Pomeranians were bred down to toy size from their Nordic sled dog ancestors, known as spitz dogs. Because the large dog is still part of their genetics, every so often a puppy in a Pom litter appears in their previous size and is therefore sometimes unofficially called a "throwback Pomeranian." While today's Pomeranians weigh between 3 and 7 pounds when fully grown, throwback Poms can weigh up to 20 pounds.
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Throwback Pomeranian history
Spitz dogs, also known as zwergspitz in some countries, were medium to large, muscular dogs used in Iceland, Norway, and other Scandinavian countries for hunting, herding, and pulling sleds. In 1870, the Kennel Club of England officially recognized the spitz dog, and they became known for their strong and muscular bodies, high energy, endurance level, and the double coat that kept them warm in the cold Arctic region.
The original breeding down of the large dog into its toy size is believed to have started in Pomerania, an area that is now part of Poland and Germany. However, Queen Victoria of Great Britain is credited with encouraging the breeding down to toy size, as lap dogs that could fit in one's purse were immensely popular among royals and society ladies at the time (although Mozart was also said to have owned toy Poms). Victoria had her own Pom breeding program, and one of her prized Poms won first place in an 1891 dog show.
Throwback Pomeranian dog weight
The major differentiating factor between toy and throwback Poms is their weight. Poms today are toy size, weighing between 3 and 7 pounds and preferably between 4 and 6 pounds for show dogs. In comparison, throwback Poms can weigh between 18 and 20 pounds when fully grown. When you have a puppy that is larger than the others, it's important to be sure the dog isn't merely overweight. All dogs are prone to becoming overweight, and it's easy for small dogs to gain weight if their owners eyeball their food instead of measuring it or reward too many treats for all the Pom's cute tricks.
Throwback Pomeranian physical appearance
While the resemblance between toy and throwback Poms is unmistakable, throwback Poms often have larger ears, noses, legs, and backs than the breed standard for Poms and a coat that looks flat rather than fluffy, although it sheds year-round just like the coats of toy-size Poms. Throwback Poms do not have the regal look for which toy Poms are known and are usually bred by less careful breeders who supply puppy mills.
It is also possible that what owners believe to be throwback Poms are actually mixes of dogs that commonly show up on mixed Pomeranian breeds lists. Popular Pom mixes include Pomeranian-Boston terrier, Pomeranian-Havanese, Pomeranian-Maltese, Pomeranian-corgi and dozens more. Many have their own cute names, like "Pomsky" for the Pomeranian-husky and "Pomchi" for the Pomeranian-Chihuahua.
Throwback Pomeranian puppies
The physical differences between standard Poms and throwback Poms may not be as obvious in young puppies but become easier to spot as the puppies grow. For example, although throwback Poms have longer legs, puppies are so small that the longer legs may not be obvious, especially since most of the puppies will be toy size, and puppies are so active and always in motion.
Care for both sizes of Pom puppies is the same, and like all puppies, they need lots of time and attention. Ask your vet for food recommendations and a feeding schedule. Puppies' small bladder means they need to go outside at least every two hours, so if you will be gone, you'll need to find someone to take your puppy out multiple times during the day. It's important to start socializing puppies early so they learn how to act around other dogs and strangers. Since even throwback Pom puppies are small, take care that they don't get stepped on or hurt in other ways.
Throwback Pomeranian traits and demeanor
Lively, bold, and intelligent, throwback Pomeranians behave similarly to their toy littermates largely because Poms kept these traits of their ancestors as they were bred down to toy size. Many owners describe their Poms as tiny dogs who think they are big dogs. Toy-size Poms are so fearless that they can become hurt jumping from high places or being trampled by energetic children. One of the advantages of throwback Poms is that they are less likely to get hurt because of their larger size, and they are better able to keep up with children. Both sizes of Poms are sweet and loving, especially toward their special person.
Throwback Pomeranian care and health
Care for throwback Poms is virtually the same as the care you would give toy-size Poms. Brush their teeth daily and their double coats once a week to prevent matting. Give them exercise daily, whether indoor play or going for walks. Since throwback Poms are larger, the good news is they are not as likely to suffer tiny dog issues, like luxating patella or collapsed trachea.
All Poms can experience coat loss, however, known as black skin disease or alopecia X. As they age, Poms can develop hypothyroidism, so regular vet checkups are important. With proper care and exercise, your throwback Pom can enrich your life for as long as 16 years.