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Everything You Need to Know About Owning and Caring for a Japanese Spitz in Singapore

The Japanese Spitz, also known as the ‘cloud dog’ is a beautiful dog with a luxurious pure white coat and fun personality. True to its name, it resembles a walking cloud and also bears a strong resemblance to the larger Samoyed

If you’re looking to own this loveable dog, find out more about their traits, personality and tips to care for them below!


We’d like to extend our thanks to the following contributors for their valuable insights:

  • Dr. Claudine Sievert (DVM) from CatPet,
  • Dr. Michelle Burch (DVM) from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance,
  • Tammi Avallone, the Managing Editor of Five Barks and
  • Sherry Morgan, the Founder of Petsolino.

  • *Disclaimer: All content published in this article is for general knowledge. It should not be deemed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Please consult a vet for an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s health condition.

    Infographic about Japanese Spitz

    Key Physical Traits

    Weight
  • Male: 8kg
  • Female: 6 - 8kg
  • Height
  • Male: 35 - 38cm
  • Female: 30 - 35cm
  • Life expectancy10 - 16 years
    CoatWhite

    Common Personality Traits

    Smiling Japanese Spitz

      Family-oriented

    With their affectionate nature, Japanese Spitz dogs are family-friendly and great with children. They’ll also get along well with other dogs in the household.

      Active

    The Japanese Spitz is a very active dog and enjoys exercising and activities. You’ll never get bored of their antics as they’re always interesting and fun to be around!

      Loyal

    The Japanese Spitz is both a lovable companion and a fierce watchdog that’s wholly dedicated to their owners. Sherry (Founder of Petsolino) states that they’re known to bark to alert their owners of potential intruders.

    Caring For A Japanese Spitz In Singapore

    Happy Japanese Spitz sitting down

    Residing in a HDB

    Japanese Spitz dogs are permitted to be kept in HDB flats! They love remaining close to their owners which makes them great apartment dogs. 

    Grooming for a Japanese Spitz

    Japanese Spitz dogs have an abundant and thick double coat.

    Undercoat: Thick and silky
    Outer coat: Long and straight

    Dr. Burch (DVM) states that while their gorgeous and fluffy white coat may look like a chore to maintain, it actually requires moderate grooming.

    You can maintain their coat with a good brush once or twice a week. During their shedding season, they’ll shed their undercoats completely. This occurs once a year for males and twice a year for females. During this time, you’ll have to give your Japanese Spitz a daily brush to remove dead and tangled hair.

    Interestingly, their white coats are naturally dirt-repellent so they don’t require frequent baths. Bathing too much can destroy the natural oils in their coats and cause potential skin irritation.


    Grooming tip!
    Use an oatmeal dog shampoo when giving your Japanese Spitz its occasional bath to prevent dry skin. You should aim to bathe them no more than once a month or only when necessary.

    Brush them before giving them a bath as the fur might end up everywhere if they’re in the process of shedding.

    You can also take your dog for professional grooming to get a good wash and grooming done!

    Similar to other double coated breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs, Japanese Spitz’s fur should never be shaved off as it’ll expose their skin to sun damage and prevent proper insulation.

    Exercise for a Japanese Spitz

    Japanese Spitz dogs tend to be more energetic than most small to medium-sized dogs. Tammi (Managing Editor of Five Barks) mentioned that exercise helps to alleviate boredom, which may prevent aggressive tendencies. 

    To keep them active and stimulated, they need at least 45 minutes of exercise a day. Apart from exercises like walking and hiking, you can include fun activities such as agility sports and trick training. However, this little dog isn’t very fond of swimming

    Bringing them to the dog park for a fun weekend of socialising is another good alternative!

    Diet For A Japanese Spitz

    The Japanese Spitz is very active and playful.

    To keep up with their high energy and metabolism, they need to be fed a diet that has 8% more protein and 20% more fat than a dog of the same size.

    A healthy, balanced diet for them should include:

    • protein (at least 26%), 
    • fat (at least 25%), and
    • carbohydrates.

    It’s important to feed your dog according to their age, weight, unique dietary needs and activity levels. Consult your vet’s advice if you’re unsure.

    How To Train A Japanese Spitz

    Happy Japanese Spitz sitting on a rock with a leash

    Japanese Spitz dogs are intelligent and eager to please their owners, making them adaptable to training. Besides obedience training, they can also be trained for dog sports such as Flyball.

    If you want a well-behaved Japanese Spitz that’s not aggressive to strangers and other animals, it’s advised to start training them as a puppy.

      Be consistent

    Maintaining consistency in training your Japanese Spitz will help it learn and remember commands better. Training also helps to mitigate boredom.

     Positive reinforcement

    These dogs are especially sensitive to harsh treatment and can become timid easily. Instead of yelling, use a firm but positive tone and give praises whenever they display good behaviour.

     Have fun training sessions

    Due to their playful and active nature, it’s important to make dog training fun for them. You can incorporate creative activities and make use of dog toys and dog treats.

    Common Health Issues

    Sad Japanese Spitz lying down

    The good news is that the Japanese Spitz is a hardy breed that generally has good health and hardly any genetic-based issues. While they have a lengthy lifespan of 10 – 16 years, it’s still important to watch out for their health.

    Patellar luxation

    One of the main health concerns that the Japanese Spitz faces is patellar luxation, which is a condition where the dog’s kneecap dislocates.

      Symptoms:

    • Constant limping
    • Refusal to exercise 
    • Weak legs

      Treatment:

    • Surgery
    • Medication
    • Weight management 

    Osteoarthritis

    Patellar luxation in Japanese Spitz dogs may also lead to the broader issue of osteoarthritis. Age and activity can result in the joint cartilages wearing down, resulting in pain and reduced mobility.

