Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming.
Finnish Spitz want to be members of the family and are naturally protective. They are sensitive dogs and don’t do well in homes where there’s a lot of tension. But give them a loving atmosphere and include them in everything you do and they’ll become a loyal, lively, and fun-loving friend. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for an active breed that gets along well with every member of the family, learn all you need to know about the Finnish Spitz.
The Finnish Spitz barks. That’s the first thing you should know about him. He was developed to bark and that’s what he does. He uses many different sounds to communicate, and “talking” to you will be an important part of his life. Get this dog only if you are willing to teach him when it’s okay to bark and when it’s not. On the plus side, he’s an excellent watchdog and will always let you know if someone is approaching the house or something out of the ordinary is going on.
This is an active dog that needs daily exercise that will challenge him physically and mentally and prevent him from becoming destructive or noisy in an attempt to entertain himself. Plan to exercise him for 20 to 30 minutes at least once a day. He performs well in dog sports such as agility, flyball, obedience and rally, and is a sturdy and tireless playmate for kids.
This intelligent and highly trainable dog responds well to positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise and food rewards, but he is an independent thinker. Don’t expect unquestioning obedience from him and you won’t be disappointed. Keep training sessions short and fun so he doesn’t get bored.
If the presence of Finnish Spitz dust puppies would make you crazy, reconsider your decision to get this breed. He’s not difficult to groom, but he does shed a fair amount of hair. Brush his double coat weekly to keep it clean and remove dead hair. During spring and fall shedding seasons, daily brushing will help to keep excess hair under control. In addition, trim his nails as needed, brush his teeth, and keep the ears clean to prevent infections.
Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Finnish Spitz needs to live in the house. It’s an unhappy Finnish Spitz who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.
- Finnish Spitz are lively, high-energy dogs and require lots of daily exercise.
- These dogs are called Bark Pointers for a good reason. They love to bark! Train them at an early age to stop barking on command, or hope that you have tolerant neighbors!
- Because Finnish Spitz are hunting dogs, they should never be turned out in unsecured areas. A fenced yard is a necessity.
- If left outside alone for too long, Finnish Spitz will bark at everything they see unless trained at an early age not to do so.
- Finnish Spitz take a long time to mature mentally, and can be rather silly and puppyish until they are three to four years old.
- Hunting dogs in general can be independent thinkers, which makes them appear to be stubborn at times. Finnish Spitz are no different. Learn the proper training methods and motivations, however, and you’ll be pleased with your dog’s intelligence and willingness to learn.
- Finnish Spitz generally are good with other pets in the household, but can be aggressive with dogs they don’t know.
- This is a breed that tends to be aloof and suspicious of strangers. They aren’t good guard dogs, but they will alert you by barking if someone approaches your home.
- Finnish Spitz love to eat, especially treats. Since they can be somewhat manipulative, they will try to get as many treats from you as possible and can become overweight. Try giving them a carrot or a low-fat treat instead.
- Never buy a Finnish Spitz from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn’t provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and who breeds for sound temperaments.
- In Finland this breed is called the Finsk Spetz. Other names include Finnish Hunting Dog and Barking Bird Dog.
- When you look at a Finnish Spitz, you see a medium-size dog with a wedge-shaped head, small prick ears, a foxlike expression, a square body covered in beautiful red-gold coat and a tail that curls over the back. Males are larger with more coat.
- The Finnish Spitz was bred to track everything from squirrels and rodents to big game like bears.
- The Finnish Spitz’s ancestors were bred from Spitz-type dogs in central Russia over 2000 years ago.
Comparable Breeds: Siberian Husky, Chinese Shar-Pei
The Finnish Spitz developed from selectively bred Spitz-type dogs that inhabited central Russia several thousand years ago. Isolated Finno-Ugrian tribes in the far northern regions bred dogs according to their specific needs.
These small clans of woodsmen relied on their dogs to help them obtain food, and the excellent hunting ability of the Finnish Spitz made it a favorite choice.
By 1880, as advanced means of transportation brought diverse peoples and their dogs together, Finnish Spitzes mated with other breeds of dogs, and were becoming extinct as a distinct breed. At about that time, a Finnish sportsman from Helsinki named Hugo Roos observed the pure native Finnish Spitz while hunting in the northern forests. He realized the many virtues of the pure Finnish Spitz breed and decided to select dogs that were untainted examples of the genuine Finnish Spitz in order to try to revive the breed.Thirty years of careful breeding resulted in the modern Finnish Spitz; the dogs are descendents of his original foundation stock.
In the 19 th century, as mass transportation became more available and convenient, the Finns began crossing the Finkie with other breeds, so much so that by 1880 few examples remained of the original, unadulterated dog. Two hunters from Helsinki realized what was about to be lost and launched a successful effort to revive the breed, culminating in the breed’s recognition by the Finnish Kennel Club in 1892.
The Finnish Spitz was first imported to the United States in 1959. The Finnish Spitz Club of America was founded in 1975, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1988, adding it to the Non-Sporting Group. The Finnish Spitz ranks 158 th among the breeds registered by the AKC.
