In October of 2010, at the height of her popularity, the platinum-selling pop music superstar Kesha sent out a message on the app Twitter telling her followers that she “had a new boyfriend.”
This tongue-in-cheek tweet included a link to a Facebook page featuring a tiny and ultra-cute dog named “Boo,” a shaved Pomeranian.
The page was created by the pup’s owner, a San Francisco-based Facebook employee who had created the page to show off the dog’s undisputable adorability.
This simple tweet by Kesha rapidly ignited Boo to super-stardom, resulting in millions of views and “likes” on social media, two best-selling picture books and a calendar featuring various photos of the dog.
The cuteness and appeal of Boo (who passed away in January of 2019 of heart problems) was and is undeniable, and it very predictably led to a surge in breeding and ownership of Pomeranians across the country.
And in their attempts to recreate the doll-like appearance of Boo, many of these owners began shaving or clipping their dog’s fur.
It is this pattern that many canine experts have described as “alarming,” as the practice comes with some inherent and, of course, avoidable risks.
In this article we will dig a little deeper into the subject of Pomeranians, generally, and the practice of shaving or clipping Pomeranians, specifically.
We will also outline and address some of the dangers associated with the practice of shaving—risks that pet groups and veterinarians regularly worry about.
About Pomeranians (and Shaved Pomeranians)
Known for its regal look and tiny stature, the Pomeranian is a breed of dog that belongs to the Toy Group, a group bred largely for companionship.
Despite what their size may indicate, Pomeranians are known to be descendants of sled dogs, and they originated in the Baltic regions of Iceland and Lapland, from where they were brought into the European region once known as Pomerania.
These cold-climate beginnings explain their (usually) thick, lush coats.
The Pomeranian is one of the best-loved and most widely owned breeds in the country, ranking in the Top 20 in terms of popularity.
They typically grow between 6 and 8 inches in length, and weigh anywhere from 2.5 to 8 pounds.
Due to their small size and hearty genes, they have a relatively long lifespan of between 12 and 17 years.
Their vibrant and daring personality, cute pushed-in face, and inquisitiveness makes them very easy to love, but some owners may have difficulty when it comes to training the dog, thanks mostly to its reputation as an “independent thinker.”
Their magnificent and flowing coat is usually a color that most would describe as reddish-tan or gold, but some purebred Pomeranians are also solid black in coloring.
More specific to the main subject of this article (as you will see), the Pomeranian is a “two-coat” breed of dog.
The coat closest to its skin, otherwise known as the undercoat, is comprised of short and very dense fur that is typically very smooth to the touch.
Its outer coat, on the other hand, is much longer, profuse and tends to have more of a harsh-textured feel.
The two types of coats on the Pomeranian make it very unique in that way—and it is these coats, when shaved or clipped too short, that concern dog experts.
Shaved Pomeranians: The Risks
There can be no doubt that the appearance of a shaved Pomeranian is beyond cute.
The question is, “does your dog pay a price for that cuteness?”
Well, in some cases, he absolutely might.
When Pomeranians are shaved, especially when their undercoat is shaved or damaged, there are many inherent risks.
Here we have listed just a few of those risks and what they mean for your dog.
Pomeranians Have Fur, Not Hair
To aptly explain the inherent risk that come from shaving a Pomeranian, you first need to understand two very important facts.
First off, some dogs have hair and some have fur.
Secondly, Pomeranians belong to the latter class of dogs—the ones with fur.
Moreover, while not all fur-laden dogs have two discernable coats, Pomeranians do.
The outer coat of fur tends to be very long and flowing, and it tends to eventually molt or shed once it has reached the end of its growth cycle, where it will immediately be replaced by new growth.
On the other hand, the undercoat of the Pomeranian, which experts describe as the “protective layer of fur,” grows much more slowly, if at all, and will tend to stop growing at a certain length.
The undercoat also helps to promote growth of the longer and more textured outer coat.
To better understand the difference between hair and fur, consider human beings.
