Japanese Spitz Pros And Cons

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Updated on 5 December 2022

The Japanese Spitz is a loyal, playful and smart dog breed.

Japanese Spitz

Breed name: Japanese Spitz
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Height: 12 inches to 15 inches
Weight: 10 to 25 lbs

These Spitz dogs have fox-like features, including a black nose, black eye rims and pointed, triangular ears and a tail that curls over onto their back.

The Japanese Spitz is considered a companion breed who will enjoy spending time with their family, whether it’s making them laugh or learning new commands.

They’re thought to be descendants of the German Spitz that were brought to Japan in the 1920s, while Keeshonds that arrived from Canada are also credited with playing a role in the Japanese Spitz’s development.

The first Japanese Spitz breed standard was created by the Japan Kennel Club in 1948 but it’s worth pointing out that the American Kennel Club don’t recognise the breed due to its similarity with the American Eskimo Dog.

Japanese Spitz (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Japanese Spitz (Photo: Adobe Stock)

In this article, we’re going to take a look at Japanese Spitz Pros and Cons, learning more about the good stuff and the bad stuff where the Japanese Spitz breed is concerned.

We’ll hear from Toffi (@toffi.thespitz) to get a greater understanding about the Japanese Spitz breed.

Japanese Spitz Pros

Dirt-repellent coat

You’d be forgiven for thinking the Japanese Spitz as a coat that will require a lot of maintenance. With a striking white coat, it looks like an invitation for dirt and mud. But the Japanese Spitz has a coat that usually repels most dirt and debris. So you don’t need to fret if your Japanese Spitz finds a puddle to make a splash in or decide to roll around in mud at the dog park. Of course, Japanese Spitz will still require regular brushing and grooming to maintain their thick coats.

Yi Xin and Willam shared the moment they realised Toffi (@toffi.thespitz) had a dirt-repellant coat.

I believe dogs with white shiny coat often attract people attention but when it comes to getting a dog, most would choose not to get a white dog as they require special care to keep their coat clean. Surprisingly, this does not apply to Japanese Spitz dogs as their coats are dirt-repellent! Once I brought Toffi to a lakeside and she gave me a heart attack by playing in the mud. Her paws were covered in mud and it was a disaster. However, after a long walk, I found that her paws turned pearl white again. That’s when I discovered that her white coat is naturally dirt repellent.

Low Maintenance

Continuing on from our previous Japanese Spitz plus point, they don’t require a lot of baths. Again, you may be surprised to find this out seeing as they’ve got a bright, white coat that you’d assume requires a lot of work to maintain its impressive appearance. The American Kennel Club described the Japanese Spitz as low maintenance and requiring infrequent baths only when they get into “something messy”.

Toffi’s owner Yi Xin and Willam (@toffi.thespitz) explained that over-bathing your Japanese Spitz could destroy the natural oils in their skin.

Japanese Spitz doesn’t require frequent baths. They don’t really produce doggy odor and this is one of our favourite things about Toffi. We usually bathe Toffi every two months if she doesn’t get too dirty with outdoor activities. We might destroy the natural oil on Japanese Spitz’s skins if we wash them too much, hence causes skin irritation. Even though she has long hair, Japanese Spitz dogs only need basic grooming. We should never cut or shave their coats as it would destroy their undercoats. Save money!


Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

Like a lot of Spitz breeds, the Japanese Spitz is a smart dog that is highly trainable. The American Kennel Club point out that these Japanese dogs are eager to please their owners, which is a personality trait that can be harnessed to an owner’s advantage during training sessions. The Japenese Spitz is a companion breed so they crave the company of their owners, allowing you to develop a bond and understanding.

Yi Xin and Willam shared just how intelligent Toffi (@toffi.thespitz) is – but warned it can also be a con.

Japanese Spitz dogs are fast learners. They are very intelligent and they enjoy learning new tricks. It only took Toffi one day to master the command ‘sit’ and two weeks to get fully potty trained. We’re first-time dog owners so her cleverness really helps. When she was 3 month old, I bought her her very first puppy puzzle toy and it was easy-peasy for her. It took her only few minutes to solve. We then decided to buy her the highest level puzzle toy (Level 4) to at least keep her occupied for a while. And yes, she has mastered the puzzle now.

Note: Being intelligent is also a con as they can outsmart you. They can learn to become fussy if they are given treats! Also, they will often test and see what they can get away with.

Outdoors Companion

Japanese Spitz (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Japanese Spitz (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Japanese Spitz is a versatile dog that will relish the chance to embrace a variety of different activities. For example, they’ll be happy living in the countryside where they’ve got a lot of space and different terrains to roam. Alternatively, they can thrive in city life and residing in an apartment provided they get sufficient exercise. As a companion dog breed, Japanese Spitz want to spend time with their owners whatever the activity.

Yi Xin and Willam revealed that Toffi (@toffi.thespitz) is an excellent swimmer.

Japanese Spitz dogs are natural swimmers! They love water and they can swim very well. I remembered taking Toffi to her very first swim. She slowly put her into the pool and there she started pedaling. Japanese Spitz love hiking too. They are active and playful so they love being outdoors! They have high energy so don’t worry about them not wanting to walk.

Beautiful appearance

Aesthetically speaking, Japanese Spitz are beautiful dogs. If you decide to get a member of the striking breed, you should be prepared for lots of attention and plenty of questions from admirers.

Yi Xin and Willam shared their experience with owning Toffi (@toffi.thespitz).

White fluffy dogs are always people’s dream dogs and we can’t deny that Japanese Spitz is a natural beauty with thick, pure white coats! Encountering a Japanese Spitz is just like starring at a beautiful winter land. They also have beautiful bright smile which can melt your heart. Also their arctic fox-like features are very uncommon.

