Finnish Spitz Guide

Non-Sporting Dog Breeds

The Finnish spitz has a foxlike appearance, incorporating the typical traits of a Northern breed: small erect ears, dense double coat and curled tail. It is square-proportioned, and without exaggeration, quick and light on its feet. It has the conformation and temperament to hunt actively and tirelessly under the coldest of conditions. Its double coat, consisting of a short soft undercoat and harsh straight outer coat about 1 to 2 inches long, provides insulation from the snow and cold, allowing it to hunt tirelessly under the coldest of conditions.

Like most spitz breeds, the Finkie is independent and somewhat stubborn, although it is more hunting oriented than other spitz breeds. It is alert, inquisitive and playful, but it is also sensitive, tending to be devoted to one person. It is a breed conscious of its place in the dominance hierarchy, and some males can try to be domineering. It is good with children, and generally good with other pets, but it can be aggressive to strange dogs. It is reserved, even aloof or suspicious, with strangers. In keeping with its barking heritage, the Finkie is proud of its barking ability and likes to show it off — loudly!

AKC RANKING 141

FAMILY spitz, Northern (hunting)

AREA OF ORIGIN Finland

DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times

ORIGINAL FUNCTION hunting birds and small mammals

TODAY'S FUNCTION hunting

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 17.5-20 Weight: 31-36

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 15.5-18 Weight: 23-29

OTHER NAME suomenpystykorva, Finsk spets

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Moderately protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance High tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

This is an active and lively breed that needs daily exercise, either a long walk on leash or a run in a fenced area. As Finkies are hunters by nature, care must be taken that they do not go off on a hunt by themselves. The Finkie can live outdoors in temperate and cool climates, but it enjoys living indoors. Its double coat needs brushing one or two times weekly, more often when shedding. It is not oily, so the Finkie has little doggy odor; in fact, the Finkie is a particularly clean breed.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: CHD, patellar luxation, epilepsy
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 12 – 14 years
The Finnish spitz originated from ancestral Northern spitz dogs that accompanied early Finno-Ugrian tribes as they journeyed across Eurasia to Finland. These dogs probably originated as camp followers and watchdogs, later developing into hunting dogs. The breed remained pure, not by design but by isolation until the early 1800s. When other groups of people brought their dogs to the region in the 1800s, interbreeding almost obliterated the pure Finnish spitz. In the late 1800s, two Finnish sportsmen spotted some dogs that had apparently not been interbred, and they were so impressed that they determined to rescue the imperiled breed. Early names for the breed included suomenpystykorva ("Finnish cock-eared dog") and Finnish barking bird dog. When it first came to England it was called the Finsk spets (derived from its Swedish name), but in 1891 the name was officially changed to Finnish spitz. The breed gained its nickname of Finkie after its arrival in England in the 1920s. It wasn't until the 1960s that Finkies began to be bred in the United States. The breed was officially admitted into the nonsporting group in 1988. Although prized primarily as a pet in America, it is still used for hunting in Finland. There Finkies hunt the capercaille (a turkeylike bird) and black grouse, although they will hunt virtually anything from insects to elk if given the chance. The dogs work by ranging out from the hunter, locating the bird, and barking loudly. If the bird moves, they follow it until it lands and then resume barking. Some claim that the barking mesmerizes the game. Conformation champions in Finland must first prove themselves in the field; their barking talents are so valued that they select a "king barker" each year. The Finnish spitz is the national dog of Finland.