Back to all breeds
Japanese Spitz
Characteristics, History, and Health

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a relatively new breed that originated in Japan in the late 19th to early 20th century. The exact lineage of the breed is somewhat uncertain, but it's widely believed to have been developed by breeding various Spitz breeds imported from around the world, including the white German Spitz. The breed was officially recognized by the Japan Kennel Club in 1948. In the years following World War II, the Japanese Spitz gained popularity across the globe, becoming known for its companionable nature and elegant appearance. As a breed, Japanese Spitz dogs exhibit strong genetic traits of the Spitz-type, characterized by a fox-like appearance, pointed ears, and a thick, dense coat.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Nihon Supittsu
Life Expectancy
10-14 years
Average Male Height
12-15 inches
Average Female Height
12-15 inches
Average Male Weight
10-25 pounds
Average Female Weight
10-25 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Japanese Spitz is a generally healthy breed, but can suffer from patellar luxation. Genetic conditions for which they can be tested include progressive retinal atrophy (rod-cone dysplasia 4) and Factor VII Deficiency. As for all breeds, genetic screening is recommended to assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Japanese Spitz dogs are known for their friendly, playful, and outgoing nature. They are excellent companion dogs and typically get along well with families, children, and other pets. They are intelligent, easy to train, and can be quite active, requiring regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Despite their friendly demeanor, they can also be alert and vocal, making them good watchdogs. However, their barking should not be mistaken for aggressiveness – they are usually simply trying to alert their owners of something unusual.

Fun Facts

The full history of the Japanese Spitz breed is unknown, as most records were destroyed in World War II.

The Japanese Spitz's thick, double-layered coat is not only beautiful but also highly functional, helping to insulate them against both cold and hot weather.

While they may look high-maintenance due to their fluffy white fur, they are surprisingly easy to groom. Their coat has a somewhat self-cleaning quality, and they typically don't have a strong doggy odor.

They are often mistaken for American Eskimo Dogs or small Samoyeds due to their physical similarities.