Japanese Spitz Cons

Patella Luxation

Japanese Spitz can be prone to some health problems just like any dog breed. While they have a healthy expected lifespan of 12 to 14 years, Japanese Spitz can be prone to suffering with Patella Luxation. What is Patella Luxation? Here’s the Animal Trust definition:

Patella Luxation in dogs is a condition where the patella (knee cap) slips in and out of the groove. The patella can dislocate out of this groove, and therefore prevents the knee from extending properly.

This is something you should ask your Japanese Spitz breeder about and enquire whether your dog has been tested for this condition. They should also be able to offer guidance on how to handle this health condition.

Toffi’s owner Yi Xin and Willam (@toffi.thespitz) explained why weight management is important with the Japanese Spitz breed.

Japanese Spitz is considered a very healthy breed but due to some genetic issues, some Japanese Spitz has Patella Luxation. Japanese Spitz is considered medium sized dogs but if you look closely their legs are tiny. Therefore, we owners have to look at the weight closely to prevent too much pressure on their hind legs.

Runny eyes

Japanese Spitz can suffer with runny eyes from time-to-time so this is something to be aware of. While you can get some products that help with tear stains, it can be quite challenge. In my experience owning a Spitz breed, runny eyes can be improve or worsen with the changing of the seasons or a recent alteration to their diet. However, it can be a genetically inherited problem too.

Yi Xin and Willam regularly clean Toffi’s eyes (@toffi.thespitz).

Genetic problem too. Toffi does not have this issue but we have Japanese Spitz friends with runny eyes. Runny eyes can cause tear stains, which is a very common problem among white dogs. Most Japanese Spitz puppies have tear stains and once they’ve finished teething the problem would eventually go away. I think keeping the eye areas clean play a role as we always keep Toffi’s eye areas clean with wipes.

Heavy Shedding

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

While their coat doesn’t attract or retain a lot of dirt, it does shed. They’ve got a thick double coat that has a dense under coat and coarse outer coat.

Toffi’s owner Yi Xin and Willam (@toffi.thespitz) provided an insight into the degree of shedding.

How often does Japanese Spitz shred? Lots! XD My house is always covered with white “snow” and it’s definitely not seasonal. Our black T is always covered with white fur too! Of course, daily brushing can help to reduce the shredding. Therefore, we need to spend time grooming them to keep their coat healthy. Supplements for skin and coat do help to reduce the shredding too.


Japanese Spitz (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Japanese Spitz (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Japanese Spitz aren’t a particularly common dog breed so you may find it difficult to locate a breeder if you’ve decided this is the right breed for you. The typical price of a Japanese Spitz puppy is £800 ($1000)to £1500 ($1900).

Yi Xin and Willam revealed it took them three months to find Toffi (@toffi.thespitz).

Japanese Spits dogs are rare. It took us months to find Toffi as it is not a common breed in Malaysia. Therefore, the price of getting a Japanese Spitz is high. It is even higher if you’re looking for puppies whose parents have won competitions.

Problem Barker

While the Japanese Spitz is a relatively calm dog, they can be prone to barking. Like a lot of Spitz breeds, they may not make effective guard dogs giving their size, they can be superb watch dogs. They’re alert to noises and sounds that are unfamiliar. With their pointed ears, Japanese Spitz can raise the alarm. They’re a companion breed so they can be prone to separation anxiety when left at home alone without their family members.

Toffi’s owners Yi Xin and Willam (@toffi.thespitz) encouraged dog parents to train your Japanese Spitz from a young age when it comes to separation anxiety.

Japanese Spitz dogs could become problem barkers if they are not well-trained. They are not noisy, as compared to other dogs, but for some Japanese Spitz dogs with separation anxiety they would bark excessively. This problem can be overcome if owners start training them since puppies.

Japanese Spitz FAQs

Is the Japanese Spitz a good pet?

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

My answer is 100% yes. They are active, playful and great with children! Toffi enjoys playing with children and she is attracted to children’s laugh. Also, even though they are active, they can stay indoors as long as we spend some time to play with them.

Do Japanese Spitz dogs bark a lot?

Depends. Japanese Spitz dogs can become problem barkers if not well-trained. We should start training them since puppy stages to prevent this.

Are Japanese Spitz friendly dogs?

Japanese Spitz are very friendly and they make good family dogs. However, they are not very friendly with dogs. For example, Toffi has a lot of buddies but she only chooses to play with some of them. I think they prefer human companion more than dogs.

How much does a Japanese Spitz cost?

It depends on the area. Japanese Spitz is not a common breed in Malaysia and it would take more than RM10,000 to import them. However, it only takes RM2000- RM3000 to buy from a non certified breeder in Malaysia.

Can Japanese Spitz be left alone?

Japanese Spitz can be left alone. They are considered calm and quiet. We have installed a CCTV to monitor Toffi when we are away and we found that she only sleeps when there’s no one at home. She will stay alert when she hears sound but get down again when she thinks it is not a threat. She sometimes barks when she hears unfamiliar sound. But of course, some Japanese Spitz with separation anxiety would tend to bark more if not well-trained.

Is a Japanese Spitz indoor or outdoor dog?

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

Toffi the Japanese Spitz (Photo: @toffi.thespitz / Instagram)

I think Japanese Spitz enjoy being both indoor and outdoor. As long as we spend time playing with them, they would be happy no matter where they are. They can enjoy playing toys indoors and they can accompany you for outdoor activities too. What a perfect breed.

Can you wash Japanese Spitz?

You can wash a Japanese Spitz but it would took you hours including blow-drying their double coats. However, it’s not encouraged to wash Japanese Spitz too often. As I’ve mentioned, their coats are naturally dirt-repellent. We might destroy the natural oil on their skin if we wash them too much, hence causes skin irritation/ sensitive skin.

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