You may still be watching it, but I binged the new Netflix show "Bridgerton" on Christmas Day. All eight episodes.
One of the things I loved best about the series was the tuft of Pomeranians (yes, that's what you call a group of three or more Poms) accompanying the character Queen Charlotte. They were often seen sitting in her lap or being held by her ladies-in-waiting.
While the show's writers took liberties with the social conventions of the time (Britain's Regency period, which lasted from 1811 to 1820), Queen Charlotte's love of Pomeranians was the real deal.
As a 17-year-old princess from the German duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who was about to become queen of England through her marriage to George III in 1761, she traveled to her new country with a pair of Pomeranians, Phoebe and Mercury. Cheerful and lively herself, the young princess may have appreciated Pomeranians for the same characteristics.
Not much is known about Charlotte's dogs, but clearly they were special to her. A 1779 portrait of her by Benjamin West includes a white Pomeranian at her feet. And when she and George moved into Buckingham House (now better known as Buckingham Palace), the furnishings included a "square deal tub" for bathing her dogs.
The queen is said to have given Poms as gifts to her ladies, and artist Thomas Gainsborough painted a pair of Pomeranians belonging to musician Carl Friedrich Abel in 1777 ("Pomeranian Bitch and Puppy," now at London's Tate Museum).
Gainsborough also depicted the foxy looking dogs in his paintings "The Morning Walk," in the National Gallery, and "Perdita (Mrs. Robinson)," in the Wallace Collection. Gainsborough himself had a pair of the dogs, Tristram and Fox, which he painted, as well.
The canine actors in "Bridgerton" are smaller than they would have been in Queen Charlotte's time. The Poms of the 18th century were larger, weighing up to 30 pounds. Pomeranians take their name from a region of northern Europe on the Baltic Sea and are members of the Spitz, or Nordic, family of dogs: the ones with prick ears, thick double coats and tails that curl over their backs.
Poms were gradually bred down in size, moving from the 30-pound range to 20 pounds to the current breed standard calling for dogs of 3 to 7 pounds. Although you won't see them prancing in the show ring, it's not out of the question for modern Poms to produce pups that grow to be on the larger side: 12 to 14 pounds.
Poms of this size may be good choices for families, but little Poms and little kids aren't a good mix. Children should be old enough to know the difference between a toy-size dog and a toy, says breed expert Charlotte Creed.
Whatever their size, Pomeranians have a big-dog demeanor. Golda Rosheuvel, who played Queen Charlotte, said in interviews that the dogs on the set were feisty and rowdy.
Creed admires their smiling foxy face, vivacious personality and glorious coat. Speaking of that coat, it comes in an array of colors and patterns.
In real life, Queen Charlotte's dogs were typically white or cream, but these days orange and orange sable are the most popular colors. Pomeranians can also be black, cream, blue, brown, black and white, brindle, merle, black and tan, and tricolor, to name just a few of the many colors and patterns that make up their palette.
Whether "Bridgerton" will have an effect on Pomeranian popularity is yet to be seen. In 2019, the Pom was the 23rd most popular breed registered by the American Kennel Club and the fourth most popular toy breed. It wouldn't take much to bring these former royal favorites back into the spotlight.