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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz

Origin: Finland

AKC Group: Non-sporting

Height: 16 - 20 inches (Male)

Weight: 25 - 35 pounds (Male)

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The Finish Spitz is the national dog of Finland. Finnish Spitz have an unusual hunting style - they'll flush a grouse into a tree, flick their tails repeatedly and alert their owners with a high-pitched bark.

Finnish Spitz look and act a lot like foxes. They're hardy, independent and need daily exercise. They're usually suspicious of strangers and sometimes aggressive with other dogs.

Male height: 
16 - 20 inches
Male weight: 
25 - 35 pounds
Soft with a dense undercoat. Brush twice a week, daily when shedding. Tail curls on back; ears prick up.
Reddish gold. White markings are allowed on the toes and chest. A few black hairs are allowed on the tail and back. Eyes are dark, and nose is black.

As hunting tribes migrated across what is now Russia thousands of years ago, they brought an ancient spitz-type dog with them. Those who settled in Finland developed over the centuries what is now known as the Finnish Spitz. This handsome red-gold-coated Norseman was originally used for tracking bears and elks but is now mainly used for hunting Finnish game birds. His nickname, the "barking bird dog," comes from his unique hunting style. His acute scenting ability leads him to birds; then, by yodeling (barking continuously), he "enchants" the bird to sit in the tree and look at him while the hunter approaches. In the 1890s, foresters and hunters Hugo Richard Sandberg and Hugo Roos campaigned to have the dog recognized by the Finnish Kennel Club (FKC) and helped set type for the breed. Numbers of the Finnish Spitz were affected in the late 1970s due to the low population of game birds. When the bird population began recovering in the 1980s, so did the breed. The Finnish Spitz is the national dog of Finland.

Once you get to know him, the Finnish Spitz is playful and clownish, actively seeking attention and interaction. Loyalty and bravery are two of his trademarks, and when he is bonded with his family, there is little that can come between them. To this end, he can be protective and reserved with strangers. Socialization from a young age helps take the edge off, but this is just the way he is. This does not mean that he is shy or spooky; rather, he holds off on being overly emotive until he feels comfortable.
At home: 
Although the Finnish Spitz is neat and clean and can do well in an apartment, remember that the "barking bird dog" of Finland likes to express himself vocally. Consider the proximity of neighbors when choosing this breed. He is alert and makes a very good watchdog. The Finnish Spitz also loves being involved in outdoor activities with his family. His independent Nordic nature means that he should not be allowed off leash unless in a safely enclosed area. A fenced-in yard is a great way for him to explore and get some exercise. He does not enjoy the heat.
An athletic dog, the Finnish Spitz needs and enjoys his exercise. In the proper climate, he can make an excellent jogging companion. Whatever the weather, getting him outside to run, play and explore is absolutely necessary.
The Finnish Spitz is fond of food and may even learn tricks to get an extra tidbit from his family. He needs a high-quality diet that will help him maintain a proper weight.
The Finnish Spitz requires a patient trainer who has a good sense of humor. He is not especially inclined to do his family's bidding, however adoring he is of the people around him. He is an independent thinker, and his training should consist of regular socialization and frequent but short and motivational training sessions.
The Finnish Spitz gets along well with children and quickly becomes a favorite playmate. He is reserved with strangers, so socialization is important. If raised with other animals he can get along with them, although he can be argumentative with other dogs and has a tendency to chase smaller animals.
The average life span of the Finnish Spitz is 12 to 15 years. There are no reported breed-specific health concerns
Fun fact: 

In their homeland, Finnish Spitz are used to hunt capercaillie (similar to wild turkeys) and black grouses.

Grooming blurb: 
With his thick, downy undercoat, the Finnish Spitz is a seasonally heavy shedder who needs to be brushed often when shedding. Use a pin brush or a slicker brush. Otherwise, his plush coat requires little attention to retain its naturally healthy-looking volume and shine.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.