On the top of our heads, we possess hair, and that hair will continue to grow at varying rates of speed until we cut it.
On our bodies, however, we have fur—like we see on our arms or legs.
If we were to shave our body hair, chances are it would eventually grow back, but it will also stop growing once it has reached a certain length.
This is why human beings do not resemble “Bigfoot.”
Moreover, as we age, our body hair (or fur) tends to grow more slowly, and sometimes it will stop growing altogether.
The same is true for our four-legged friend the Pomeranian.
Shaving a Pomeranian Can Result in Long Grow-Back Times or Permanent Non-Growth
You may think that a shaved Pomeranian can regrow its fur quickly, but this is not always true.
In fact, shaving a Pomeranian can sometimes be very risky, resulting in very long grow-back times or even permanent non-growth
Let’s say on a whim you decide to shave your Pomeranian, perhaps because you liked the picture of the “Boo” on the internet.
However, if you grow to regret this decision, perhaps because of one of the risks we have shared below, it could take a very long time for that fur to grow back—sometimes up to a year or more.
Even worse, if your dog is older, or should you damage the protective undercoat, you run the risk of having fur that never grows back at all, opening your pet up to a host of possible dangers.
When fur becomes damaged, either because of the way you clipped them or the timing of that shaving, it can cause a condition known as post-clipping alopecia—a condition in which the fur either refuses to grow or grows only in patches.
The fur of Pomeranians has two basic stages: the telogen phase, or resting phase, and the anagen phase, or growing phase.
The exact timing of these phases can vary depending on a number of factors, including the health and age of your Pomeranian pooch.
However, what experts do know is that when fur is clipped during the telogen or resting phase, it can become severely damaged, causing a situation in which the fur regrows very, very slowly or not all (post-clipping alopecia).
The risk of post-clipping alopecia does not mean your Pomeranian can (or should) never be groomed.
However, it is vital that you leave all grooming decisions to a trained pet groomer, one versed in the different growth cycles of your dog’s fur and the inherent risks of fur damage.
Shaving a Pomeranian Can Make Him Vulnerable to the Elements
We often assume that cutting our pet’s fur short in the summertime will help keep him nice and cool until the cold weather of autumn returns.
This is simply not true.
In fact, the two coats of fur that cover the Pomeranian actually help to insulate him from both the cold and the heat.
Whatever your reasons may be for shaving your Pomeranian in the summer—an attempt to make him cooler or to prevent shedding—you should definitely rethink your decision.
First, a shaved Pomeranian will still shed.
The only difference is that you now have much shorter and harder-to-handle bits of fur rather than easy-to-recognize clumps.
Second, shaving your Pomeranian will actually make him vulnerable to the hot daytime temps, and less-protected against the colder nights.
Although your intentions may be good, keep in mind that dogs cool through themselves through their paws and not their skin.
This is where their sweat glands lie.
Also, when you shave your dog, you allow the cooling he obtains through his feet to more easily escape his body, making him hotter, less comfortable and at greater risk from the sun’s dangerous rays.
Also, we know from the previous section that regrowth of a Pomeranian’s fur can be a very long process, sometimes taking up to a year or more.
Thus, when you shave your Pomeranian in your summer, he may remain that way when winter rolls around.
This will leave him without his protective outer coat—a coat that for centuries has enabled the breed to withstand icy climates.
Shaving a Pomeranian Can Lead to Skin Damage and Disease
Last but not least, the practice of shaving a Pomeranian too close can leave your dog vulnerable to sunburn, skin damage and conditions such as skin cancer or heat stroke.
It is for these types of reasons that experts so vehemently discourage the practice and urge all owners of this breed to leave the clipping to an experienced groomer.
According to those in the know, the best thing you can do as an owner of a Pomeranian is to ensure your pet is regularly bathed and brushed.
Not only will this keep him more comfortable in both the summer and winter seasons, it will also keep him protected from the various diseases and conditions that the harsh sunlight can cause.