Dog Training Smartest Dogs

Are Pomeranians Smart? Here’s Why These Spitz Dogs Are Highly Intelligent

Written by Richard Jeng

Pomeranians are bold, spirited and lively. They have a curious personality and a family-friendly temperament. Not only are they great companions for adults, but also perfect playmates for children. But, are Pomeranians smart? And, how smart are they actually?

Yes, Pomeranians are extremely smart dogs! According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, Pomeranians are classified as “bright dogs.” Furthermore, they’re ranked the 28th smartest dog breed out of 138 qualifying breeds. They excel at obedience, instinctive and adaptive intelligence.

Owners will agree that Pomeranians are some of the smartest dogs. We’ll examine how we measure these dog’s intelligence and reasons why Pomeranians are so smart.

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How We Measure a Pomeranian’s Intelligence

The Pomeranian is smart, but how did we measure how intelligent they actually are?

As mentioned, Pomeranians are “bright dogs.” But how did we come to this conclusion? Stanley Coren, a pHD and canine psychologist from the University of British Columbia, is responsible for our current list of the smartest dogs.

Coren requested the help of 199 obedience trials judges from the American and Canadian Kennel Club to participate in his research. Based on Coren’s criteria, each judge assessed and ranked individual dog breeds.

Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria:

  1. The number of repetitions it took for a dog breed to learn a brand new command. The less repetitions, the higher they scored.
  2. The success rate of a dog breed obeying a known command on the first attempt. A higher success rate is associated with greater dog intelligence.

Stanley Coren received a ton of responses, however, not all breeds made his ranking list. To minimize outliers and flukes, only dog breeds with at least 100 assessments were qualified.

How Pomeranians Performed

Is it really a surprise that Pomeranians scored extremely well? In fact, they’re in the second smartest dog category, aptly named the “bright dogs” category.

What this meant was, Pomeranians were able to learn a new command with just 5 to 15 repetitions. You would probably be able to teach a Pom a new trick in just a few minutes!

On the other hand, Pomeranians are able to obey a known command on the first attempt with an 85% (or better) success rate. Truly impressive and obedient dogs.

Just for reference, other popular dog breeds in the Pom’s intelligence class includes, both Corgi breeds, the Bernese Mountain Dog, Cocker Spaniel and Weimaraner.

Pomeranians vs. “Average” Dogs

Pomeranians are two classes above the “average dog” intelligence class. So just how much smarter are Pomeranians than your average dog breed?

The average dog is able to learn a brand new command with just 25 to 40 repetitions. This means that Pomeranians are at least twice as fast at learning new commands than your average dog.

On the other hand, the average dog will obey a known command on the first try with a 50% (or better) success rate. Though this doesn’t seem bad, Pomeranians are 70% more obedient and “reliable.”

Just so you have an idea, some of the most popular dog breeds have average intelligence. These breeds include, the Australian Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Great Dane, Dachshund, Shiba Inu and Boxer.

Owners: Is Your Pomeranian Intelligent?

We asked real owners if they thought their Pomeranians were smart and why?

To get a good idea of how smart Pomeranians are, we decided to ask real owners this question. We surveyed the popular Pomeranian sub Reddit for answers to this question. Here’s what these Pom owners had to say:

1. Aquahearts says [YES]: “My little fluff is aptly named victor von doom…and he’s very smart! we are teaching him various commands and training him and he picks up on things very quickly.”

2. Allisonrages says [YES]: “Killa (Pomeranian) is intelligent, loving, happy, center of attention, playful, and very outspoken. The dog loves to demand for things and she will guide you to what she wants.”

3. Chinahandy says [YES]: “I love my Pom, but I’m at my wit’s end. She is smart. She knows what to do, but it feels like she is just being defiant.”

4. Somerfield says [NO]: “I’ve tried teaching him to lie down, but he just doesn’t get it. Is this normal for Pomeranians or is my baby a little dumb haha?”

5. Ghostyflyby says [YES]: “I got my pom when he was 5 months old. It’s taken 4 months for him to be fully trained. He’s completely house broken, he lets us know if he has to go potty now by sitting at the end of the hallway and waiting for us.”

6. Antigeist says [YES]: “This is my little sausage [Pomeranian] Charley. He’s 9 weeks old and a super lovely, smart baby.”

7. Luie04 says [YES]: “One of my poms was so smart, it was frustrating. Literally had me chanting, “be smarter than the dog….” Silver lining? My second pom didn’t need training, the first one trained her.”

