Do Pomeranians Have Hair or Fur?

By Jess Kroll

Pomeranians are a breed of toy dog most identifiable by a long and thick coat, usually light brown in color with patches of white or dark brown. Poms, as they're called for short, are descended from the larger German Spitz breed. Smaller-sized Pomeranians became popular after Queen Victoria owned one. Some current Pomeranian owners remain confused if their dogs' coat is considered hair or fur. An examination of the two answers the question.

Chemical Composition

On a chemical level there is actually no difference between hair and fur as both are made of the protein keratin. Such things as thickness, length and growth patterns are defined by species and individual genetic make-up and not attributable to any difference between hair and fur. The length a Pomeranian's hair can grow is due to its genetic predisposition and not any difference between having hair and having fur.

Primary Difference

The single identifiable difference between fur and hair is the presence of dander. Dander are tiny particles of skin and oils that get caught under the fur of animals such as dogs and cats, and that may cause an allergic reaction in some people. While hair may produce skin particles in the form of dandruff (also known as seborrhea), it does not produce dander. Although there is no chemical difference, a Pomeranian's coat produces dander and can thus be considered fur and not hair.

Furthermore, the thickness of a Pomeranian's coat makes it a particularly bad breed for people with pet allergies. Due to dander's small size, it can hang in the air for several hours and stick to clothing, furniture and carpets, making it possible for pet dander to linger and build for months. Dander can be controlled by getting the pet off beds and other furniture where dander may gather, using an air purifier to filter dander out, vacuuming daily and washing regularly, particularly with a shampoo specifically made to limit dander.

Pomeranian Coats

Pomeranians actually have two coats of fur, one long, fluffy and soft, and another shorter undercoat. The two coats are not distinct, but blend together in the same way a person with a layered haircut doesn't have identifiable differences in the layers. Pomeranian puppies typically shed this outer layer of fur, and possible patches of the undercoat, at some point between three and seven months of age. By nine to 11 months the puppy's long, fluffy coat should grow back.

Coat Loss

On rare occasions, Pomeranians may suffer from a condition called Severe Hair Loss Syndrome, also known as Black Skin Disease. The problem occurs primarily in males, and is identifiable by a puppy coat with no long strands of fur, which create the outer coat. The puppy coat is very slow to shed, but once it does, the coat doesn't grow back. The condition may also occur later in the dog's life with a normal coat slowly thinning. Typically this begins in the back of the thigh and buttocks and moves up the hind of the dog. The condition is genetic, so if Black Skin Disease is present in the dog's parents it may appear in the offspring.