German Spitz has a profuse double coat. In fact, it is the fur that gives this breed its distinct appearance. Male dogs especially have a beautiful collar around their necks, and they all have a bushy tail curled over their backs.
But what if something goes wrong and the coat is no longer what it should be? What is normal for a German Spitz and what is not?
In most cases, German Spitzes go through a shedding phase twice a year. This is normal and it is nothing to worry about. The fur will grow back. There are, however, certain diseases that can alternate the quality of the hairs, for example, thyroid issues and alopecia.
Let’s dive into this topic and see what is normal for your German Spitz and when would be the time to visit a veterinary clinic.
Norman shedding of a German Spitz
As I said, it is normal for a German Spitz to shed approximately twice a year. Females usually shed two times per year, most of the time somewhat matching with their heat cycle. Some of the male dogs shed only once a year, others may shed twice, but it doesn’t happen regularly.
In fact, you can never really predict for sure when your dog is going to start shedding, but I could give you a tip: as soon as you start thinking of taking your German Spitz to a dog show, it is probable that he will start shedding sometime before the show. It is Murphy’s law.
Just kidding, of course.
Shedding doesn’t always happen in the same way, either. Sometimes your German Spitz might shed all of the inner coat, while at other times the shedding suddenly stops before it’s really even begun.
The most thorough shedding will take place when the dog becomes a 1-year-old. That is when their whole appearance changes. They will lose their beautiful coat completely and what’s left is a tiny looking German Spitz with just a couple of hairs to keep him warm.
This is when some of the new German Spitz owners begin to worry that there is something wrong with their dog, but let me assure you that this is all normal. Even though there are dog hairs all over the place, the fur will grow back in a few months. What’s left after the transformation is an adult looking German Spitz that is more handsome/beautiful than ever.
The same type of thorough shedding will take place after a bitch has given birth to puppies and has fed them for the following weeks. This takes so much of the doggy mom’s energy that she will end up shedding nearly all of her hair.
Normal hair growth of a German Spitz
When a German Spitz goes through a shedding phase, it will take approximately a couple of months for them to grow the fur back to what it was. However, this varies between individuals. Some dogs will grow it back much faster: almost within a month (my first German Spitz was this way), while with others, it will take some time longer, 2 – 3 months. It will grow back, though. Even though it may look bad while the dog is shedding, it is what dogs with double coats do. They need to shed in order to grow the fur back. You could think of it like a tree shedding its leaves.
After the shedding phase is over – you will notice that you can no longer remove so many hairs while brushing – then I suggest you give your dog a bath.
You might want to read the two articles that I have written about this topic:
When will a German Spitz puppy grow full fur?
A German Spitz puppy will first grow his body and the coat will come long after. This is why your German Spitz puppy will look rather sad at some point with long legs and nearly a fully grown body but very little fur. Do not worry: this is how it goes with a German Spitz puppy. Your puppy is doing just fine even if he doesn’t look as gorgeous as your friend’s Spitz.
At around 9 months of age, most puppies will have grown a full coat. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the joy of having a double coat will not last for long, because in just a few months the puppy will then start to shed. He will in fact shed and shed, in a way that most of his hairs will fall off. And then, and only then, will the German Spitz puppy start to grow a full adult double coat. At around 18 months he should be looking like an adult German Spitz with the most beautiful fur around his body.
But not all of them.
I have two examples of different hair growths with German Spitz puppies. My first German Spitz Mittel always had a beautiful coat. Since very early on he looked more like a mature German Spitz. However, my second German Spitz Mittel was a different kind.
This dog never had good fur. Even after he supposedly grew his hair at around 1.5 years of age the double coat of his never looked very good. I took him to dog shows and I always got bad feedback because of it. I thought it was genetics and I would simply have to accept the fact that he wouldn’t have good fur.
Would you believe that it took him 5 years to fully grow as an adult German Spitz Mittel with full fur? It did! I wouldn’t have guessed back then how amazingly handsome he would become, but he did! The fur that he has now is simply stunning. That’s the first thing that veterinarians notice, too: how thick it is but not only that: it is shiny and healthy, too!
I learned that all dogs are different, even representatives of the same breed. The dogs do not mature at the same pace and sometimes it takes longer for them to have full fur. But is there anything you can do to help this process?
What can you do to help the fur to grow?
Genetics do play a big part in this and honestly, there is very little you can do to help your dog to grow the fur faster. If you take a look at the parents of your pup, you will have a good idea of what to expect with yours.
There are certain things that you can try, though, and feeding food of good quality is certainly one that I recommend. I have added oil to my dogs’ diets and experts do recommend it as well. For the fur to grow faster and more beautiful looking it will need Omega fatty acids, and good oil that is designed specifically for dogs is an excellent source.
Other vitamins and minerals are important, too, but I do not recommend giving any extra vitamins on your own without consulting your veterinarian first. Usually, dry food of high quality will give your dog everything he needs.
Brushing may help, too. First, it will help to keep the double coat in a good condition without any matting (which doesn’t happen with German Spitzes very often anyway), but brushing will also stimulate hair growth, they say. Whether there is any scientific evidence for this, I don’t know, but at least it will remove dirt and dead hairs, so your dog’s fur will certainly look and feel better.
Diseases that can cause hair loss for a German Spitz
Shedding is one thing. It is totally normal and it will never make your dog look bald, just a little bit thinner looking. There are, however, certain diseases that will cause hair loss and you should probably be aware of these. I won’t go into detail, because if your dog is experiencing severe hair loss your dog will need medical help and I am not able to help you. If you notice any abnormal hair loss, then it is time for a trip to the veterinary clinic.
Diseases that cause hair loss with dogs are, among others:
- Thyroid issues
- Inadequate nutrition
- Cushing’s disease
I will quickly mention alopecia because it is most common with Pomeranians that is the smallest size variant of the German Spitz dogs. If your German Spitz Klein or Mittel has Pomeranian dogs in the pedigree somewhere in history, there is a greater risk for this disease.
It is more commonly called Black Skin Disease because the skin of the dog will turn black as the dog loses its hairs and the skin is exposed to air. It will drastically change the appearance of the dog but fortunately, it does not cause pain. It doesn’t itch like so many other skin diseases do. A dog with Black Skin Disease will need special care but he can live a perfectly happy life.
If you have a Pomeranian or a bigger German Spitz and your dog starts experiencing abnormal hair loss, there is a chance that it is caused by this particular disease. Especially if your dog is around 1.5 – 4 years old, you might want to remember this disease and then talk to your vet about it.
The double coat of the German Spitz looks stunning, but it is surprisingly easy to groom. There are certain aspects of it that you need to be aware of, though. For example, the beauty often comes from within, and having a well-balanced diet will do wonders for your dog’s fur.
In most cases, if your dog starts shedding there is nothing to worry about because it is simply a normal phase in the life of your German Spitz. But not always. There are certain diseases you need to be aware of because they can cause the fur to start falling off in an abnormal manner.
In time you will learn to see what is normal and what isn’t. If you have any doubts you can always talk to your vet to make sure that everything is indeed okay with your dog. It is always better to be safe than sorry.