8. Alliaaaa says [YES]: “My Pomeranian, Elliot, is currently 7 months old. He’s extremely extroverted, inquisitive, alert, intelligent, very playful & active, and 100% dedicated to me.”

9. Crimsonfury73 says [YES]: “Our pom is very smart, too! I think Pomeranians are actually smarter than a lot of the supposedly smarter breeds (we also have a collie and a papillon), it’s just that poms are a little stubborn and don’t have very good focus.”

10. Vadervixen says [YES]: “We have another Pom and an Aussie. Penny has learned “sit” ” lay” and “dance” in a week…and is crushing potty training.”

Pomeranian Owner Survey Recap

Based on answers from just 10 real Pom owners, nearly all of them believed that their dog was smart! In fact, 9 out of the 10 owners said Pomeranians are intelligent dogs.

On the other hand, just one owner believed that her Pom wasn’t intelligent. Though we have 90% answering “yes,” keep in mind this is a very small sample size.

What Makes Pomeranians Smart

Pomeranians are smart because they have high instinctive and adaptive intelligence.

Pomeranians rank among the best for obedience / working intelligence, which is what Stanley Coren tested in his trials. But aside from obedience, what actually makes the Pomeranian highly intelligent dogs?

Problem Solving Poms

According to Reader’s Digest, smarter dogs are far better at problem solving. Highly intelligent dogs are so good at it that they actually enjoy dog puzzles. Not only do puzzles keep them busy, but it helps stimulate their minds.

It’s been well documented that Pomeranians absolutely love puzzles. They can’t get enough of it. One owner says her Pom solves his puzzles way too quickly:I bought him a small kong, that I was putting treats in to occupy his attention, but he gets the treats out very quickly. I want to look into some other puzzle toys for him for some more mental stimulation.

One of the best way to test this theory out is to get your Pomeranian some puzzles. You’ll keep them occupied while providing necessary mental stimulation. Win-win!

My hands-down absolute favorite dog puzzle is the Outward Hound Hide and Seek Interactive Puzzle Toy.

I decided to get the one with squirrels because I thought it was adorable. They’re plush squeak toys that you hide within the “tree trunk” and hope your Pom figures out how to get them out. Dogs love this, including my Aussie and Corgi.Another favorite dog puzzle of mine is the Nina Ottosson Outward Hound Dog Puzzle. Hide treats in the puzzle with two ways to unlock them. Your Pom will love this! It’s probably the best way to keep a food-driven Pom busy.

Pom’s Instinctive Intelligence

Instinctive intelligence is another way of measuring dog IQ and refers to the skill or purpose a dog breed was bred for. For example, Australian Shepherds were bred to be herding dogs. The innate ability to round up livestock, guide them together and towards a specific location requires instinctive intelligence.

Pomeranians were originally bred to be sled dogs. However, they were used as sled dogs in the 16th century. Today, they’re much smaller and bred to be companions and family dogs.

Though their sledding instincts aren’t as apparent anymore, they are some of the best family dogs. With that said, their ability to communicate, show affection and assess situations make them instinctive intelligent dogs.

Pomeranian’s Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence is the final component of dog IQ. It refers to how the dog is able to learn for itself through interactions and events. In other words, does the dog learn from previous mistakes and encounters? Can they solve problems on their own?

Based on what we know about Pomeranians and their unusual interest in dog puzzles, we can assume that they have fairly high adaptive intelligence.

One owner explains how adopting a Pomeranian went, saying “She had some anxiety and aggression issues at first, but she’s doing so much better a year later, she’s a very adaptable dog. Poms are great in any environment, they adapt pretty well I think.”

Smart, Affectionate Poms

Now that we know Pomeranians excel in the three areas of dog intelligence (obedience, instinctive and adaptive), there’s no doubt they’re smart dogs. But, should you get a Pomeranian?

When deciding which dog breed to bring home, you should never make the decision based on how “intelligent” they are. Instead of asking how smart a Pomeranian is, ask: does a Pomeranian’s personality and temperament fit mine? Are they suited for my lifestyle?

These dogs are very playful and have need to live an active lifestyle. However, they make great pets for elders or busy owners because they’re not overly dependent.

And despite their small size, Poms can make fantastic watch dogs. They’re always alert and attentive, and won’t hesitate to bark at intruders. At the least, they’ll let you know of any unwanted guests.

If you still think Pomeranians are right for you, I’d highly suggest raising one. They may be small but they’re brimming with energy and positive fun!

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd.

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