Finnish Spitz

Want to learn more about the National Dog of Finland? Then read on for more information on this foxy look alike!

Finnish Spitz standing on grass

Height: Male 17-20 inches, female 15-18 inches
Weight: Male 11-15 kilos, female 9-13 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (Registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Below are the positive and negative traits linked to the Finnish Spitz:

Pros:

  • Excellent watchdog
  • Easy to train
  • Great for first-time owners
  • Generally a healthy breed

Cons:

  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • High prey drive
  • Heavy shedder
  • Highly vocal, likes to bark

Overview

The Finnish Spitz is a hunting dog with noticeably similar looks to a fox. Their features such as the pointy ears, red/golden coat, and pointed muzzle attract many dog enthusiasts to this breed. A curly tail and thick coat make the Finnish Spitz look cuddly, but despite this, they are actually hunters.

Naturally, the breed lives in colder regions and has developed a thick coat to protect them from harsh weather. Their fur will shed heavily so expect to see this throughout your home. Thanks to their medium-sized build they can live in apartments but remember their exercise needs are high.

Portrait of a Finnish Spitz

Barking is something you’ll have to get used to with this breed. They love to talk to their human companions and will use their voice in a number of different ways. Finnish Spitz love to be around the family and could develop separation anxiety if left alone regularly.

Mostly popular in Scandinavia, the Finnish Spitz are well-known hunters and companions. Believe it or not but these dogs were actually bred to bark. They even compete in annual barking contests in Finland crowning one lucky pooch ‘King Barker’.

Little yet bursting with energy and personality, the Finnish Spitz really is a unique breed. If your after a dog that is different from the norm then you will certainly receive that with this breed. Provided you can cater to their needs, you will be returned with a loveable, loyal, and devoted pooch.

History

The Finnish Spitz originated from Finland and is believed to have descended hunting dogs in Scandinavia and Lapland. Their exact origination is unknown, but the Spitz family is thought to have migrated to Finland with tribes from Russia around 100AD.

As the Finnish Spitz was isolated in rural regions, there was little involvement of other breeds in their development. Yet in the 1880s as transportation became easier, cross breeding began. It almost led the Finnish Spitz into extinction.

Luckily, thanks to two breed enthusiasts efforts, Hugo Sandberg and Hugo Ross, the dog was revived. They formed the breed into the standard we know today. Originally, this canine was known as the Finnish Barking Dog, but this was changed in 1897 to the Finnish Spitz.

The Finnish Spitz dog points and barks at its prey to divert its attention from the human making the kill. A technique loved by hunters across Finland. Not only this, but they really are all-round hunters catching any type of game from small to large. Most popularly they’re used to catch grouse birds, capercaillie, raccoon dogs, and elk.

In 1979 the Finnish Spitz was listed as the National Dog of Norway. To this day the breed is still used for hunting in their native land. Yet they are equally popular as family companions.

Related: Is the Giant Schnauzer breed easy to train? Read our guide to find out.

Personality

Finnish Spitz Temperament:

Prized by Finland, the Finnish Spitz lives up to a number of expectations owners tend to have. They make the perfect hunter whilst holding a friendly and loving side that’s ideal for the home. Playful, hard-working, independent, and happy, the Finnish Spitz makes the perfect all-round pet.

This dog is a great companion and directly interacts with owners vocally unlike other breeds. One pooch has been recorded barking 160 times in one minute, but of course, this isn’t the norm! Expect unconditional love from the Finnish Spitz, a dog that will never stray far from your side.

Finnish spitz sniffing traces of animals

Are Finnish Spitz Good With Strangers?

The Finnish Spitz will be wary of strangers and may hold themselves back, this isn’t shyness. After all, they are watchdogs, so if somebody you don’t know approaches your home, they’ll be sure to let you know.

Are Finnish Spitz Good With Children?

Yes, this breed makes an excellent companion for children. Naturally, the Finnish Spitz is playful so kids are the perfect match for this dog. They’re also high in energy so children are a great help when burning energy. Finnish Spitz are medium built so they won’t injure easily through play.

