work long hours, you may need to put down pee pads, install a doggie door, or hire a dog walker to take your Japanese Spitz out more frequently during the day.

Mini Guard Dogs

Even though they are small, the Japanese Spitz make good watchdogs. They will bark at intruders and alert you when someone is at the door.

They can be a vocal breed, so excessive barking should not be encouraged. Otherwise, Japanese Spitz barking can become a behavior problem for some owners.

Friendly With Other Pets and Children

Most Japanese Spitz can adapt to living with other pets and children.

Like all dogs, it is important to socialize them with other animals and children from the earliest age possible.

If you acquire your Japanese Spitz as a puppy, sign up for a puppy kindergarten class with a positive reinforcement trainer.

If you adopt your Japanese Spitz as an adult, you can still use treats to help him form a positive association with other animals and kids.

As with all breeds, always monitor your Japanese Spitz when he is around other pets or children. Never leave a dog of any breed alone with a young child.

It is also important to supervise and guide the child’s behavior to make sure that the child is gentle and respectful with animals.

Quick Japanese Spitz History

The Japanese Spitz dog breed originated in Japan. The Japanese Spitz first appeared in the dog show circuit in 1921.

The breed is most likely descended from white German Spitzs that arrived in Japan via China.

After World War II, the Japanese Spitz started to gain some exposure and popularity in the rest of the world.

Japanese Spitz Size and Appearance

The average Japanese Spitz weight is between 11 and 20 pounds.

The average Japanese Spitz height is 10 to 16 inches.

The Japanese Spitz closely resembles the American Eskimo dog in appearance. The Japanese Spitz also looks similar to a Pomeranian.

The coat coloration is always pure white. There are no other recognized colors for this breed.

Japanese Spitz fur is long and fluffy. It requires regular brushing and occasional trimming.

Is the Japanese Spitz hypoallergenic?

No, this breed is not hypoallergenic. Therefore, it is not the best choice for dog lovers who suffer from allergies.

Does the Japanese Spitz shed?

Yes, Japanese Spitz shedding is moderate throughout the year. Frequent brushing and bathing can help reduce shedding. However, if you are not tolerant of dog hair, this breed is probably not the right match for you because some shedding will occur.

Japanese Spitz Grooming

The Japanese Spitz is a breed that does require occasional professional grooming.

Find a high-quality groomer that can do a Japanese Spitz haircut.

There are a few different options for Japanese Spitz grooming. Many owners opt for a minimal trim because they like the fluffy look. Alternatively, if you want a shorthair Japanese Spitz, your groomer can do a more extensive cut.

However, a full shave down is not recommended because it exposes your dog to sunburn.

Staying Healthy: Japanese Spitz Health Problems

Overall, this is a hardy and healthy breed. However, all purebred dogs are prone to certain genetic conditions. Here are a few known Japanese Spitz health issues:

Like all dogs, your Japanese Spitz should visit a veterinarian once per year for an annual checkup and vaccinations. It is also extremely important for your dog to be on flea and heartworm prevention at all times. Spaying and neutering is highly encouraged for health reasons, behavior reasons, and to avoid contributing to the animal overpopulation problem.

With good care, the Japanese Spitz lifespan is 12 to 16 years. However, the Japanese Spitz life expectancy varies from dog to dog depending on many factors.

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Japanese Spitz Training

Japanese Spitz are very smart. However, they like to think for themselves, so training can be difficult.

If possible, sign up for a training class or a private training session with a local positive reinforcement trainer.

Avoid trainers that use harsh punishments or painful tools such as shock collars or pinch collars.

Instead, find a professional trainer that uses force-free methods. This type of training is safe, effective, and enjoyable for the dog and owner.

Find a treat that your dog loves! Some possible options include rotisserie chicken, cheese, turkey or roast beef.

Make sure your dog only gets these tasty treats during training sessions.

Keep training sessions short, fresh and fun.

If you are struggling with any behavioral issues with your Japanese Spitz, seek advice from your veterinarian and a professional trainer.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Japanese Spitz dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Japanese Spitz Rescue and Adoption

If you would like to find a Japanese Spitz for adoption, a good place to start your search is your local animal shelter or humane society.

Let the staff know that you are looking to adopt a Japanese Spitz or Japanese Spitz mix such as a Japanese Spitz poodle mix. Let them know if you are open to meeting other similar breeds as well. If you are open to meeting dogs with similar characteristics, you might find your perfect match more quickly.

Ask to be placed on a waiting list so you can receive a call if a Japanese Spitz comes to the shelter in the future.

You can also search for Japanese Spitz Rescue groups via Facebook and Google.

Petfinder.com and Adoptapet.com do not have the Japanese Spitz listed as one of their searchable breeds (as of this writing), but they do allow you to search for general Spitz mixes within your region. These websites will allow you to set an alert so you will receive an email notification each time a new Spitz becomes available for adoption in your area.

If you adopt through an animal shelter or rescue group, your Japanese Spitz cost will likely be between $75 and $200 depending on the group. Your adopted Japanese Spitz will most likely come altered, vaccinated and microchipped. Some rescue groups even provide additional vetting such as heartworm treatment.

Finding Japanese Spitz Puppies for Sale

The Japanese Spitz is a rare breed in America, so it will take some time to find a Japanese Spitz for sale from a reputable Japanese Spitz breeder.

Be patient and do your research to make sure that your Japanese Spitz puppy comes from an ethical source and not a puppy mill.

Never purchase Japanese Spitz puppies over the internet or from a pet store.

Start by getting a referral of a good breeder from a dog show or canine sporting event. Then make an appointment to visit the breeder in person.

Assess the premises to make sure the dogs are kept in clean, humane conditions. Talk with the breeder about the breed including Japanese Spitz diseases and Japanese Spitz eye problems. Ask to see medical records for the breeding dogs.

The breeder will most likely ask you questions, too. A good Japanese Spitz breeder wants to make sure their puppies are going to good homes. They will probably ask you to sign a contract agreeing to get your puppy spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. They will also ask you to return the puppy to them if things do not work out for some reason.

When you purchase a Japanese Spitz puppy from a high quality breeder, your Japanese Spitz price will probably be between $500 and $1000 depending on the breeder.

Conclusion: Why the Japanese Spitz

The affectionate Japanese Spitz temperament makes this small, white dog an increasingly popular pet.

The Japanese Spitz is friendly, fun and lively. Its smaller size and lower exercise requirements make it a perfect pet for many apartment dwellers.

If you are looking for an affectionate, intelligent, inquisitive ball of fluff, the Japanese Spitz might be the perfect dog for you.

Just remember that a dog is a lifetime commitment, so make sure you can take care of a new pet for its whole life before welcoming one into your home.