“Why are they called Pomerablians?”

pomeranian dog

This afternoon, while driving home from a short trip into Brookline, we passed a woman walking a tiny four-legged creature that appeared to be more fur than dog.

The Four-Year-Old was not fooled. “What kind of dog is that, Mommyo?”

“A Pomeranian.”

The Four-Year-Old: “Why are they called Pomerablians?”

One hates to confess this sort of thing freely on the Internet, but I’m not exactly up on my dog breeds. So I had to Ask the iPhone.

Wikipedia tells me that Pomeranians are named after Pomerania, a region of Central Europe that spans eastern Germany and northern Poland. Although Pomeranians are descended from large working dogs from the Arctic, most of the breeding that turned the larger Spitz dogs into toy-sized Pom-Poms like the one we saw promenading on the Brookline sidewalk happened in Pomerania.

Although Pomeranians weigh a mere 4-7 pounds now, they weren’t always smaller than your average house cat. Apparently their small size is at least partly Queen Victoria’s fault. She adopted a small red Pomeranian in 1888, sparking a craze for the smallest Pom-Poms. Although the Queen’s dog was considered small for the time, it was a relative monster by today’s standards–weighing in at nearly 12 pounds. Thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s efforts in importing smaller Pomeranians from Europe for the royal breeding kennel, Pomeranians as a breed shrank nearly 50% by the time the Queen’s reign ended in 1901.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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