The story of the Danish Spitz
The Danish Spitz is an old breed and it is recognised as one of the National breeds in Denmark. The first known picture of a dog similar to the Danish Spitz, we find in Jens Juel’s painting: “The Ryberg family picture” from 1797. The picture shows Niels Ryberg with son and daughter-in-law in a Funen landscape. The painting shows in the background, his newly acquired manor house ‘Frederiksgave’ which today is called Hagenskov. Ryberg was one of the richest men at that time in Denmark. He was a Merchant and among other titles State Council. The sketch for this painting (1795 -1796) shows a completely different type of dog that does not look like a Danish Spitz, which gives reason to believe that the Danish Spitz was a status symbol in line with the newly acquired manor house.
Over the years, the Danish Spitz have had many names. Some of them were Greenlandic Spitz, Samoyed Spitz and Wolf Spitz. In the 19th century, the Danish Spitz was popular common in Jutland (West part of Denmark) especially at farms where it was used a “nanny”.
It is possible to see in the Danish Spitz breed when the Samoyed Hound came to Denmark. When a family wanted a litter on their little bitch, the neighbour’s Samoyed male was borrowed. Therefore, some dogs are coarse and rather large while to some extent still resemble the Danish Spitz yet cannot be used in breeding programme.
Back in 1988, the chairman of the Danish Kennel Club’s “Committee for National and Forgotten Breeds” Jytte Weis started the elaborate work of gathering pictorial material and tracing down typical breed animals to rescue the breed. This was the first step towards reconstruction of the Danish Spitz breed to preserve it and obtain both national and international endorsement and thereby preserve the Danish Spitz as a pure breed.
Danish Spitz Society
To drive and support the reconstruction and development of the Danish Spitz, the Danish Spitz Society (DK: Selskabet for Dansk Spids) was founded at the general assembly in 1992. Since then the Danish Kennel Club’s “Committee for National and Forgotten Breeds” have been involved in the breed recognition events and approvals of the matings to ensure proper development of the breed. If the mating is not approved in advance, the puppies cannot have their pedigree and be registered in Danish Kennel Club
The Danish Spitz Society also has a purpose to spread the knowledge of the Danish Spitz through participation in dog events across Denmark and dog shows in the Nordic countries. It is the members of the Society that drives the activities on voluntary basis arranging member activities, representation of the Danish Spitz, participation in National and Nordic dog shows and arranging of the breed recognition events.
On the 11th of January 1992, the first breed recognition event was held to assess and approve for breeding the identified Danish Spitz at that time The purpose was approving the first identified Danish Spitz dogs for breeding and to register these dogs in the pedigree register (called “X-register”) in the Danish Kennel Club. 12 out the 19 dogs presented were approved for breeding. The dogs were judged by Ole Staunskjær and Leif Lehmann Jørgensen who both been essentials in the reconstruction process.
Today, the Danish Spitz Society still arrange breed recognition events 2-3 times a year to ensure continuous improvement of the breed in accordance with the breeding standard (currently only in Danish). The development of the Danish Spitz breed is supported by Kim Vigsø Nielsen, member of the “Committee for National and Forgotten Breeds” by overseeing the breed recognition and approval of all matings.
All matings must be approved in advance by applying for approval in the Danish Spitz Society. If the mating is not approved in advance, the puppies cannot have their pedigree and be registered in Danish Kennel Club.
In 2018, it was approved by the Danish Kennel Club to sell Danish Spitz puppies to Nordic countries under the condition that either the puppy is presented in a breed recognition event in Denmark or that an FCI judge, approved by the “Committee for National and Forgotten Breeds”/ Danish Kennel Club performs the breed recognition in their home country.