German Spitz & Japanese Spitz

Grooming Advice

It’s interesting having spitz breeds myself to see the similarities between so many of them. The German Spitz and the Japanese Spitz obviously have much the same ancient origins - just different modern origins. The early modern forerunner to the German Spitz popularised in England from the 18th Century by George 1 and his German wife and descendants and the Japanese Spitz developed in Japan and shown as far back in 1921 and registered with the JKC after World War 2.

Not a lot of these adorable breeds are being shown and certainly not in the U.S.A. as they not yet recognised for showing by the AKC but we do see them in other countries and loved by so many.

Their coat needs are similar too in that they are double coated with short soft undercoat and long harsh textured outer coat.

Let’s deal with the German Spitz fi rst for grooming this coat to perfection. As he is compact and his silhouette required to be an almost square outline his coat should highlight his good substance without disguising it. His tuckup should be evident and he ought to exhibit a level topline.

Whilst the German Spitz standard does not allow trimming you can do a lot with the grooming to enhance the points made by the standard as what the judges seek as a dog of perfection without selling your soul to the devil and breaking all the rules.

As all colour varieties are acceptable and the difference between the Klein and Mittel appearing to only be in height ranges, then I shall outline for you how to achieve this almost square shape with harsh texture and abundance of coat around the neck and shoulders and frill of stand up hair extending over the shoulders.

I always say that double coated spitz breeds coats are always in a state of transition - they are either coming or going and the trick to being able to show them on a constant basis is to accelerate the process by removing all dead hair weekly and allowing the new hair to regenerate. I sigh when I see many sites on the internet telling people that the coats don’t need more than a brush each week. Wrong! If you are to show this breed and the Japanese Spitz each week, you need to have a full coat not one halfway there and the quickest and best way is to get that dead hair out and fast! No amount of brushing will remove it fully or as well as my routine I use. That is to bath, oil and blow dry. The oiling is all so important to replace the natural oils from regular bathing. For pet people this is not an issue but for you the consummate show person, you need perfection each and every week and that bath/oil/blow dry routine has to become your new mantra.

For all spitz breeds or double coated breeds you need to use different things on different areas of the coat and depending on what state the coat is in at the time. As you need to have this coat mostly standing up except for the level topline and remembering you cannot trim, then use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo on the topline for shine and use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo on those areas that need to be stand offi sh and to enhance substance on your dog. Dilute both these shampoos at 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. I recommend dilution to get even dispersion throughout the coat right through to the skin. These are all naturally sourced and yet have great outcomes. They really do what they say they will do. These are not just cosmetic fl uff over shampoos, they get right in there and add to those attributes you wish to enhance, thus highlighting that squared silhouette you are keen to achieve. So put the All Purpose on the topline area and the body Building Shampoo on the longer areas you want to stand up. Simple! You can use Plush Puppy Black Opal diluted 3:1 for the black coats but make sure you use Body Building fi rst or mix 1/2 BB Shampoo and half Black Opal for the lengths. For topline you can mix 1/2 Black Opal and 1/2 All Purpose. Leave on for 5 minutes to enhance the black coverage and rinse.

Now do not use conditioner at all. That will simply fl atten and soften the coat when in fact you require a harsh texture. Maybe if your dog is too long then you can put conditioner only on the pants to fl atten and shorten the length of body illusion. For those who don’t need to shorten the silhouette and to keep up the moisture and condition in the coat without softening and fl attening. Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 tbspn to a bucket of warm water approx 4lt/1gal and saturate the coat through to the skin using a large sponge or pour it on - whatever - just make sure you get it right through the coat for maximum effect. DO NOT RINSE OUT. LEAVE IN. This is not a greasy mix and is just perfect for every bath time and show bath time. It is just amazing and one product we all cannot live without.

For those coats that are not as abundant or in full coat enough then apply Plush Puppy Volumising Cream diluted 1 tbspn to 1 cup warm water and agitate with a fork to mix well and saturate the mix through the coat and leave in. You will not feel this in the coat and it will make each hair appear thicker.

