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Foxes & Poms


Pomeranians and Foxes

Comparison, Fox Face Poms and Fox Cut Hair Cuts for Pomeranians


If there was ever a dog breed that was compared to another animal in regard to appearance, it’s the Pom. Not only do many people say that a Pomeranian looks like a fox, part of the AKC breed standard also mentions the fox when describing the desired expression. Since this cute little toy dog is likened to foxes so much, we decided to dive deeper into this to answer the most typical Pomeranian vs fox questions.
Pomeranian looks like fox
Angel at 5 years old
Photo courtesy of Alba C. Marquez de la Plata-Ghitis
Let's get started:
Why do Pomeranians look like foxes? 

Well, some look quite a bit like a fox, however many do not. Let’s look at the reasons why the two animals are compared to each other:
Color – The Pomeranian can be found in a wide range of colors, from the purest snow white to the deepest onyx black.
Not only that, but this breed can be one solid color, two, three or more. There are patterns to the coat such as sable (black tipped hairs) and brindle (a sort of striping)… and Poms will often change color as they mature. However, in regard to people that ask ‘Why does my Pomeranian look like a fox?’ this is often coming from those who have red, red sable, red with markings, orange, orange sable, orange brindle or orange with a secondary color of white or cream as these dog are most comparable to the most popular type of fox. 

Now with foxes, there are actually 12 different species in the ‘fox’ family but the most common type is the red fox (which itself has 47 sub-species). Even though foxes can be found in a wide range of colors (just like the Pom) including black, gray and white (the Artic Marble Fox) and even solid white (aptly named the Arctic White Fox), when people think about this sleek, small woodland creature, it is often the red fox that comes to mind. The adult Red Fox has a beautiful rust colored coat often with a secondary marking of cream or white that varies in coverage yet usually falls on the chest and front legs. The tail is tipped in either white or black.

Color changes - Not only can both Poms and foxes be found in lots of different colors, they both also change color as they mature. With foxes, this is known as 'morphing' and Poms often go through a major color change when maturing, known as the 'Puppy Uglies'. Red foxes are born brown or gray and often develop stripes or mottling on the coats and with Poms, markings, brindling and sabling can lessen or come in stronger and the base color can darken or lighten. 

Face – This is another huge reason why people believe that Pomeranians look like foxes; while there are some similarities, there are some notable differences as well: 

1) Ears - Both the Pomeranian and the fox have triangle ears. While canines can have all sorts of ear shapes (blunt, drop, button, etc.), some do have triangle ears like the Pom. The standard calls out for ears on a Pomeranian that are 'small, mounted high and carried erect'. Foxes also have triangle ears that stand up erect, however the major difference is the size (foxes have larger ears in comparison to their faces) and they use them as part of a complicated body language… they rotate and flick them when sniffing around, when pleased they will turn them outward and they can press them all the way backward when afraid or unsure. So, when people look at the similarities of Pomeranian and foxes in regard to ears, this is using the image of a fox that is alert with ears held high. 
2) Eyes - With this facial feature, there are some parallels and dissimilarities. In regard to shape, this is biggest difference. The majority of Pomeranians have almond shaped eyes and foxes have oval shaped eyes. Poms tend to have larger eyes in comparison to face size and while a fox's eyes will often stand out as a feature, they are relatively small. In regard to color, both animals are born with dark blue eyes, however this quickly changes in the first few weeks. The majority of Pomeranians will have dark eyes (this is the AKC standard), though some have green or blue eyes (and this is most often found when merle is in the bloodline). Foxes are also born with blue eyes and these change over to a nice amber color as the pup (baby foxes can be called pups, kits or cubs) matures. 
3) Snout - There are 3 face shapes of the Pomeranian, the Fox face, Baby Doll and Teddy Bear and since so much breeding has been done blending these 3, many Poms are a combination of these. 

