Descendents of the Arctic's powerful spitz-type working sled dogs to British royalty, Pomeranians have been all around the world and globally renowned for their beauty and strong character. If you've ever owned a Pomeranian or simply been around one, you'll know they're one of the most charismatic, energetic, and lovable dogs in the world.
Many, many years ago in a land bordering Germany, Poland, and the Baltic Sea, there was a place called Pomerania. The name Pomerania is a derivation of the Slavic term "po more", which means "by the sea" or "on the sea". While it's still sometimes referenced today as a region located in Poland, it's technically a historical region replaced by the popular Polish city Gdansk. After World War I and II, the region of Pomerania split resulting in population shifts. Today, there are a number of regions in Germany and Poland that hold on to their historical roots of Pomeranian.
However, the Pomeranians we know today didn't exist hundreds of years ago, but they do have historical origins tied to some pretty hard-working dogs that were often found in Pomerania. Pomeranians come from a long line of Arctic work dogs that were often found in what's known today as the Pomeranian region of Northern Germany and Poland. These wolf-like descendants are the much larger Wolfspitz or Spitz-type of dog commonly known today as the German Spitz.
The Royal British Family
The evolution of the Pomeranian really began to flourish once two of the most prominent members of the British royal family, Queen Charlotte and Queen Victoria, fell in love with these dog breeds. Queen Charlotte simply introduced Pomeranians into popularity with her two, Phoebe and Mercury, but did not promote them or encourage too much breeding. It was her granddaughter Queen Victoria who'd fallen so much in love with the Pomeranian breed that she set out to do what no one had done before.
Queen Victoria became a serious breeder and exhibitor of Poms. At the 1891 Crufts dog show, Victoria showed six of her breeding Pomeranians. One of her favorites, Windosor Marco, (shown in picture), won first place in the breed. Victoria is credited for reducing the Pom's size from about 30 pounds to 12 pounds. Queen Victoria featured her famously small Marco around in social gatherings and shows alike, which produced popularity like no other. This started a so-called Pomeranian breed revolution resulting in breeders breeding down Pomeranians to similarly small sizes and showcasing them in dog shows around the world. Queen Victoria was so influential in the breeding of modern Pomeranians that she helped decrease their size by 50%! Pomeranians became so popular that she started to import dogs of different colors to produce Pomeranians of a variety of colors. That's actually one of the main reasons Pomeranians have one of, if not the, largest varieties of color amongst all dog breeds.
Among Queen Victoria's many achievements regarding Pomeranian breeding, another great success was in popularizing and "marketing" the breed among elites and artists alike. She was known for gifting Pomeranians to famous royalty around the world, including the wife of Napolean as well as King George IV.
Soon enough, Pomeranians became rather prolific all across Western cultures and had the first Pomeranian breed club established in 1891. This breed club standardized is what made the Pomeranian breed unique compared to other dog breeds. This standard was later adopted in America by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1898.