Japanese Spitz: 14 Cute & Interesting Facts About This Wonderful White Dog

Japanese Spitz Feature

The Japanese Spitz is one of the most recent dogs to be admitted to the American Kennel Club.

Not even 100 years old, and yet this intelligent and happy canine has been popular since day one.

Known by some as a Cloud Dog, because of their beautiful white appearance, this dog breed was first seen in 1920.

An ever-elusive dog, the general public really doesn’t know much about them, as they are often overshadowed by similar, and yet distinctly different Spitz dogs (i.e. Samoyeds).

To try and answer all your questions, here are 14 cute, interesting and little known facts about the Japanese Spitz…

1. The Japanese Spitz Is Known As The “Cloud Dog”

Japanese Spitz Panting
Often mistaken for a walking cloud, this is a medium sized white dog!

The Japanese Spitz is a small to medium white dog, developed to be a companion dog.

They are often called “Cloud Dogs”, due to them being fluffy dogs white appearance.

Despite this dog being present in America since around 1980, they are not registered by the American Kennel Club.

This is due to the Japanese Spitz’s close resemblance to the American Eskimo Dog, the Pomeranian and the Samoyed.

The AKC has instead admitted them to the their Foundation Stock Service (in April 2019), an optional registration service for purebred dogs that cannot be registered with the main purebred database.

They are also recognized by their own breed club known as the Japanese Spitz Club of USA.

2. The Japanese Spitz Dog Was Bred From White German Spitz Dogs

Japanese Spitz Puppy

The Japanese Spitz was first seen in Japan during the 1920s and 30s.

Between 1921 and 1936 the breed was meticulously selected for, breeding in many kinds of Spitz dogs from around the world:

  • Breeders started with German Spitz Dogs (which is a predominantly white dog breed)
  • These German Spitz dogs came to Japan via China, after winning the 1921 national dog show
  • In 1925 two Spitz dogs were imported from Canada

This dog is extremely sought after in Sweden for their stunning looks, cheerful personality and intelligence.

The final breed standard was written around 1945 and was accepted by the Japanese Kennel Club in 1948.

Since then, the breed standard remains unchanged and this dog’s popularity has spread globally.

3. Japanese Spitz Dogs Stand Between 12 To 15 Inches Tall

Spitz Dog Outside
The Japanese Spitz is a loyal dog who loves to be by their owners side.

Japanese Spitz are like clouds that can bark!

They have a huge, white coat.

The breed standard set out by the Federation Cynologique Internationale describes the Japanese Spitz as a medium dog, with a wide pointed muzzle, triangular pricked ears, and a large, fluffy tail that curls over their back.

They also have a mane around their neck, giving them an almost lion like appearance.

The pure white double coat is the most obvious feature of this dog breed’s appearance.

Japanese Spitz usually stand between 12 to 15 inches tall and weigh between 10 and 25 lb.

However, the breed standard does vary somewhat between kennel clubs (we discuss this in more detail in fact #12).

4. This Dog Has Biannual Malting Seasons

This is a very fluffy dog with a thick coat.

You would be forgiven for thinking that owners spend all day brushing that gorgeous coat!

The reality is that the Japanese Spitz is actually a very low maintenance dog.

In order to stop their coat from becoming matted, it needs to be brushed one to three times per week. Using a pin brush allows the owner to get through their thick coats.

This will need to increase during malting season (which occurs twice per year) to daily brushes.

These dogs should not be bathed often due to their sensitive skin type. Overbathing will remove essential oils and dry out their skin.

Their coat doesn’t really retain the smell of dirt, so bathing a few times a year will be more than fine.

5. The Japanese Spitz Lifespan Is 10 to 16 Years

Spitz Dog
The Japanese Spitz Is A Fun And Playful Dog, Great For Families

Typically, the Japanese Spitz Dog is very healthy and usually lives from 10 to 16 years old, making them one of the longest living dog breeds.

How Healthy Is This Dog?
This dog does suffer from health problems, the most common of which is Patellar Luxation.

Patellar Luxation is a minor dislocation of the knee joint.

This inevitably wears holes in knee cartilage, ultimately, this results in pain while walking, which depending on the severity of the condition can be managed via medication and/or surgery.

6. The Japanese Spitz Dog Loves: Agility, Flyball and Frisbee

These Spitz dogs are lively, and this Japanese dog breed is no different; they are vivacious dogs who love to be outdoors.

They need around 45 minutes of exercise daily, ideally split into smaller walks.

The Japanese Spitz does enjoy swimming on occasion, and their fun-loving nature means they are often the first in the water.

The breed also may enjoy other canine sports such as agility, flyball, frisbee or even advanced obedience.

Japanese Spitz dogs even enjoy the occasional jog with their parents.

Some vigorous play, such as tug of war, fetch or frisbee, are also a good form of exercise for this dog breed!

