Small dogs and small children seem like a perfect match, and the spunky Pomeranian, or Pom, is one of the smallest dog breeds, weighing just 3-7 pounds. And yet, many of the most popular family dogs are larger dogs, like the golden retriever and Australian shepherd. So, why aren’t more families choosing small dogs for their small kids? And are Pomeranians good with kids?
While any breed of dog can be good with young children if they spend quality time around them early in life, the Pomeranian’s small size and big personality can have pros and cons. Before you bring home this breed as a family pet, it’s important to understand the challenges you might face.
Pomeranians make better pets for some children than for others. We’ll help you consider your family’s needs and how they line up with the Pom’s needs. Then, we’ll share tips for training and socializing your Pomeranian, so you can raise the perfect childhood companion.
The Pomeranian's Breeding
Originally bred down from spitz dogs in the region of Pomerania, a section of Germany and Poland, the Pomeranian maintains a lot of the qualities of its ancestors.
Spitz dogs are a type of arctic sled dog with a thick coat and pointed ears. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes several spitz breeds, including the Pomeranian, and it gives every recognized dog breed a ranking on a scale of 1-5 to show how good the breed is with young kids.
One of the biggest differences between Pomeranian dogs and other spitz dogs is their size — Poms are the smallest. But before you opt for a bigger spitz breed, know that the Pom's small size can be an asset in some families and a drawback in others — more on that below.
Are Pomeranians Good With Kids? The Pros
Here's a look at how the Pomeranian's inherited traits, from its size to its temperament to its looks, will affect your family and your kids.
- Small size: The Pom is a toy breed dog. It’s one of the smallest dogs, which will make it easier for your small child to walk, carry, and handle. Because of its small size, the Pom is less likely to knock your child down if it bumps into them.
- Easy training: Bred from working dogs, Pomeranians are highly intelligent and are typically easy to train. This will make it easier for you to teach your Pom good manners, and your little one can teach it plenty of tricks.
- Playful temperament: Poms love to play, so they can help entertain your child (and vice versa). But because Pomeranians are small, they’re easy to exercise with indoor playtime and don’t typically overwhelm the house with their high energy levels.
- Affectionate nature: While breed is often a better predictor of a dog’s looks than its personality, Pomeranians have a reputation for being affectionate with their family. They love to cuddle with their owners and are a good choice for calm, affectionate children.
- Good looks: The Pom’s cuteness attracts many to the breed. Kids might admire the Pom’s foxy appearance. Your little prince or princess will also love the story of the dog’s regal history as the companion of Queen Victoria.
- Long lifespan: Like many toy dogs, the Pomeranian is a long-living breed with a life expectancy of 12-16 years. Your child will have a longtime to spend with their furry friend.
Are Pomeranians Good With Kids? The Cons
The same traits that make the Pom a good choice for some families — from its small stature to its working dog history — make it a bad choice for others. Here are some of the issues you could face when you bring home a Pomeranian.
- Fragile build: Much like other little dogs, including Yorkies and dachshunds, the Pomeranian’s small frame can make it fragile. This dog can be seriously injured by rough play or by falling from a height, like if it falls off the couch or is dropped by a small child. Some of the Pomeranian’s health issues, including luxating kneecaps, can make the dog even more fragile.
- Small dog syndrome: The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found that owners and veterinarians were more likely to report aggressive behavior from small breed dogs than large dogs, while the AKC reports that small dogs are often less obedient and more anxious than big dogs — something they attribute to lack of training. Make sure to train your Pom from an early age to avoid this small dog syndrome.
- Fiery personality: While breed isn’t a guarantee of personality, Pomeranians are often described as fiery. They have strong watchdog tendencies and may bark at new children who visit your house.
- Barking instincts: Pomeranians bark a lot. In a busy house with young children, you might not notice the extra noise, but the breed’s barking may scare sensitive children. Without proper training, the Pom’s vocal nature can turn into nuisance barking.
- Shedding: This breed has a thick double coat with a top coat that sheds moderately year round and a dense undercoat that sheds heavily twice a year. Pomeranians are not hypoallergenic and may not be the right choice if your child has allergies or if you hate finding dog hair around your house.
How to Raise a Kid-Friendly Pomeranian
The way that you raise your Pomeranian puppy will have a bigger influence on its relationship with small children than nearly any other factor. Here’s what you can do to choose and train your puppy, plus the steps you can take to teach your child to handle a small dog safely.
- Choose a responsible breeder: A responsible breeder should screen your Pomeranian puppy for health problems, and they should provide early socialization by raising the puppies in their house and handling them frequently.
- Start socialization early: Once you get your puppy home, start socializing it by taking it to as many different places as possible and introducing it to as many different kinds of people as possible, including kids from outside your family. Make all your socialization outings positive by bringing plenty of treats and taking a break somewhere quiet if your puppy appears scared.
- Sign up for obedience classes: To avoid bad manners, like jumping on children or treating hands like chew toys, take your puppy to obedience classes where they will learn to sit, stay, heel, and more.
- Get your kids involved: As soon as your kids are old enough to hold a treat and say “sit,” get them involved in training. Have your child act as the dog’s handler in obedience classes, or practice at home by having your kid ask the dog to sit. Back them up by asking for the same command if your dog doesn’t respond to your child. Always let your child provide the treat. This way, your dog will learn to respect every family member.
Three Cheers for the Pom
The Pomeranian might not be the best dog for every family — its small size makes it delicate, so it’s not a good choice for rambunctious children, and its dense coat makes it a challenging choice for children with allergies. However, this playful and affectionate pup can make an excellent companion for families with considerate young children.
With early training and socialization, you can teach your Pomeranian puppy not to fear children. By getting your kids involved in the training process, you’ll teach the dog to respect every family member in your household. This could be the beginning of a beautiful childhood friendship.
To explore more family-friendly dog breeds, check out the Native Pet blog.