CHAPTER XLIII. THE POMERANIAN
Long before the Pomeranian dog was common in Great Britain, this breed was to be met with in many parts of Europe, especially in Germany; and he was known under different names, according to his size and the locality in which he flourished. The title of Pomeranian is not admitted by the Germans at all, who claim this as one of their national breeds, and give it the general name of the German Spitz.
At Athens, in the Street of Tombs, there is a representation of a little Spitz leaping up to the daughter of a family as she is taking leave of them, which bears the date equivalent to 56 B.C., and in the British Museum there is an ancient bronze jar of Greek workmanship, upon which is engraved a group of winged horses at whose feet there is a small dog of undoubted Pomeranian type. The date is the second century, B.C.
It is now generally accepted that, wherever our Pomeranian originated, he is a Northern or Arctic breed. Evidence goes to show that his native land in prehistoric times was the land of the Samoyedes, in the north of Siberia, along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. The Samoyede dog is being gradually introduced into England, and good specimens can be frequently seen at the principal shows. The similarity between our large white Pomeranian and the Samoyede is too great to be accidental. And we are drawn to the conclusion that in prehistoric times a migration of the Samoyedes was made from their native land into Pomerania, the most eastern province of Prussia bordering on the Baltic Sea, and that these people took with them their dogs, which were the progenitors of the present race of Pomeranian or Spitz.
But in any case the Pomeranian dog, so called, has been a native of various parts of Europe from very early times. His advent into England has been of comparatively recent date, at least in any great numbers, so far as can be ascertained, since no ancient records exist on this question. Gainsborough, however, painted the famous actress, Mrs. Robinson, with a large white Pomeranian sitting by her side.
In Rees' Encyclopedia, published in 1816, a good picture of a white Pomeranian is given with a fairly truthful description. In this work he is said to be “larger than the common sheep dog.” Rees gives his name as Canis Pomeranius, from Linnaeus, and Chien Loup, from Buffon. From these examples, therefore, we may infer that the large Pomeranian, or Wolf Spitz, was already known in England towards the end of the eighteenth century at least. There are, however, no systematic registers of Pomeranians prior to the year 1870.
Even ten years later than this last date, so little was the breed appreciated that a well-known writer on dogs began an article on the Pomeranian with the words “The Pomeranian is admittedly one of the least interesting dogs in existence, and consequently his supporters are few and far between.”
The founders of the Kennel Club held their first dog show in 1870, and in that year only three Pomeranians were exhibited. For the next twenty years little or no permanent increase occurred in the numbers of Pomeranians entered at the chief dog show in England. The largest entry took place in 1881, when there were fifteen; but in 1890 there was not a single Pomeranian shown. From this time, however, the numbers rapidly increased. Commencing in 1891 with fourteen, increasing in 1901 to sixty, it culminated in 1905 with the record number of one hundred and twenty-five. Such a rapid advance between the years 1890 and 1905 is unprecedented in the history of dog shows, although it is right to add that this extraordinarily rapid rise into popularity has since been equalled in the case of the now fashionable Pekinese.
This tendency to advancement in public favour was contemporaneous with the formation of the Pomeranian Club of England, which was founded in 1891, and through its fostering care the Pomeranian has reached a height of popularity far in advance of that attained by any other breed of toy dog. One of the first acts of the club was to draw up a standard of points as follows:—
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