Temperament: Friendly, Good-Natured, Lively
- Height: 17.5-20 inches (male), 15.5-18 inches (female)
- Weight: 25-33 pounds (male), 20-28 pounds (female)
- Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
- Group: Non-Sporting Group
The lively Finnish Spitz, the flame-colored, foxy-faced breed from the “Land of 60,000 Lakes,” is a small but fearless hunting dog whose unique style of tracking and indicating quarry has earned him the nickname the “Barking Bird Dog.”
The Finnish Spitz presents a fox-like picture. The breed has long been used to hunt small game and birds. The pointed muzzle, erect ears, dense coat and curled tail denotes its northern heritage. The Finnish Spitzs whole being shows liveliness, which is especially evident in the eyes, ears and tail. Males are decidedly masculine without coarseness. Bitches are decidedly feminine without over-refinement.
The Finnish Spitz’s most important characteristics are its square, well-balanced body that is symmetrical with no exaggerated features, a glorious red-gold coat, his bold carriage and brisk movement.
bout the Finnish Spitz
The balanced, squarely symmetrical Finnish Spitz will stand not more than 20 inches at the shoulder and are easily recognized by their foxy face and prick ears projecting a lively expression, and a curving plumed tail. Their dense coat of glorious golden-red which is never monochromatic gives them the Finnish Spitz “Glow.” Finkies or Finns, as they are nicknamed, move with a bold and brisk gait.
Finkies make excellent alert-dogs, wary but not shy with strangers. This is a vocal breed – in Finland, owners hold contests to crown a “King Barker” – and true Finn lovers are more delighted than annoyed by their breed’s yodeling and range of vocalisation. Finkies are eager canine athletes and eye-catching show dogs known to be smart, sensitive, and captivating companions.
NUTRITION “The Finnish Spitz’s metabolism is extremely efficient for a primitive breed,” notes one breed expert. This means that overfeeding the breed will result in obesity fairly quickly. High-quality dry dog food works well to maintain good condition and weight. Treats can be useful in training but should be given sparingly. Give table scraps sparingly as well, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not.
GROOMING The Finnish Spitz is a “natural” breed that some owners refer to as “wash and wear.” The breed standard is very specific: “No trimming of the coat except for feet is allowed. Whiskers shall not be trimmed. Any alteration of the coat by colouring, dying, trimming, scissoring or other means must be severely faulted.” Lightly spraying the coat with water and brushing the coat using a pin brush every two to three days is adequate. Hot blow-drying will dry the outer coat. During their twice-yearly shedding season, daily brushing or a bath followed by a cool-temperature blow-dry and brushing will speed up this process, and a good quality comb and a slicker brush are very useful in getting out the undercoat. The shedding is more severe in an intact female. The coat of a spayed female can become softer and denser and can take more grooming.
EXERCISE Finnish Spitz were bred to hunt all day in dense woods, giving them the stamina to range far, making a solidly fenced yard a must. A Finnish Spitz must never be kept away from his people, as he becomes deeply bonded with his family. They require a moderately high degree of exercise. A daily walk, long or short, on a leash is always a reward in and of itself.
TRAINING This is a very intelligent breed, and as such they can present a challenge to train. Keep sessions short and fun, being generous with praise and reward. Food seems to be the universal motivator. They’ll let you know when they’ve had enough. Early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended for the new puppy.
HEALTH Fortunately, thanks to thoughtful breeding, Finnish Spitz in the U.S. and Canada are a generally healthy breed and don’t present many health issues. Responsible breeders screen potential breeding stock for patella, elbows, hips, and eyes, with the numbers of affected dogs very low. New owners are urged to have a conversation with their breeders about care for growing puppies, including the need to limit vigorous exercise, and avoiding early spay and neuter until maturity (3–5 years) is reached.