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Pomeranian (pŏmˌərāˈnēən) [key], breed of small, sturdy toy dog descended from the sledge dogs of Iceland and Lapland. It stands about 6 in. (15.3 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 3 to 7 lb (1.4–3.2 kg). Its double coat consists of a short, fluffy underlayer and an abundant, long, straight topcoat that forms a ruff of stand-off hair on the neck and a fringe of feathery hair on the hindquarters. Many colors are acceptable, e.g., red, cream, black, brown, sable, blue, white, and parti-color. The immediate ancestor of the Pomeranian was a heavier dog, sometimes weighing as much as 30 lb (13.6 kg). It was used in Europe as a sheepherder and became popular in England when a small specimen was brought from Italy by Queen Victoria in the late 19th cent. Today it is raised as a pet and watchdog. See dog.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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