The Pomeranian (often known as a Pom or Pom Pom) is a breed of dog of the Spitz type, named for the Pomerania region in Central Europe (today part of northern Poland and eastern Germany). Classed as a toy dog breed because of its small size, the Pomeranian is descended from the larger Spitz type dogs, specifically the German Spitz. It has been determined by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale to be part of the German Spitz breed; and in many countries, they are known as the Zwergspitz (“Dwarf-Spitz”). The breed has been made popular by a number of royal owners since the 18th century. Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian and consequently the smaller variety became universally popular. During Queen Victoria’s lifetime alone, the size of the breed decreased by 50%. Overall, the Pomeranian is a sturdy, healthy dog. The most common health issues are luxating patella and tracheal collapse. More rarely, the breed can suffer from Alopecia X, a skin condition colloquially known as “black skin disease”. This is a genetic disease which causes the dog’s skin to turn black and lose all or most of its hair. As at 2013, in terms of registration figures, since at least 1998, the breed has ranked among the top twenty most popular breeds in the USA, and the current fashion for small dogs has increased their popularity worldwide.