These exercises can be used in place of a walk on occasion, but remember they are highly social dogs and enjoy being outside and meeting new people.

7. They Are A Very Social Dog

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a very social dog, and they love to be out and about.

Everything is a fun and exciting adventure to this breed, from getting a puppacino at Starbucks to going to the dog park, or something as simple as a walk to the front door to get the mail.

These dogs can be very friendly and outgoing, but if socialized incorrectly they can be incredibly shy and timid.

To avoid this, Japanese Spitz dogs should be introduced to as many people, places and things when they are young.

These dogs tend to take most things in their stride, but, caution should be taken if you observe signs of stress of anxiety.

8. Japanese Spitz Puppies’ Cost Between $1,000 And $2,500 USD

Japanese Spitz Dog Running

Japanese Spitz puppies are very rare, it is unlikely you will find one in your local shelter. This, combined with a small litter size of between one and six puppies, means that it can be hard to locate a puppy.

The American Kennel Club has responsible breeders who are held to the AKCs standards.

Japanese Spitz puppies’ cost between $1,000 and $2,500 USD.

Unfortunately, there are no specific breed rescue services in the USA, it may still be worth a trip to your local shelter, but these dogs often are difficult to find.

9. The Spitz Family Encompasses Many Dogs

Spitz Portrait
Among many other things, the Japanese Spitz is very photogenic.

If you can’t find a Japanese Spitz, there are many other dogs in their breed family.

The Spitz family encompasses many dogs, and so there may be a good alternative for you:

Samoyed Dog
Japanese Spitz dogs are descendants of the Samoyeds (and cousins of the Pomeranian). These other breed types are similar to the Japanese version of the Spitz dog, but are easier to find.

The Samoyed is another Japanese dog, who were first seen around the 19th Century.

They are known for their happy go lucky nature, they enjoy play and, like the Japanese Spitz, make wonderful family dogs.

However, due to the larger size of the Samoyed (around 19 to 23 inches), they have a much higher exercise drive.

Pomeranian Dog
The Pomeranian is a European dog, first seen in the 16th century.

One of the smallest Spitz dogs, they are between 5 and 11 inches tall.

Pomeranians are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, but they can be aloof and abrupt in an attempt to prove themselves.

Although not a perfect substitute for the Japanese Spitz, these other similar dogs may be something to bear in mind when hunting for that perfect puppy.

10. A Japanese Spitz Must Be White

Japanese Spitz Face

This is not uncommon for the Spitz breed type; a large majority of Spitz dogs are white.

In the case of the Japanese Spitz, their white coat comes from that of the Samoyed, who are often white or “biscuit”.

This thick white coat comes from a Samoyed’s original breed purpose of herding reindeer in the cold arctic, meaning that the coat needed to be white.

Their coat was then passed onto their descendants (i.e. The Japanese Spitz) and the color was then kept due to the selective breeding of white with the breeders.

Is white the only acceptable color?
Yes, a Japanese Spitz must be white, and only white!

According to their breed standard (across all of the different kennel clubs) the only acceptable color for this dog is white.

11. This Breed Type Does Not Tolerate The Cold Very Well

White Dog Running
The Japanese Spitz needs 45 minutes of exercise daily.

Despite being from the same family as the Samoyed, this dog does not tolerate the cold very well, and much prefers mild temperatures. If the cold is unavoidable, they should be kept inside in the warm as much as possible.

The Japanese Spitz can thrive in a variety of different living environments:

  • They do well with room to run around in, but they are not fussy about space.
  • As long as they have room to stretch their legs, a Japanese Spitz is just as happy in an apartment as they are on a farm.

They are a good dog for families, their mischievous and playful nature makes them a great match with children.

Chasing a ball, a frisbee, or anything else you will throw for them is a favorite activity of theirs.

They can be a good match for a more active senior, as their loving and devoted nature makes them an excellent companion.

12. The Size Of This Dog Varies

The size of this dog varies somewhat between breed standards and countries:

Suggested Size
American Kennel Club 12 to 15 inches
Japanese Kennel Club 11 to 15 inches
UK Kennel Club 13.5 to 14.5 inches

The original Japanese breed standard suggests that this dog should be somewhere between 11 and 15 inches (30-38cm).

However, the American Kennel Club states between 12 and 15 inches is correct.

In the UK and Australia, each breed club dictates the Japanese Spitz should be between 13.5 and 14.5 inches.

Although all the breed standards vary in size requirements, they all have one thing in common; the Japanese Spitz is larger than their cousin the Pomeranian.

13. These Dogs Are Attention Seekers

Japanese Spitz Dog

They make a great companion for people of all ages by being: affectionate, devoted and high spirited – making them great playmates and watch dogs.

These dogs are attention seekers, they thrive on human interaction.

Japanese Spitz dogs are at their happiest around their owners, be that playing games in the park, trick training or just cuddling on the couch.