Blow dry starting from rear through to head spreading the coat with your left hand if holding the nozzle of your dryer with the right hand. I use a turbo type cool dryer known here in Australia as an Oldfi eld. Brilliant as it blasts the water out off the coat without applying heat. Watch the dead hair fl y out! You cannot get this much out with just brushing and when you blow dry you also get to lift that root area. Always dry from the root to the ends - it is the root area that will give you lift - I often see people dry the coat but the ends are dry and the root area still damp. Spend the time to do it right and the results will reward you.

Basically your major grooming is done except for a fl uffi ng about on show day and I will go through that after I outline the shampoo procedure for the Japanese Spitz.

Shampoo to use for Jap. Spitz is Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo diluted please! at 5:1 - you need a crisp pearly white and not a purple white! Especially important if you have been using anything to lighten your Japanese Spitz coat to remove stains, such as any form of bleaching agent. I hope not! The porosity of the coat would be compromised and suck up anything you put onto that coat till it grows. I would use the Whitening Shampoo for fi rst shampoo and then use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 5:1 or mix 1/2 ad half of each of the shampoos and dilute 5:1 to save time. You must dilute for even dispersion and to get maximum effect.

Your Japanese Spitz is ever so slightly longer in body than height but not much at all so one has to keep a fairly compact shape with this one too - evidently slightly longer but not long as a train. His tail is set on high and curled over the back and ribs powerfully sprung with a good tuckup. His coat also requires fullness and lift hence my use of the Body Building Shampoo on him too.

For a clean crisp whiter than white rather than a pearly white and also to help clean up the coat without using anything harsh, do a pre shampoo with Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo diluted 50/50 and work well into the less than white areas and leave for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. Again no conditioner on this coat and do the same bath/oil/blow dry routine as outlined above for the German Spitz. Leave in Seabreeze Oil and do not rinse.

If texture is paramount and you don’t have enough with your dog, apply after drying, a light sprinkle of Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier and Harsh Coats. This will instantly coarsen the texture and keep brushing till the powder falls down into the coat leaving the harshness on the outer coat. Perfect! You don’t need much of this so better to apply lightly and apply more if necessary.

I guess the main thing to keep reinforcing to you all is to get into a habit of doing this at least once a week. Oiling these coats with Seabreeze Oil will maintain the condition and elasticity of the coat allowing you to bath as many times as you wish and certainly when we have a big show coming up we often will bath/oil/blow dry twice a week. It is a discipline. We never not do it! It is hard work but then if you want to stand out and look great against those hairdo breeds you have to present the coats to their very best and get that all important outline happening to the max.

Show day for both the German and Japanese Spitz, brush up using a dilution of Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray the concentrate version diluted 30:1 i.e. 30 parts water to one part OMG. You can dilute as much as 40:1. Brush through using Plush Puppy Pin Brush either regular pins or long pins. This is a cushion based brush and gets into the coat without ripping at it. Finish off the topline with the Plush Puppy Slicker Brush Soft.

A light spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher just to eliminate any kennel or dog trailer odours and a tiny sprinkle of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto the Pin Brush and then tapped lightly through the pants and chest area to pick up the sunlight or spotlights. If you can see this when you’re putting it on, you have used too much!

You main work has been done prior to the show and your German Spitz looks his perfect square silhouette gleaming with health and vigour to his coat. His intelligence and happy personality is a vote winner in the show ring. They love you their handler and will give you their all. You have given your all in training and grooming and the pair of you make formidable opponents.

The Japanese Spitz is a great companion watchdog and is light and nimble with a wonderfully smooth gait. You have his coat perfectly standoffi sh with his mane reaching from the neck and shoulders back to his brisket area. This little alarm dog for the elite in old Japan is fairly high spirited and lively in the ring. His boldness and alert character makes him hard to go past too. But then, hey, I really like spitz breeds!

- Cheryl Le Court