Other names: Suomenpystykorva
The Finnish Spitz was originally bred to hunt game and bark loudly when it discovered something. As such, one of this breed’s distinguishing features has to be its excessive barking habit. On the plus side, this does make for a highly efficient watchdog! This talkative pooch does, in fact, have a lot more to offer. With a good-natured, warm and friendly temperament, as well as being patient with children, it can make a fantastic family companion. However, those who choose to adopt a Finnish Spitz will need to be able to keep up with its moderately high exercise needs.
Key facts about the Finnish Spitz
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Origins and history
The Finnish Spitz is believed to have descended from ancient hunting dogs of Scandinavia and Lapland, eventually bred with Spitz-type dogs for the purpose of hunting small game. The breed standard was established in 1812 and is known as the Suomenpystykorva in its native Finland, where it’s still popular as both a hunting and companion dog to this day.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Finnish Spitz
Female : Between 15 and 18 in
Male : Between 17 and 20 in
Female : Between 15 and 22 lb
Male : Between 26 and 29 lb
The coat can be varying bright shades, ranging from golden to deep red, often with white markings on the toes and chest.
Type of coat
Thick, stiff overcoat on the neck, shoulders, and back, and a soft, think undercoat.
The eyes are a dark colour.
The Finnish Spitz is a medium-sized dog which is often compared to a fox in terms of appearance. With its long, pointed muzzle, erect, pricked ears and vibrant red coats, we can certainly see the similarity! This breed has a squarish, well-built body, muscular legs and a deep chest.
Good to know
The Finnish Spitz is officially the National Dog of Finland - quite a title!
Although the Finnish Spitz is really passionate about hunting, and fairly independent, this dog adores its people and likes to spend time in their company. If you choose this breed, you’re guaranteed a loyal, chirpy and trustworthy canine friend for life.
This is a super playful breed with a brilliant sense of humour. This cheerful little pup is always up for fun and games, especially with the kids!
The Finnish Spitz is alert, lively and energetic. While it’s certainly not the calmest breed in the books, it’s capable of chilling out inside the home, providing its needs are met.
This breed is very intelligent, cunning, and a determined hunting dog, but doesn’t fully mature until 3-4 years old.
The Finnish Spitz is a hunter through and through and will instinctually chase and even seize small animals.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This dog tends to be suspicious and wary of strangers.
Like most hunting breeds, the Finnish Spitz has a definite independent streak, although it is very attached and loyal to its social group.
Behaviour of the Finnish Spitz
The Finnish Spitz loves its family and is prone to separation anxiety. In fact, it’s likely to become destructive if left alone for too long. However, if accustomed to alone time gradually, certain dogs may be able to tolerate short periods of solitude.
Easy to train / obedience
Despite this breed’s independent temperament, it is a very cooperative dog when it is communicated with respectfully, and its needs have been met. The Finnish Spitz can be highly sensitive to harsh criticism, so the best approach is a fair yet firm voice, a gentle touch and plenty of positive reinforcement. Training sessions should be short as this breed gets bored easily. Be aware that training may take some time and patience, but it’s best to avoid scolding your dog - that’s likely to take you ten steps back.
Considering the Finnish Spitz was bred to bark when it found game, it comes as no surprise that this is a very vocal breed. Expect to be alerted of just about anything, even if it’s insignificant to you. Sometimes, it may just seem like this dog is barking for fun.
Tendency to run away
The Finnish Spitz is a hunter by nature, meaning it could run off on a whim to follow prey. You’ll need to keep this breed on a lead in areas with small animals and wildlife unless you’re certain that your pup is obedient enough to come back if called. A securely fenced garden is also essential.
Without adequate physical and mental stimulation, this breed has the potential to become very destructive.
Greedy / Gluttony
The Finnish Spitz loves its food and treats can be useful in training! Carrots make great low-fat, low-calorie dog treats.
This breed is super alert and also very protective of its family, which is the perfect combination for a watchdog! While the Finnish Spitz is sure to alert you of strangers, it will rarely show aggression and won’t act as a guard dog.
The Finnish Spitz is a good choice for first adoption, but don’t be influenced purely by its good looks. This dog’s other qualities, and needs, should also be taken into account.
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Finnish Spitz in a flat
This breed may adapt to flat living, but it would need multiple walks per day, which might be hard to sustain. It’s better suited to living in a house with a garden, or even better, a countryside setting.
Need for exercise / Sporty
The Finnish Spitz has fairly high exercise requirements, needing at least an hour of activity per day to feel fulfilled. However, the Finnish Spitz would happily walk for several hours per day and will thrive as part of an active household. Plenty of playtime and ball games can help to keep this smart breed mentally stimulated.
Travelling / easy to transport
This dog’s average size allows it to follow its masters everywhere, especially if well socialized from a young age.
Finnish Spitz and cats
This breed’s hunting instinct might prove too strong to live well with cats.
Finnish Spitz and dogs
A well-socialized Finnish Spitz is capable of getting along well with dogs. However, in certain circumstances, this breed has been known to lash out at dogs it doesn’t know - especially those of the same sex.
Finnish Spitz and children
The Finnish Spitz is a great match for children. It is robust enough for pokes and prods, and intelligent enough to be able to gently disengage from play when it has had enough. This dog is a gentle and understanding playmate!
Finnish Spitz and the elderly
The Finish Spitz can be strong-willed and has a high exercise requirement, meaning it most circumstances, it’s not the best choice for an elderly owner.
This breed will cost between £725 for Non-KC Registered dogs, and £1000 for KC-Registered dogs. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £60 to £90 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.
For most of the year, the Finnish Spitz is nice and easy to care for, requiring just a weekly brush. However, this breed sheds seasonally. During these times, you’ll need to brush them more regularly to avoid a hair-covered house! The rest is standard doggy care. Bathe your pooch only if it’s absolutely needed, as excess bathing can dry out the skin. Trim the nails if necessary, check and clean the ears regularly and brush the teeth daily.
This breed is a moderate shedder.
Nutrition of the Finnish Spitz
Feed the Finnish Spitz a high-quality, complete and balanced dog food which is appropriate for its age. Particularly active dogs of this breed may benefit from an active breed formula.
Health of the Finnish Spitz
This is a generally healthy breed with few genetic health problems. The life expectancy of this breed is 13 years.
Strong / robust
The Finnish Spitz is known to be a robust, resilient and hardy breed.
This dog has a good constitution and doesn’t fear the heat.
This Nordic breed thrives in cold weather and can tolerate bitter conditions.
Tendency to put on weight
The Finnish Spitz does love its food - but as long as its exercise needs are met and food portions are controlled, it’s unlikely to gain excess weight.
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxation