Japanese Spitz

Canis lupus

Last updated: August 18, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

The Japanese Spitz is sometimes referred to as a cloud dog.

Japanese Spitz Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Japanese Spitz Conservation Status

Japanese Spitz Locations

Japanese Spitz Locations

Japanese Spitz Facts

Fun Fact
The Japanese Spitz is sometimes referred to as a cloud dog.
Most Distinctive Feature
Pure white coat with a mane-like neck.
Charming, playful, affectionate, and loyal.

Japanese Spitz Physical Characteristics

  • White
Skin Type
10-16 years
10-25 pounds
12-15 inches

Japanese Spitz as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Seperation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1,000 to $2,500 for a new puppy
Dog group
Male weight
10-25 lbs
Female weight
10-23 lbs

Japanese Spitz Images

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Long-haired, all-white dogs like the Japanese Spitz are sometimes called cloud dogs for their fuzzy appearance.

The Japanese Spitz is a playful, spirited breed, clothed in luxurious all-white fur. Although records of its development were destroyed in World War II, these dogs were first bred in early 20th century Japan by crossing several other spitz-type dogs together. The spitz is generally defined by a set of physical characteristics and relationships rather than its particular grouping (like herding, toy, or working group).

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The Japanese Spitz has many physical hallmarks of the spitz-type: a luxurious double coat of white fur, triangle-shaped ears, a curled tail, a long, pointed snout, and an athletic or muscular body. This breed bears a very strong resemblance to the Samoyed, the American Eskimo Dog, and the white Pomeranian. While still poorly known in the United States, they make great companions around the home.

3 pros and cons of owning a Japanese Spitz

Affectionate: The Japanese Spitz is an ideal family dog and companion.High Separation Anxiety: The Japanese Spitz cannot be left alone for very long.
Intelligent and Trainable: This breed has a keen mind and an eagerness to please its owner.Tendency to Bark: This breed has a loud bark when strangers approach the home.
Playful and Fun-loving: The Japanese Spitz has a strong love of adventure and fun.Tendency to Shed: This breed will spread fur almost everywhere in the shedding season. It is not considered to be hypoallergenic.
Japanese spitz- sitting
The Japanese Spitz makes for an affectionate family pet.

Japanese Spitz Size and Weight

The Japanese Spitz is a fairly small dog in terms of both height and weight, though it’s not quite as small as the closely related Pomeranian. The ideal size and breed standard can vary between different locations, but most dogs tend to fall within a certain range.

Height (Male)12″-15″
Height (Female)12″-15″
Weight (Male)10-25 pounds
Weight (Female)10-25 pounds

Japanese Spitz Common Health Issues

The Japanese Spitz is a healthy dog breed with a very good lifespan of 12 to 14 years, but it does suffer from a few serious health conditions. One of the most common problems to look out for is a developmental disorder called patellar luxation in which the kneecap becomes dislocated from its normal position. Over its lifetime, a dog with patellar luxation may suffer from lameness, stiffness, and even rupturing or tearing of the surrounding ligaments. Other common health problems include runny eyes, arthritis, and cancer.

Good breeders will always give their puppies a thorough medical examination before selling them to customers. They should give you the results of this medical evaluation if you ask them. In summation, these are the most common health problems:

  • Cancer
  • Patellar luxation
  • Arthritis
  • Runny eye

Japanese Spitz Temperament

Charming, playful, affectionate, and loyal: the Japanese Spitz has a very strong and distinctive personality that really shines through. With a great lust for fun and adventure, they will accompany their owner almost everywhere. Thanks to their big bark and alert temperament, they also make for surprisingly good watchdogs.

Health and Entertainment for your Japanese Spitz

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Owners should be aware, however, that this breed will suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. This will manifest itself in terms of destructive behavior and excessive barking. It’s a good idea to have someone keep an eye on the dog at regular intervals throughout the day to ease their anxiety.

How to Take Care of the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a good choice for owners across the entire spectrum of experience levels. This breed is a lot of fun to interact with, but there are still a few important things to remember. First, you will need to devote a lot of time to its grooming, exercise, and social needs. Second, it’s a good idea to have plenty of space around the home in which it can roam. While this breed can adapt to apartment living, it will need to receive enough playtime and exercise throughout the day, preferably in a nearby park or yard.

Japanese Spitz Food and Diet

The Japanese Spitz needs a well-balanced, high-quality diet specially designed for its particular size and activity level. Obesity isn’t a huge concern with this breed, but owners should nevertheless be careful with the number of calories it consumes throughout the day.

Japanese Spitz Maintenance and Grooming

During most of the year, the Japanese Spitz doesn’t need quite as much grooming as its long coat would suggest; weekly brushing and the occasional baths about once a season should suffice. When the shedding season arrives twice per year, however, they will need to be brushed daily. Some cleanup is definitely required because the hair will inevitably get on your clothes and furniture. Fortunately, most of the dirt and mud it accumulates throughout the day should brush out naturally.

It is not recommended to bathe your dog too frequently, because it can irritate their skin and ruin their natural oils. Other important aspects of its maintenance and care include frequent nail trimming, ear cleaning with a cotton swab, and tooth brushing with an appropriate kind of vet-approved paste.

