ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Finnish Spitz is a dog of medium size originating in Finland. Even more, this breed is the national dog of Finland! His original role was to hunt down various types of wild prey such as rodents, squirrels and even bears. Nowadays the Finnish Spitz is mostly used as a hunting dog and as a bark pointer, but it can also be an affectionate companion and a wonderful friend

Whether you are looking for a pet or a hunting dog, continue read on to find the most important info regarding the Finnish Spitz.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Sporting Dogs
Height:The breed gets about 8 inches tall in the shoulder area
Weight:About 20 to 35 pounds (it’s a big dog)
Life Span:About 12 to 15 years

When it comes to adaptability, the Finnish Spitz is a breed that is more or less easily adapted to most conditions. However, it is important to note that this dog prefers a big yard and spending a lot of time outdoors; therefore a small apartment may not be the best solution. This also applies to people who are novice owners and have never had a dog before or a dog belonging to this breed group. They may not be able to keep with Finnish Spitz’s exercise needs and inability to be alone.

This brings us to the next point which is – the Finnish Spitz does not tolerate being alone at all, he loves human companionship and he thrives on it. If you lead a busy life which keeps you away from home for long periods of time, and your dog is always alone, then this breed is not for you.

This breed is really affectionate and they love being in their owner’s presence and part of the family. The Finnish Spitz is actually a really great and children-friendly dog that is gentle towards them and loves being close to them. He is less friendly with strangers which is expected, but proper socialization and training can make him less suspicious of unfamiliar people and dogs.

The Finnish Spitz tolerates well cold weather due to his warm coat and he prefers cold climate. If you leave in an area without winters, your dog might not tolerate it well. All in all, the sensitivity in this dog breed is moderate.

When it comes to general health and grooming, the Finnish Spitz does shed a lot which is the consequence of his really thick and fluffy coat. That means that you will be required to brush him every day and even take him regularly to the professional groomer because his coat is not really easy to groom. It is really thick and soft and if you are not confident enough to do it, it is better to let a professional to cut and stylize it properly. The Finnish Spitz is generally a healthy dog with a couple of medical conditions that his breed is more prone to (they will be discussed later on in the article) and he does have a potential for weight gain, but it is not serious.

This dog is easy to train due to the fact that he simply loves to please his owner. He is an intelligent dog who responds nicely to positive reinforcement and reward training. However, the Finnish Spitz does have the potential for mouthiness (which is the result of his original role of a hunting dog), and prey drive, but they can be controlled if the dog has been trained from an early age. The wanderlust potential will probably be always there due to his need to explore the wild and the area around him and that is why it is for the best to always him on the leash.

What might put you off and what you should be aware of is the Finnish Spitz’s tendency to bark. Having in mind that this breed used to be (and it still is) a bark pointer, it is simply in their nature to respond to unfamiliar objects and sounds with barking. This should be more or less controlled with training but it can never completely go away.

When it comes to Finnish Spitz’s exercise needs, they are high. This dog breed is simply a highly energetic and active dog that loves spending time in the open and he especially loves playing and training with his owner. This is not a lap dog or a couch potato that should spend 90% of his daily time in a tiny apartment. He has a high potential for playfulness and the intensity of his games and exercises should be intense, of course, depending on your pet’s general health and age.

Main Highlights
  • The Finnish Spitz is a very energetic and lively dog that deserves a big yard and daily walks. He does not tolerate small and cramped apartments.
  • This breed is not called a ‘bark pointer’ for nothing – their original role was to hunt down prey and notify their owners by barking. You can teach them the command to stop barking, but it can never go away completely.
  • The Finnish Spitz has a huge wanderlust potential and prey drive therefore you should never keep him off leash in open and unfamiliar places.
  • Unless your Finnish Spitz is trained for hunting; he will most likely never listen to you when off leash, aka ‘selective deafness’ and unless you have trained and socialized him properly, he might go after smaller animals.
  • The Finnish Spitzs communicate well with children and smaller pets, but they don’t really like unfamiliar dogs.
  • This breed is known for gaining weight due to their constant need to eat; their diet should always be monitored.
  • The Finnish Spitz is known as being a breed that matures slowly and they can act childish even when they are 3 or 4 years old.
  • The Finnish Spitz does not tolerate being alone for long periods of time.

Keep in mind: never purchase a puppy from unfamiliar and unknowledgeable puppy mills or suspicious pet stores! Sometimes it is simply better to adopt.

Breed History

The Finnish Spitz’s country of origin is Finland and even though it is not known when exactly they were developed, it is believed that they were bred from Spitz-type dog breeds that were kept for thousands of years by certain Finno-Ugrian tribes from the north. These dogs were kept mostly as hunting companions who helped them gather and hunt down food and they also served as guardians. The type of their fur was perfect for these harsh and cold regions and they soon become favorite choices for companions.

It has been discovered that the Finnish Spitz belongs to the group of ancient dog breeds according to his genes. This breed was pretty unknown and close to extinction until two men, Hugo Sandberg and Hugo Roos, saw this breed in 1890 and decided to write about it. The Finnish Kennel Club recognized the Finnish Spitz officially in 1892 but it was not until 1959 that this breed was imported to the United States and not until 1993 that the American Kennel Group accepted it as their own member.

The breed was brought to England in 1920 and even though its popularity declined during the World War II, it rose again after it. Nowadays the Finnish Spitz is still pretty unknown in the world; however, he is the national dog of Finland and it is even mentioned in Finnish patriotic songs.