      Symptoms:

    • Stiffness or difficulty getting up
    • Lethargy
    • Difficulty in posturing to urinate or defecate

      Treatment:

    Runny eyes and tear stains

    According to Dr. Sievert (DVM), this breed is very prone to runny eyes, which will lead to tear stains. This is commonly attributed to their small tear ducts, which cannot keep up with excess fluid drainage. The tears contain a bacteria which stains the fur under the eyes.

    Excess tearing could also be due to allergies or stress, and can potentially lead to eye infections if not treated.

      Symptoms:

    • Reddish or dark brown tear stains under eyes
    • Odour
    • Discharge

      Treatment:

    • Medication
    • Warm water soaks
    • Refined coconut oil for under eye area

    Apart from abnormal tear ducts, tear stains can also indicate more serious eye issues such as conjunctivitis, uveitis, glaucoma and foreign objects. Bring your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect any underlying conditions.

    Dry skin

    The coat and the skin of the Japanese Spitz is slightly drier compared to other breeds, which is why they should only be bathed when required. Dry skin may also arise from allergic food reactions.

      Symptoms:

    • Flaky skin
    • Excessive scratching, licking or biting
    • Rashes or hot spots

      Treatment:

    Price Of Owning A Japanese Spitz In Singapore

    Japanese Spitz resting on grass

    One-Off Costs

      Licensing

    According to the rules of Animals and Birds (Dog Licensing and Control), all dogs must be licenced. This will help with tracing in the event of an outbreak of animal-related diseases. 

    The total cost will depend on the license that you’re applying for and the number of dogs you have.

    You can apply for a new dog license via the Pet Animal Licensing System (PALS).

      Sterilisation

    Sterilising your dog can stop the development of complicated health problems that are both difficult or expensive to treat. The procedure will cost around $150 – $500. In comparison to male dogs, female dogs will be more expensive to sterilise.

      Microchipping

    A microchip provides valuable information to help you to locate your pet if they get stolen or lost. The procedure will cost around $50 – $90.

    Recurring Costs

    • Food: $120+ per month
    • Vaccinations: $30 – $60 per vaccine
    • Grooming: $50+ per session
    • Medical and dental: $50+ per consultation

    Apart from these, other additional costs may include things such as pet insurance and dog accessories.


    If you recently got a Japanese Spitz puppy, Pet Lovers Centre is giving you both a gift for your new adventure together! All you have to do is sign up for our Puppy Bonus Plan* here and you get to take a free Puppy Pack (worth up to $85) home!

    Pet Lovers Centre Puppy Bonus Plan

    The Puppy Pack is inclusive of:
    • puppy dry food of your choice,
    • puppy shampoo and
    • a 1-year VIP Card membership for new members!

    *Do note that your puppy must be younger than 12 months of age.

    Fun Facts About Japanese Spitz

    Japanese Spitz running through a garden

    The Japanese Spitz descended from German dogs

    Developed during the 1920s in Japan, the breed is considered relatively new. The first Japanese Spitz dogs descended from white German Spitz dogs that were brought to Japan from China.

    Throughout the years, more white Spitz dogs were brought over and crossbred to produce the Japanese Spitz we see today!

    They only come in pure white coats

    While many of the Spitz breeds come in different shades, the Japanese Spitz only comes in pure white. If you see a Japanese Spitz with another coat colour, it’s not purebred.

    They can adapt to any environment

    Despite being a snow white dog, the Japanese Spitz is able to adapt to both cold and hot temperatures. Their white coat acts as an insulator to heat and cold, so it’s important to not shave it off.

    While they’re adaptable to hot and humid weather conditions like Singapore, they must still be kept hydrated to stay healthy.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Japanese Spitz taking a rest

    Do Japanese Spitz shed a lot?

    A Japanese Spitz doesn’t shed all the time but its undercoat will completely shed out twice a year.

    To cope with this, you should brush your dog twice a week and everyday during the shedding season to maintain shedding.

    Do Japanese Spitz bark a lot?

    Compared to other dogs, they tend to bark more frequently. They possess an unexpectedly loud bark and it often happens while playing or to alert their owners of incoming strangers.

    You can train your Japanese Spitz to not excessively bark by getting them used to being around other people and dogs.

    Do Japanese Spitz get along well with cats?

    The Japanese Spitz is reasonably cat-friendly. Their fun nature allows them to get along with cats, especially if they were raised together.

    They’ll often chase cats to play and rarely out of aggression. But it’s important to note that Japanese Spitz dogs can get dominant over cats or other animals in the household.

    Do Japanese Spitz smell?

    The Japanese Spitz dog doesn’t really possess a doggy odour. Despite their beautiful white coats, they have fairly low grooming requirements.

    They rarely require baths as their fur is capable of repelling dirt and debris. However, it’s still important to not neglect their grooming needs.

    Can Japanese Spitz be left alone?

    While they make great apartment dogs, it’s not recommended to leave a Japanese Spitz alone at home all the time as they may develop anxiety.

    You shouldn’t leave them alone for more than 8 – 12 hours.

    Owning A Japanese Spitz In Singapore

    It’s important to carefully consider before you decide to get a Japanese Spitz or any other dog breeds as taking care of a pet is a lifelong commitment.

    Ensure that you conduct comprehensive research on caring for them and make sure you’re absolutely ready to welcome your new dog into your home!

    Article by:
    Andrea
    Contributors:
    There's nothing Andrea loves more than dancing and playing the Sims 4. She is highly intrigued by astrology and enjoys fantasy novels of any sort. You can often find her obsessing over adorable animal videos.
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