While the Pomeranian often has a fox face (which denotes a moderate snout), the fox (the animal) has a much longer snout comparatively speaking. It is also more narrow. Foxes also have more slender canine teeth and are excellent at gripping prey. It is interesting to note that female foxes have larger teeth than the males. With Poms, there is no difference in teeth or any other body part due to gender.
White Pomeranian VS white fox
Jasper Finley at 17 months old, Photo courtesy of Nikkie B.
4) Overall facial appearance and expression - The fox has a very angled face with cheekbones and brow very prominent and with a long narrow snout. His dark black nose helps in giving him an overall look of having a triangle shaped face. The AKC, FCI, CKC and other major canine kennels agree that Pomeranians should have an expression 'referred to as fox like, denoting his alert and intelligent nature'… 

So when you look at the overall facial aspect of these two beautiful animals, both with triangle ears, alert expressions and a sort of clever, sly air about them, they can look very much alike, depending on the Pom in question. 

Coat texture - Both animals have double coats of fur, but the Pomeranian has a thicker coat. They both have an outer layer of guard hairs. With foxes, some have guard hairs with a coarse texture but the popular Red Fox has outer hairs that are very silky and that soft texture does not allow the fox's coat to fluff out.  

If quality grooming products are used, including proper shampoo and conditioner and the fur is trimmed slightly to allow it to stand out, that Pom will not look very much like a fox at all in regard to the coat since his outer layer will create a nice full fluffed shaped. However, some Poms have thinner coats (this is especially true for older seniors) that lie flatter like a fox… and if too heavy of a conditioner is used that weighs the hairs down or in cases of the Pom's coat never being trimmed and tidied up at all, this can make it lie much flatter on the body, and these Poms will look a lot more like foxes, particularly if they have orange or red in the coat. 
Tail - Foxes have very long tails, much longer than Pomeranians, as they are longer than 1/2 of the fox's body which means that it is so long that when a fox stands, his tail touches the ground and this is not so for the Pom. They do both, however, have fluffy, plumed tails. 

Body - The body shapes of Poms and foxes are quite different. The Pomeranian has a squared shaped body with a short back; this means that if you measure an adult, the length of the dog (from the prosternum [very front of the rib cage] to the rump) 'should' be the same measurement as the height of the dog from the withers (top of the shoulder) to the floor. With this said, some adults have a leaner, sleeker shape.

Most foxes, on the other hand, have long bodies. While there are some that are short and heavy, most are long and also very light (a dog that was the same size would have bones weighing about 30% more).

Size - Most foxes are medium sized animals, though depending on which of the 47 types of red foxes are in question, they can be quite small (less than 5 pounds) or much larger than Poms (they can mature to be a bit over 30 pounds)… and the Pom is one of the smallest toy breeds with a standard weight of 3 to 7 pounds (though some are larger in the 8 to 12 pound range and the rare Throwback Poms can be upward of 20 pounds due to a genetic jump that gives the dog an appearance similar to his ancestors.)
Pomeranian VS Fox Comparable Chart
Ellie 4 years old, Photo courtesy of Randy & Kathy Parker
Side by Side Stats
Pom VS Fox

Genus: Canis Vulpes
Weight: 3-7 lbs. 4.9 to 31 lbs.
Height: 8 - 11 inches (20 -28 cm) 14-20 inches (35–50 cm)
Lifespan: 12-16 yrs. 3- 5 yrs. in the wild, 10-12 in captivity
Litter size: 1-5 4-6
Gestation period: 63 days 49-58 days  
Group name: Tuft Skulk, leash or earth
Are Pomeranians Related to Foxes? 

Dogs, foxes, wolves, jackals and coyotes are all part of the Canidae family, so in that sense they are all related. After this, these animals are classified into one of two tribes (the 'genus'). The Pom (and all domesticated dogs) and wolves are in the Canis tribe and foxes are in the Vulpes tribe. Therefore, Pomeranians are not descendants of foxes, despite the sometimes similar appearance. 

Does this mean that Poms are related to wolves? The simple answer is that dogs are related to wolves, not foxes, however it becomes a bit more complicated than that… recent findings show that canines are more related to each other than they are to wolves. What does this mean? Scientists now believe that both animals share a common ancestor that is now extinct; a very large 'wolf-like' animal that lived in Europe from 9000 to 34,000 years ago. The new theory is that they both originated from this mysterious 'wolf-like' animal and then broke off to form their own sub-species. With this said, most sources still list the dog to have the wolf as its ancestor, because this is the more simple explanation. 

The Pomeranian is part of the Spitz family of canines and its ancestor is the large arctic Spitz dog. Over time, color was added and the dog was bred down in size to be a tiny lap dog. 
Pomeranian dog and a fox
Fur Elise, 3 years old | Photo courtesy of Lynne B.
What is the Pomeranian Fox Face?

