Evolution of the Pomeranian and the Poodle
It’s hard to believe, but at one time Poodles and Pomeranians were not only unpopular, but the possibility of them becoming among the most popular breeds seemed laughable. Even though both breeds had existed for centuries, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they faced incredible obstacles to achieving mainstream acceptance.
The Pomeranian As Anathema
One early, unexpected barrier to acceptance of these two breeds was anglophile resistance. Breeds that were not perceived as necessary, and especially those that weren’t of British origin, were considered to have little or no value. “The Pomeranian or Fox dog is of little value as a housedog, being noisy, artful, quarrelsome, cowardly, petulant, deceitful, snappish and dangerous to children, and in other respects without useful properties.” (Cynograpia Britannica) This judgmental attitude is better understood in light of Britain’s rush to classify breeds according to origin or function. Their canine experts had the last say worldwide, and in the estimation of the Brits the Pomeranian was definitely not a favored breed.
Much of the negativity surrounding the Pomeranian derived from the breed’s notoriety as a biter. Before the advent of rabies vaccine, dog bites fostered an almost hysterical level of fear; even a little nip could be a death sentence. “For some reason not to be explained, people took a great dislike to all pointed faced dogs, that is to say, Pomeranians, Spitz, and Eskimo dogs. Indeed, so furious were people against pointed faced dogs that owners were accosted on the street and surrounded by hostile crowds.” (This Doggie Business)
Irresponsible journalism contributed to the problem. Poms were consistently portrayed as spoiled, noisy and petulant. Hearsay and innuendo took care of the rest, both in Britain and in America. “They always had a general reputation of being snappish and very unsuitable for children to play with on that account. This reputation followed them to this country and for a year or two after 1880 there was so much talk about them as being prone to develop rabies that no entries of Pomeranians would be accepted at the New York show.” (The Dog Book)
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