Are Finnish Spitz Ok With Other Dogs?

Finnish Spitz may be aggressive towards dogs they don’t know. Early socialization will be needed to prevent this from happening. They can, however, live indoors with dogs they have grown up with. Cats may also live alongside this pooch.

Related: The pros and cons of owning a Norweigian Elkhound dog are in our latest guide.

Exercise

An hour’s worth of daily exercise is suitable for the Finnish Spitz, but don’t be surprised if they can go on for longer! Finnish Spitz puppies have lots of energy and may need to burn this off in multiple daily walks. The breed’s high stamina allows them to spend all day hunting in the woods so strenuous exercise will be needed!

This dog is small enough to live happily in an apartment provided these needs are met. If you have a garden then high fences will be needed to contain the Finnish Spitz. They may also bark at passers-by so your dog’s territory must be secure.

portrait of a Finnish spitz on white background

Mental stimulation is another part of their exercise that can’t be forgotten. Like most working dogs, the mind is hard at work. Once they become human companions this stops and boredom will creep. Destructive habits like digging, chewing, and possibly nipping will often follow.

Dog agility and games like hide and seek are the best way to keep them entertained. Finnish Spitz are deeply attached to their owners and can be prone to separation anxiety. If you need to pop out for a few hours, leave behind the treat dispenser. Make your dog work for the food and they probably won’t notice you’ve gone!

Health

The Finnish Spitz breed-related health conditions are listed below:

  • Hip Dysplasia- The hip joint is developed poorly leading to pain, lameness, inflammation, and swelling in the affected area. Arthritis will eventually follow.
  • Hypothyroidism- An underactive thyroid will cause a dog to put on weight, lose fur, loss in activity, and the ability to withstand the cold.
  • Luxating Patellas- A common orthopedic condition in dogs, luxating patellas is when the kneecap temporarily moves out of place. It can cause lameness in the affected leg.
  • Epilepsy- The most common neurological condition in dogs, epilepsy will cause unprovoked seizures.
  • Pemphigus Foliaceus An autoimmune skin disease causing hair loss, ulcers, and scabs.

Intelligence & Training

Intelligence is definitely a trait of the Finnish Spitz. It shines the most whilst they’re working out in the woods. Yet their independence makes obedience training highly difficult. It is best to focus on respect training with this breed. Once they listen to your ‘No’ command, life with the Finnish Spitz becomes much easier.

A bond is easy to establish with this dog! Lots of cuddles, games, exercise, and grooming will help build and form your new companionship. A Finnish Spitz puppy is excitable and can’t wait to explore the outdoor world. Before starting a training session make sure your dogs been exercised so they can focus.

Don’t repeat the same lessons, this will become boring for your dog. Keep it short and different each time. Swap between food treats and affection when handing out rewards. Practice your teachings in different environments to test out your pooch’s listening skills.

If your Finnish Spitz is solely a companion dog, then you need to focus on socialization. This dog may become aggressive to other canines they don’t know. To prevent bad traits from forming attend some group puppy classes and meet with other friendly dogs in the park.

Recommended: What are the pros and cons of having a Sheepadoodle? Find out in this guide, plus some more information about this loveable breed.

Grooming

The Finnish Spitz doesn’t have the same amount of natural oils as other breeds. This means they will need to be washed more frequently. Their fur is around 1-2 inches long. Brush their coat once or twice a week to remove any loose fur. A grooming rake will work well. Thankfully this breeds coat doesn’t hold odor.

Baths will be needed by week 3 to keep the coat and skin underneath healthy! It also prevents the short, double coat from becoming matted and tangled. Blow dryers can be used to hasten the drying process. You should brush over their fur with a slicker brush to keep it smooth and shiny.

Paw pads will be the only area that needs trimming on this dog. Teeth should be brushed two to three times a week, however daily is recommended. Ears need to be cleared from any debris weekly, with any hair blocking the entrance of the canal removed. Nails should be trimmed or filed every 8 weeks.

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