Size

The Finnish Spitz is a dog breed of medium size. The males are a bit bigger and heavier than the females. Thus, the male individuals weigh 27 to 35 pounds while the female individuals are 22 to 30 pounds. When it comes to height, the males are 17 ½ to 20 inches tall while the females are 15 ½ to 18 inches tall.

Personality and Character

The Finnish Spitz is friendly, lovely, energetic, affectionate, active and protective. They love their owner and family so much that they appoint themselves a guardian and watchdog, always barking at unfamiliar sounds and objects. He can be exceptionally suspicious of strangers and even more of unfamiliar dogs, but that should be avoided by training otherwise you might end with a troublesome dog.

This dog breed can be a real challenge because his hunting instincts tell him to explore and wander and protect his family which might become really troublesome in your neighbor. You should expose your Finnish Spitz to as many sights, people and dogs as possible, because only proper socialization and training can turn him into a well-mannered dog. You surely would not want him chasing after small animals or barking at the neighbors, right?

Health and Potential Problems

The Finnish Spitz is generally a healthy breed; however there are some medical conditions that affect him more than the other dog breeds. You should be aware of them so you can react on time if needed. Some of them are:

  • Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition which affects most of the dog breeds and those that are diagnosed with it should not be bred. The thighbone of a Finnish Spitz does not fit properly into the hip joint. It can be diagnosed with X-ray screening. Some signs include lameness and pain. Arthritis might be one of the consequences of hip dysplasia and sometimes this condition can be aggravated with high-calorie diets or injuries.
  • Patellar luxation is a condition that affects a dog’s kneecap, and the only known treatment is surgery. The knee joint slides in and out of its place which results in a dog feeling severe pain all the time, especially when he moves.
  • Epilepsy is mostly an inherited condition but it can be also a result of an unknown It is a seizure disorder that has a medication solution but it can never be cured. This means that a dog can live a normal life under proper monitoring and the medication can lessen the intensity and regularity of attacks.
  • Other: cancer, elbow dysplasia.
Care Features

When it comes to care features, the basic needs of a Finnish Spitz are almost the same as for all dogs. The Finnish Spitz is a dog breed that is and should spend most of the time outdoors, which means that he might get hurt or injured. That is why you should always check him carefully after each walk to make sure there are no cuts, fleas, ticks, bruises or some other kind of injury on your dog’s body or skin.

Besides regular brushing, bathing, brushing teeth, nail clipping and grooming (which is not easy), this breed requires daily walks and regular intense exercises outdoors. Additionally, the Finnish Spitz should not be left in the yard because he will bark without stopping and become self-destructive without his owner. He also does not tolerate hot climate and he is a great indoor dog as long as he is trained outside regularly.

Feeding Schedule

Keeping in mind that the Finnish Spitz is a very active and energetic breed, that means that they need a high-quality diet filled with vitamins and proteins.

When it comes to recommended daily dosage of food, it should be 1. 5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dog food per day divided into two meals. Make sure to always buy or prepare high-quality food and include vitamins, vegetables and proteins. Otherwise your Finnish Spitz might develop health problems later on.

Additionally, even if your Finnish Spitz is very active, that does not mean that you are allowed to overfeed him – this breed is prone to weight gaining and bloat, so make sure to carefully plan your pet’s diet beforehand.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Finnish Spitzs has a thick double coat which consists of a soft, dense undercoat with hairs that are long and harsh reaching almost 5 cm. The coat appears to be fluffy but it is very thick and dense and it is always longer on the back, neck, thighs and tail. The males usually have thicker and longer coats than the females. The way the tail is shaped is called the ‘pluma’ and it is a specific trait of this Spitz type dogs.

When it comes to the color of the Finnish Spitz’s coat, it comes in a few varieties, the fawn being the most usual. The others are dark gray, brown, and black. The proper styling and grooming of the coat is very important and most owners take their pets to the professional groomers in order for it to be maintained properly. The undercoat that is old should always be brushed out so the new coat can grow back properly. Dogs with fluffier and fuller coats do look cuter; however, not grooming your dog’s coat can cause serious skin infections and problems.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

As we already stated, the Finnish Spitz is a great family dog that despite his hunting instincts that still run through his blood can be very affectionate and gentle towards children. If trained and socialized from an early age, he might even go along with other, unfamiliar dogs and if he is raised together with other smaller pets, he won’t go after them; however, he will always be more suspicious of strangers than the people he has grown up with.

Even when he is trained properly he might still have the need to chase after cats, birds and smaller animals outside, wander off or bark at anything unusual, so make sure to keep him on a leash. Children should be taught to behave properly and never hurt, pull or jump over a Finnish Spitz because he deserves as much love as he gives.

To sum up, we have covered the most important characteristics of a dog breed called the Finnish Spitz. You are now familiar with Finnish Spitz’s physical traits, personality quirks and most importantly – his basic needs that should be met every single day.

If you are an active and energetic person who has time for spending time outdoors and lives either in a spacious house with a big yard or simply loves jogging, hiking and mountaineering – then this dog breed might be for you.

The additional plus is if you live in a colder climate. The Finnish Spitz needs an owner who is strong-willed and patient because he can be a bit stubborn from time to time and strong-willed. If he is not trained on time you might never be able to train him later on because he will just pretend to listen to you while doing his thing.

Giving your Finnish Spitz proper love and meeting his needs will make not only him happy, but you as well. The Finnish Spitz is a wonderful dog who can be a great companion to an owner who understands him.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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