Japanese Spitz Training

The Japanese Spitz should be a relative breeze to train. With very little stubbornness or headstrong nature, this dog combines a natural intelligence with an eagerness to learn human commands and please its owner; it will naturally see you as the leader. As a result, treats and positive words should be sufficient to motivate your dog. If you do need some extra help, don’t be shy about signing up for a professional training program.

Japanese Spitz Exercise

The Japanese Spitz will probably need around 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Since they like to run around and play games, it’s a good idea to have some kind of wide-open space near your home. After exercise or playtime is finished, they should be content to settle down and enjoy the rest of the day with you.

Japanese Spitz Puppies

The Japanese Spitz will need to begin some early socialization and basic training by the eight to 12-week mark. While these dogs are naturally affable and friendly, training is still necessary, because it weeds out bad behavior in your puppy and instills discipline. Housetraining shouldn’t be too much of an issue with this breed, but it might help to have a crate just in case because dogs do not generally like to soil the place where they sleep. Once you’ve established a good bond with your dog, you should start to teach it more advanced commands, usually starting at around four to six months.

If you plan to spay or neuter your dog, then it should probably occur before the first year of age. Unless you plan on breeding your dog, spaying and neutering are generally recommended, because they will improve the dog’s health and behavior.

Japanese spitz- puppy
Japanese Spitz puppy

The Japanese Spitz and Children

The Japanese Spitz is a great choice for families with children. Their small, approachable size, their affectionate temperament, and their need for constant companionship should make them great friends for people of all ages.

Dogs Similar to the Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz bears a striking resemblance, both physically and temperamentally, to several other spitz-type cloud dogs.

  • Samoyed: Sporting a thick all-white coat, the Samoyed (a nomadic herding dog from Siberia) looks a larger version of the Japanese Spitz with about double the weight. Their happy and affable expressions have earned them the appropriate nickname of the smiley dog. Since they’re far removed from their working roots, they make great companions in the home.
  • American Eskimo Dog: This small all-white dog was once a common fixture in American circuses and later became a popular companion breed. It was originally known as the German Spitz, but it was renamed during the First World War because of anti-German sentiment. The American Kennel Club actually didn’t recognize the Japanese Spitz for a long time because of its strong similarities to the American Eskimo.
  • Pomeranian: Originating from the Baltic region around northern Germany and Poland, the Pomeranian is a small, lovable toy dog, weighing no more than 7 pounds. The white Pomeranian looks like a smaller version of the Japanese Spitz. They are friendly, energetic, and playful, though a bit aggressive around other dogs.

Famous Japanese Spitz Dogs

The Japanese Spitz is still a bit of an obscure dog in the United States. Its popularity is eclipsed by other spitz-type dogs such as the American Eskimo, Siberian Husky, and Shiba Inu. Perhaps one reason for its limited popularity is the lack of recognition. The Japanese Spitz is not currently registered with the American Kennel Club, but it is enrolled in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service Program, which allows breeders to develop their purebred dogs under the auspices of the AKC guidelines until they can apply for registration. This breed does have many advocates who champion some of its better qualities and advance its popularity in the US.

If you’re still struggling to come up with a good dog name, then you might want to consider the following options:

  • Sammy
  • Molly
  • Kishi
  • Sasha
  • Lady
  • Juno
  • Yoshi
  • Loki
  • Satoshi
  • Sasha

View all 15 animals that start with J

Japanese Spitz FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is the Japanese Spitz aggressive?

The Japanese Spitz is not known to be a naturally aggressive breed (their barking is more of a warning call than an actual sign of aggression), but that doesn’t mean you should neglect their socialization and training. Properly trained dogs should be less inclined toward developing any anti-social behaviors as adults.

How much does a Japanese Spitz cost?

The price of a newborn Japanese Spitz puppy is normally somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500, which is generally more expensive than most other breeds. If the price is a concern, then you might want to consider adoption. It’s possible to find a very well-trained and behaved dog in need of a loving home at a rescue or adoption shelter for a reasonable price of no more than a few hundred dollars.

Do Japanese Spitz shed a lot?

The Japanese Spitz has two distinct shedding seasons, when it takes about two to three weeks for the dog to fully replace its entire undercoat. The shedding process can be quite messy, because the fur can get almost everywhere around the home. These dogs are not considered to be hypoallergenic, so people with allergies should be wary.

Are Japanese Spitz good family dogs?

Yes, the Japanese Spitz is considered to be an excellent family dog with a long lifespan. They are extremely affectionate, gentle, playful, and loyal toward all members of the family. They also strike a great balance in terms of size, temperament, and energy level; they won’t be too overwhelming for your children to handle.

Do Japanese Spitz dogs bark a lot?

Yes, they have a surprisingly loud bark for a dog of their size. They like to make noise when a stranger approaches the home. While some of this behavior can be improved with proper socialization and training, the barking aappears to be a part of their natural instinct. You should be prepared for at least some noise.

  1. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/japanese-spitz/
  2. dogzone, Available here: https://www.dogzone.com/breeds/japanese-spitz/

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