Based mainly on the length and angle of the snout (though distance of the eyes to the nose plays into this somewhat as well), Pomeranians can have 1 of 3 different face shapes: the Fox face, Teddy Bear or Baby Doll.

Per AKC breed standards, a Pom's muzzle should be 'rather short' and straight and this is the typical fox face. 

If a Pom is bred to have a flatter, more compact face (the snout will be shorter and upturned, the eyes will be closer to the nose and the cheeks may be fuller), this will place the Pom in the Teddy Bear or Baby Doll face shape. 
What is the Pomeranian fox cut? Also sometimes referred to as the 'fox cut hair cut' for Pomeranians, this is a relatively newly named type of trim. Since foxes have rather flat coats in comparison to the fluff that a Pom can achieve, yet they have long, full tails, the Pomeranian fox cut is a very close trim to the body, from head to rump, that takes away a good amount of the weight, however the fur is either left alone or only slightly trimmed, which leaves it with very long hairs. This combination creates the appearance of a fox, hence the name of fox cut. It will start to grow out in about a month; however this sort of haircut comes with strict warnings. Mainly that it can  have lasting effects. 
A little bit of trimming to the coat is fine and many owners have a groomer do this simply to take away some of the weight, which then allows the guard hairs to stand out and create a nice, round and full shape. It can also help remove dead ends that can make the coat look dried out. 

However, it is never advisable to cut into the inner coat as is sometimes done with the Lion Cut since the coat may never grow back again to its potential.

Please note: With the fox cut, it is important that only perhaps 1 to 2 inches of the top coat is trimmed and the inner layer is not touched; if that thick denser undercoat is cut into, you may find that your Pom is never again able to grow into the ball of fluff that this breed is famous for. 
Pomeranian fox cut
Luigi Donatello, 10 years old
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Murtha
Quick Reader Q&A

We've gathered a couple of questions that we've received over the past few months in regard to Pomeranians and foxes:

Can you, technically speaking, breed a Pomeranian and fox together? With Poms (and all dogs) being in the Canis genus and foxes being in the Vulpes genus, a successful breeding cannot happen due to the differences in chromosomes (the number of them and how they are arranged); there cannot be a Pomeranian and fox mix. Despite some claims of dog and fox hybrids (dubbed a 'dox') there are zero documented cases of this ever truly happening since it is not genetically possible. 
fox cut hair cut on Pomeranian
Photo courtesy of Jo Visser
And as a side note, the majority of states in the US do not allow anyone to keep a wild animal as a pet… there are some exceptions including Maine (anyone can own any type of wild animal as long as you place an ID tag on it) and in Michigan you are allowed to only own a Red Fox that is native to that area. Both Indiana and Arkansas allow foxes as pets as well. 
my Pomeranian looks like a fox
Cookie, photo courtesy of Regina (1st photo) and Cuzco at 3 years old (2nd Pom) photo courtesy of Nathalie Orrego
Is it true that some people sell foxes and pass them off as Pomeranians? This reminds us of stories about tourists visiting Mexico and allegedly buying baby rats that are passed off as Chihuahuas. As far as we know, there is only one reported incident of this happening and it occurred in China in 2008. 

Apparently, a man bought a white 'Pom' that ended up smelling quite a bit and growing a long tail.  
Perplexed by the changing appearance of his pet, he brought it to the zoo to get their take on the issue… and workers there let him know that the animal was a white Arctic Fox. The fox now lives at the zoo. This very odd scheme may have happened to other people who either didn’t report it or it didn't make it into the news. 

What is a fox Pomeranian? This is not an official term. If a breeder advertises that they are selling a fox Pomeranian, this may simply mean that the dog has a fox face (either with the moderate snout as compared to the more 'smooshed' look of a Teddy Bear Pom) or has the classic 'fox-like expression' as called out by the AKC in regard to the alert facial structure, along with erect triangle ears. In other cases, a person may be referring to the coloring of the dog… Foxes come in all sorts of colors such as the solid white Arctic Fox or the very popular Red Fox and a Pomeranian with certain coloring may be dubbed to look like one of those. If someone were to imply that they had a fox Pomeranian hybrid, this would be a false and very misleading statement since the two animals cannot successfully mate.
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