Nearly all dog breeds’ genetic closeness to the gray wolf is due to admixture.However, several Arctic dog breeds show a genetic closeness with the now-extinct Taymyr wolf of North Asia due to admixture. These breeds are associated with high latitudes – the Siberian husky and Greenland dog that are also associated with arctic human populations, and to a lesser extent the Shar Pei and Finnish spitz. An admixture graph of the Greenland dog indicates a best-fit of 3.5% shared material, however an ancestry proportion ranging between 1.4% and 27.3% is consistent with the data. This indicates admixture between the Taymyr wolf population and the ancestral dog population of these 4 high-latitude breeds. This introgression could have provided early dogs living in high latitudes with phenotypic variation beneficial for adaption to a new and challenging environment. It also indicates the ancestry of present-day dog breeds descends from more than one region
This Nordic breed is active and friendly. His alert nature makes him an excellent watchdog, and he’s protective of family members. He may be cautious toward strangers but should never be shy or aggressive.
He loves children and gets along with other animals, especially when he’s been raised with them. On the down side, he’s an independent thinker and can be a challenge to train. He may not be mentally and emotionally mature until he’s three or four years old.
Like every dog, Finnish Spitz need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Finnish Spitz puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
That said, the Finnish Spitz is a pretty healthy breed. Health problems that may be seen include diabetes, hypothyroidism, cataracts, an autoimmune skin condition called pemphigus foliaceous, and epilepsy.
Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs “vet checked” is not a substitute for genetic health testing.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Finnish Spitz at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life
The Finnish Spitz is not a lazy house dog. They were developed to be sturdy bird-hunting companions and they have a built-in need to run and keep their minds active. Their medium size may be appealing to condo or apartment dwellers, but the Finnish Spitz needs several hours of vigorous exercise every day in order to stave off boredom and destructiveness.
Active families are perfect for this breed, as they are a true family dog who will happily engage in group activities like jogging, hiking or biking. They adore children and will romp in the yard with kids for hours on end. Yards should be fenced in, as this hunter will take off after birds or small animals and aren’t likely to obey calls to return home. For this reason, farms are not an ideal locale for the Finnish Spitz.
Although the Finnish Spitz can survive outdoors in cool and temperate climates, it prefers living indoors, as it craves social contact. Because it is lively and active, the Finnish Spitz requires daily physical exercise such as a long on-leash walk or a run around the park. One should be careful, however, that this hunting breed does not go hunting on its own.
Its double coat requires occasional brushing every week and more often during the shedding season. The Finkie is not oily and generally remains clean.
The Finnish Spitz will do okay in an apartment and without a yard provided it gets enough exercise. It is relatively inactive indoors and prefers cool climates.
Their independent streak, coupled with a four-year strong puppyhood can make a Finnish Spitz difficult to train. Calm assertiveness is the best tack to take with this breed, as they don’t respond well to discipline. They can become easily bored with repetitive training exercises, so breeders and trainers recommend keeping sessions short and mixing up the routine.
Once leadership is established and basic obedience has been mastered, the Finnish Spitz should be graduated to advanced obedience classes or agility training. They are intelligent dogs and need to be mentally stimulated as much as they need to be physically exercised.
This handsome redhead has a double coat of a soft, dense undercoat covered by long, straight, harshly textured guard hairs. The Finnish Spitz is a naturally clean dog, but he does need some grooming. He should be brushed with a slicker brush at least once a week to minimize shed hair around your house, and bathed every three to four months.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually once a month. Brush the teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath. Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner. Begin grooming the Finnish Spitz when he is very young so he learns to accept the handling and fuss of grooming patiently.
Children And Other Pets
Finnish Spitz love children and will tolerate a lot, walking away when they’ve had too much. They’re sturdy enough that they’re not easily injured by toddlers whose motor skills aren’t fully developed.
That said, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how good-natured, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Finnish Spitz get along well with other dogs and cats, especially if they’re raised with them, but they can be aggressive toward dogs they don’t know. And pet birds might want to watch their back around them.
Is this breed right for you?
Getting along well with other animals and children, the Finnish Spitz is an awesome addition to families. Regardless of his loud bark, the breed is well-suited to apartment life if given daily exercise and walks.
Preferring the indoors, a small yard will do just fine for this dog. It’s best that the Finnish Spitz receive a good amount of leadership and training from his owner to avoid poor behavioral traits. Do not let him believe he’s the dominant member of the household or he’ll act negatively. In addition, this dog requires a good amount of grooming and is a normal shedder.
Did You Know?
This is one dog who can truly lay claim to the title King of the Barkers. The Finnish Spitz, the national dog of Finland, was developed to be a barking hunting dog. That is, he trails game, and when he finds it, he barks until the hunter arrives to bag it. One Finnish Spitz each year is chosen for his hunting prowess to be King of the Barkers.
A dream day in the life of a Finnish Spitz
A sweet and mild-tempered dog, he may wake you up with a bark if he hears something out of the ordinary. Spending his day inside with the family, the Finnish Spitz will be happy to let the kiddos roll about and roughhouse with him. Playing quietly with his toys, he will bark when he feels he’s protecting the security of his home. Running inside and outside the house, he loves to use his doggie door. Going for a short walk when you return home, he’ll be happy to end his day in the comfort of his family.