This devotion to their owners makes them highly attentive to their owners and their needs. With the right reinforcement, this dogs attention to detail should make training a breeze.

However, this same devotion means they are prone to separation anxiety and destructive behavior if left alone for long periods.

It should be noted that the Japanese Spitz does like to bark and howl, especially when bored or threatened.

14. The Japanese Spitz Is Not A Fussy Eater

Japanese Spitz Puppy Eating

These dogs need around one cup of high quality kibble – ideally twice daily.

Meat should be the top ingredient listed.

With canine obesity on the rise, it is important to be aware of exactly how much you feed your dog. This is especially true whilst using kibble for training.

These dogs are just as happy munching on a carrot or other dog-friendly fruits or vegetable.


The Japanese Spitz is a loving, loyal and intelligent dog, perfect for all people from all walks of life.

They are not fussy with their space and are happiest when with their owner or owners. They love to be outdoors or playing but love to be by their owners’ sides getting a cuddle as well.

Their loyal nature does mean that they do not do well with being left on their own, as a result, owners should be able to spend the majority of their day with their dog.

Leaving this dog on their own for extended periods can cause destructive and undesirable behavior.

Do you have a Japanese Spitz at home? Leave us a comment giving us your thoughts on this dashing dog in the comments.

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. It would be wonderful to see an article about the Volpino Italiano dog. Not yet recognized by the American kennel club but an ancient breed none the less

  2. I have a Japanese spit. He is 10 years old. Every time we leave the home and then come back he barks at us as if to say you left me by myself. When we are home if my husband and I are in separate rooms, he will lay. On the floor in between the distance that were apart to keep an eye on us both. My husband treats him like a member of the family.

  3. Honeypup our 5 year old Jap Spitz is so cute and huggable. He standouts in the crowd. Loves to play and play. We used to go walking 3x a week. He is indeed super friendly but thinks he is human, not a dog! We call him KING HONEYPUP.

  4. We had Bella our Japanese Spitz for 16 wonderful years and highly recommend the breed as a loving loyal companion. Beautiful to look at our Bella went to work with my husband every day and welcomed all our customers who loved her as well. We will look for another one to replace her very soon.

  5. I have 2 spritz at home. Female is 2 years old, puppy male is 9 months. Both have sweet personality, affection, accommodative. I enjoy their company. They are beautiful and get atentions when we walk the park. Particularly enjoy to see them playing together, running in green field. Totally beautiful because of their white fur. My family loves them and they know. No separation anxiety but some destructions if we are away for too long.

  6. I am the proud owner of my 5th Japanese Spitz. I found Rex at a rescue group who found him at an animal shelter waiting to be euthanized! The pound found him running in the street as if he had been tossed from a vehicle. He is such a sweet dog. A funny personality and very chill. He does not like children or men, but we’re working on that. I figure he’s probably an abuse victim. Either way he’s staying’. I’ll be working with him . That’s my pup!

  7. I just lost my Corky, a almost 16 year old Japanese spritz. She was my best friend for many years. I don’t think she understood there was a difference between dogs and humans. She loved riding in the boat and taking walks around the ranch.
    I really miss her, didn’t think I would get another but I’m looking for one now.
    Her ashes are on my dresser and each morning I talk to her. What a wonderful dog breed.

  8. My Snow is a 8 year old Japanese Spitz and the most spirited dog I’ve ever owned.

    Some people think he’s spoiled because he acts like a human and sometimes is needy but I love him just like that.

    He’s the best companion anyone can hope for and he hates being left alone.

    He loves long walks, belly rubs, car rides and warm cuddles.

    He’s such a wonderful doggy and I love him like my child.

  9. I have an 8 month ol spitz mischief playful absolutely active has a half acre to herself loves the kids soccer ball an rugby ball loves the swimming pool catches the bugs that fly over or drown in it no not fussy beaten me to the blueberries cherry toms strawberries mmm chomps on bark weeds grrr over all yep easily trained inside as a puppy now has her own house outside with a cosie bed knows her boundaries lives jumping up on you or others for a cuddle stays within her boundary when left home at this young age very impressed will take the opportunity to jump in a vehicle need to be aware of that so no walks to the mail box good mate for our cat which got as a kitten at the same time great pet becoming aware of strangers an vehicles approaching her area

  10. I used to have a Japanese spitz named Deyi but he died. :_( My mom stuck his paw in some clay and let me paint it so we could never forget him. He really enjoyed cuddles and I did too.

  11. We rescued two Japanese Spitz dogs back in the spring. They came from a backyard breeder and ran away. They were then surrendered to a rescue. The little girl loves being held and being with people. The little boy is very shy. Can’t tell if he was abused or just neglected from not being socialized. It’s taken a long while for him to trust me but not my husband whom he’s terrified of. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

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