The Japanese Spitz is a small-sized, active companion dog that is fairly self-sufficient--so as owners know, Japanese Spitz care doesn't require a great deal of time or energy. This page is dedicated to all things Spitz-related: puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more For all you need to know about how to take care of a Japanese Spitz puppy, keep reading!
As a small-sized breed, Japanese Spitz puppy development typically spans 12-14 months from birth to adulthood. Physically, these dogs grow quickly in height and length for about the first six months, then those measurements plateau somewhat while the adolescent puppy gains muscle mass; Spitzes are normally at or near full size by 10-12 months of age. Socially, development is fairly steady. Puppies reach adolescence fairly early (at 3-4 months); they mature sexually at 7-8 months; they're considered fully mature at 12-14 months. For specific milestones in Japanese Spitz puppy growth, see the following chart for reference:
|Dog Age||Development Milestone|
|2 Weeks||Eyes open, begins walking|
|6 Weeks||Old enough to be separated from mother for short periods, begin housetraining|
|2 Months||Introduction to solid food; can begin other training|
|3 Months||Socialization begins; can be exercised; vaccinations/de-worming needed|
|6 Months||"Teenage" period, characterized by increased independence and disobedience|
|9 Months||Sexual maturity; can be switched to adult food|
The Japanese Spitz is quite an active breed, which means these little dogs don't require a ton of exercise since they're busy-bees already. Spitzes love running and playing with their owners, whether indoors or out, and will fulfill a lot of their daily exercise needs just from that. The typical adult Japanese Spitz will need about 45 minutes of physical activity each day; you can begin exercising your Spitz puppy at three months of age by taking it on very short (5- to 10-minute) leashed walks, and increasing the distance as the puppy grows.
Some thing to consider when you're exercising your Spitz: first, puppies younger than six months of age shouldn't participate in activities that require a lot of jumping and running, as doing so can injure their still-growing bones and joints. And Japanese Spitzes love the outdoors, but will need to be leashed often (but not always) when in public. It's recommended that you leash a puppy when on its first walks so it'll learn to heel instinctively; regardless of age, these dogs are naturally curious little animals, so it's probably best to leash them when walking near roads or in a public area where they may quickly run off.
Even though Spitzes are fluffy balls of energy, it's vital that they receive daily exercise. An under-exercised Spitz can become overweight and unfit, and may exhibit behavioral issues like fussiness or disobedience. Here are a few ideas to keep your Japanese Spitz moving:
- Walking: Two 15- to 20-minute walks each day is a good target
- Fetch: Can be done indoors or out
- Dog Park: Spitzes will love the company of other dogs
- Hide and Seek: Great indoor activity; give your Spitz a treat when the dog finds you
- Doggy Sports: Spitzes compete well in agility and flyball
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Spitz access to one or more balls or chew toys--and these dogs won't need much coaxing for this kind of play! It's also recommended that you have a consistent daily exercise schedule for your Spitz, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.
Maintenance for this breed in terms of shedding and drooling is low to moderate. Japanese Spitz shedding is minimal for most of the year--but during the twice-yearly shedding seasons these dogs shed profusely. Drooling is basically a non-issue.
The Japanese Spitz has a double coat, and while the undercoat will lose a little hair constantly, most of the dead hair will get trapped beneath the thick outer coat, so overall shedding is minimal for these dogs. When temperatures change in the spring and fall, though, they'll blow their winter and summer coats--and they'll shed like crazy. Owners recommend brushing a Spitz daily during these 2- to 3-week periods to help collect the dead hairs. But for the other eleven months, shedding won't be much of a problem.
Japanese Spitzes may drool a bit in anticipation of food, and possibly when they pant heavily from being hot, but very little otherwise. If your Spitz is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case you should consult a veterinarian.
Like all breeds, Japanese Spitz food and diet choices are important to the dog's health and well-being. As a small breed with a small stomach, these dogs will need food that is packed with nutrients and vitamins; while opinions differ on what's the Japanese Spitz's favorite food, many owners feed their Spitzes high-quality dry food that's formulated for small breeds, as this type provides the necessary calories, protein, and healthy fats for these little dogs. Some owners also choose to include a bit of fresh meat and/or vegetables with the kibble, though the fresh food should make up no more than 10 percent of the meal.
Though these amounts will vary depending on the dog's age and activity level, an adult Japanese Spitz will need approximately one cup of food per day, divided into two meals; puppies need a bit less--0.5 to 0.75 cups, divided into three meals until six months of age. For specific portions of dog food for your Japanese Spitz based on age, use the following chart for reference:
|Dog Age||Dog Weight||Food Type||Amount||Frequency|
|2 Months||3 lbs||Dry||0.1 cups||3x/day|
|3 Months||5 lbs||Dry||0.2 cups||3x/day|
|6 Months||10 lbs||Dry||0.4 cups||2x/day|
|9 Months||13 lbs||Dry||0.5 cups||2x/day|
|12 Months+||17 lbs||Dry||0.5 cups||2x/day|
Though obesity is not a glaring issue with these dogs, a Japanese Spitz that's over-fed and/or under-exercised will indeed become overweight, which can lead to breathing and digestive problems and a shortened lifespan. Veterinarians say the most common cause of obesity in dogs is "free-feeding," whereby food is left in the dog's bowl all day so it can eat anytime it wants. It's highly recommended that you put your Spitz's food bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up 15-20 minutes after the dog begins eating.If you're worried your Japanese Spitz is overweight, give the dog the simple Ribs Test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Decrease your Spitz's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk or play period to its daily exercise routine.
Owners and breeders often disagree on what's the best dog food for a Japanese Spitz, and feed these dogs dry, wet/canned, or fresh/home-cooked food--and sometimes a combination of two or even all three food types. Perhaps the most popular and sensible choice, though, is premium dry food formulated for small breeds. Some owners also mix in a small portion of fresh meat (chicken, beef, or fish) and vegetables (peas, carrots, beans) with the kibble to make the meal more palatable to the dog; this added fresh food should make up only a small percentage of the entire meal.