The Finnish Spitz is a medium-sized breed that resembles a red fox. These dogs have a dense and lustrous double coat that ranges in color from pale honey to deep auburn. The undercoat is soft and short, and the guard hairs are long, straight, and harsh. These dogs have erect ears, almond-shaped eyes, a plumed and bushy tail, and a pointed muzzle. They measure 15.5 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 23 to 28 pounds.
Devoted and sensitive dogs, Finnish Spitzes do not tolerate household discord very well. It's best not to argue in front of these dogs, as shouting and tension can quickly cause them to become unhappy and withdrawn.
Intelligent and lively, Finnish Spitzes make great companion animals for children and families. They are friendly and affectionate, but they shed a lot and require a considerable amount of exercise. Families with limited time to devote to grooming and physical exercise should think twice before purchasing or adopting a Finnish Spitz.
The Finnish Spitz is sometimes called the Finkie because of the breed's native name, Finsk Spetz. The Finnish Spitz is Finland's national dog and was developed to be a strong hunter and loud barker. In Finland, a single Finnish Spitz is chosen each year based on hunting ability and is given the title of "King of the Barkers."
The Finnish Spitz is a friendly and lively breed that enjoys spending time with family. These dogs are easy-going and good-natured, and they get along well with pets and other children. They tend to be aloof around unfamiliar people, but they are quick to warm up.
These dogs are active and require daily exercise to provide mental and physical stimulation. Without adequate exercise and attention, Finnish Spitzes may become bored, lonely, and destructive. Ideally, these dogs should get 30 minutes of activity at least once daily. This breed does well in dog sports, including flyball, agility, obedience, and rally.
Devoted and sensitive dogs, Finnish Spitzes do not tolerate household discord very well. It's best not to argue in front of these dogs, as shouting and tension can quickly cause them to become unhappy and withdrawn. These dogs need a calm environment and they do best with a lot of affection, attention, and contact.
The Finnish Spitz is a relatively healthy breed that suffers from few serious genetic problems. However, some health conditions are more common in this breed than in some other dogs, including diabetes, cataracts, hypothyroidism, and epilepsy. Congenital hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are also known to affect these dogs.
Finnish Spitzes are also prone to developing pemphigus foliaceus, an autoimmune skin condition. This disorder causes blistering, scaling, and crusting of the skin. It may also cause footpad cracking and overgrowth, fever, depression, swollen lymph nodes, and lameness.
With proper nutrition, regular exercise, routine veterinary care, and timely vaccinations, Finnish Spitz dogs generally live a full and active life of 12 to 15 years.
The Finnish Spitz is a breed that barks. These dogs were developed to bark and they do it often and sometimes loudly. They use multiple sounds to communicate, and they frequently "talk" to their human family members. Anyone who purchases or adopts one of these dogs must be willing to teach the Finnish Spitz when barking is acceptable and when it is not. The upside to their barking is that these dogs are great at alerting their owner to suspicious sounds or persons. This makes them excellent watchdogs.
As a highly intelligent breed, the Finnish Spitz is easy to train, especially when positive reinforcement is the primary training method. These dogs are independent thinkers, however, this means they'll likely never offer unquestioning obedience no matter how much they are praised or rewarded. These dogs do best when training sessions are kept short, as this helps prevent boredom.
Finnish Spitzes with behavioral problems or that engage in destructive behaviors will benefit from increased exercise and attention. When on walks, these dogs must be leashed to keep them from wandering off. Finnish Spitzes are natural hunters and they must be prevented from running off to hunt by themselves. A securely fenced yard is essential if these dogs spend any time outside unsupervised.
Finnish Spitzes have thick double coats that shed moderately and require regular brushing and bathing. During times of the year when shedding is not a major problem, a weekly brushing with a slicker brush is usually sufficient to remove dead hair from the coat and keep these dogs clean. During spring and fall shedding seasons, however, these dogs should be brushed daily to help control shedding and keep balls of hair from forming along baseboards and in corners.
These dogs are naturally clean, but they still need a bath every few months. Bathing may also be necessary if the Finnish Spitz gets into something harmful or sticky. A pH-balanced shampoo designed for use on dogs will prevent skin irritation while cleaning and conditioning the coat.
The nails need trimming every few weeks, and the ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection or excess wax accumulation. Concerns, such as ear redness, odor, or discharge, should be reported to a veterinarian promptly. These dogs also require regular dental care to prevent cavities and gum disease. Frequent brushing and the use of dental rinses and treats will help keep the mouth and teeth healthy.
The national dog of Finland, the Finnish Spitz was originally known by other names, including the Finnish Barking Birddog and the Finnish Cock-Eared Dog, or Suomenstrykorva. These dogs were prized hunters of birds and small game and helped hunters by barking or yodeling while pointing to treed game.
In the late 1800s, crossbreeding almost caused the Finnish Spitz to become extinct. Fortunately, two sportsmen from Helsinki salvaged the breed after noticing the superb hunting abilities of these dogs.
It was not until 1959 that the first Finnish Spitz was imported to the United States. Since that time, the breed has become much loved for its hunting abilities, as well as its suitability as a companion animal.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Finnish Spitz in 1991.