A Japanese Spitz has a beautiful, full white coat that typically doesn't require a whole lot of grooming--but these dogs shed profusely, so their coats will need regular maintenance just the same. See below for details on caring for this breed's coat, other maintenance needs, and various Japanese Spitz hairstyles.
The Japanese Spitz has a luxurious, double-layered white coat--and for most breeds, that would mean a great deal of coat care. Not so for these dogs, however. They're tidy little animals and keep themselves very clean, so Japanese Spitz grooming shouldn't be too much of an undertaking. The biggest issue for these dogs is shedding, so they require brushing 2-3 times per week to remove any dead hairs. They only require baths once every couple of months or so, and, depending on your preferred hairstyle, they will need clipping/scissoring every 3 months.
To brush, use a pin brush, and brush the hair starting at the roots (this removes the most dead hair). First wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle, then use a line brushing technique over the entire coat.( You might need to brush daily during shedding season.) Baths aren't necessary often, but if you follow the brushing with a bath, use canine shampoo and conditioner. It's best to blow-dry the coat, brushing while you do so to achieve that signature puffy, "cotton-ball" look for your Spitz.
Because of their thick coats, some owners give their Japanese Spitzes shorter hairstyles during the warmer months. Many Spitz haircuts can be done at home, but it's a good idea to visit a professional groomer at least once, as he or she can provide tips on how to groom a Japanese Spitz in general.
In addition to coat maintenance, a Japanese Spitz will require regular care in the following areas:
- Teeth: A dog's teeth, just like a human's, need frequent brushing to prevent decay, promote gum health, and minimize bad breath. Brush your Spitz's teeth using canine toothpaste (available at pet stores) at least twice per week.
- Eyes/Ears: As a solid white breed, a Japanese Spitz is prone to eye stains (also called "tear stains"), which is a natural discharge from the dog's eyeballs. Clean the stains with a cotton ball and a gentle, vet-approved cleaning solution. While you're at it, you can check the inside of the dog's ears, and if needed, clean the ears the same way.
- Nails: Trim your Spitz's nails every 4-6 weeks using regular nail clippers--just don't clip them too close! A good rule of thumb is that if the dog's nails "click" while it's walking/running on a hard surface, it's time for a trim.
Japanese Spitzes have beautiful, "puffy" white coats--but they can get hot during the summer months, so some owners choose to give their Japanese Spitz a haircut during this time. Here are some popular Japanese Spitz grooming styles:
- Puppy Cut: In this style, a Japanese Spitz is shaved to 1.5-2 inches all over; some choose to leave the head hair, mane, and tail plume a bit fuller. This cut can be done at home with instruction from a groomer.
- Lion Cut: The Spitz has most of its body hair, legs, and tail shaved close, with only a "pom-pom" furball left on the tail end; the head, neck, and chest remain at full length, giving the dog a "lion-like" overall appearance. Probably best done by a professional groomer.
- Teddy Bear Cut: Similar to a Puppy Cut, this style sees the body hair cut relatively short (2-4 inches); the hair on the head, neck, tail, and legs are left a bit longer, and carefully sculpted and rounded. The overall look makes the dog resemble a teddy bear. Can be done at home with a groomer's instruction.