Finnish Hound (Suomenajokoira)

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tricolor: black, rich tan & white
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great companion               
  • excellent hunter
  • versatile
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • training can be challenging

The Finnish Hound is a handsome and incredibly effective hunting dog with its homeland in Finland. It enjoys well-deserved popularity among Scandinavian hunters for its sharp nose, persistence, sonorous voice and capability to work on a harsh terrain and in a hostile climate of its native country. Despite its excellent working qualities it hasn’t yet gained many fanciers in the rest of the world.


The first Finnish Hound appeared in the XIX century as a result of prolonged and coordinated breeding efforts of multiple Finnish breeders. The German and Sweden hounds contributed the most in the development of the breed but it’s almost certain that some Spitz-type dogs were used in its creation. Originally this dog was exclusively bred for its working abilities. Indeed it was characterised for supreme sense of smell, iron resoluteness and remarkable intelligence. Furthermore unlike other types of scent hounds it was well-adapted for adverse weather condition and harsh terrains of Finland.

In 1889, the Suomen Kennelliitto (Finnish Kennel Club) was grounded. Its strong intention was to promote the invention of a distinct breed of pure-blooded scent hound native to Finland. Since then scent hound breeders devoted considerably more time and efforts to keeping their animals as pure as possible than they had done this before. Gradually these dogs became known as Suomenojokoira, which means approximately the Finnish Hound or the Finnish Bracke. This dog was perfectly accommodated for hunting particularly in Finland and it quickly supplanted the majority of other scent hound breeds in this country.

For many years the development of the Finnish Hound experienced stagnation due to the ceaseless political turmoil in its native Finland. This situation began to change in the wake of the World War I when Finland regained its independence from the Russia. By 1932, an official standard for the breed was developed and it received complete approval of the Finnish Kennel Club. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) acknowledged the breed shortly afterwards.

The Finnish Hound has immense popularity among hunters in Finland. The dog is also highly favoured by Sweden hunters who praise it for its versatility. Thus common quarry of the dog is fox and rabbit but it’s oftentimes used for hunting on many other types of game for instance lynx and moose.

The population of the Finnish Hound is well-established in Scandinavian countries but it can hardly be found elsewhere in the world. Nevertheless the United Kennel Club (UKC) gave its full recognition to the breed in 1996.
The Finnish Hound has insufficient experience as a companion dog and therefore it’s hard to make any proven generalisation about its behaviour in home surroundings. But according to some testaments it tends to exhibit calm and reserved demeanour in communication with its family. Moreover this dog longs for constant companionship of people it loves and feels intensely uneasy if left alone for lengthy periods. It’s generally fine with children provided it has been timely socialised with them.

The Finnish Hound must interact problem-free with an unfamiliar hunter so human aggression is highly undesirable in this breed. So countless generations of selective breeding has ensured that it’s rather tolerable to the presence of strange people. Some specimens are predisposed to become shy and somewhat nervous when they encounter stranger. Some members will also make reasonable watchdogs but this dog is too friendly to become a good guardian.

The Finnish Hound was compelled to coordinate its actions with dozens of other dogs during a hunt. That’s why the breeders strongly disfavoured any kind of canine aggression in these breed. Thus correctly socialised dog will be mostly accepting of other canine animals. Virtually it strives for the life-long company of one or more another dog. Despite its seemingly friendly character the Finnish Hound poses a great danger for other species of animals including a home cat. Its immensely strong prey drive purports that some specimens will never be able to co-habituate peacefully with a home cat with which they have been even raised together.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• cerebellar ataxia;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• demodex mange;
• rapid weight gain;
• obesity;
• chronic ear infections;
• eyes problems.

The Finnish Hound requires minimal attendance. Its owner should brush its short coat a few times a week. This dog is an average shedder.

Big floppy ears of the Finnish Hound draw dirt and debris, which create favourable environment for development of irritations and infections. So its owner should regularly inspect the dog’s ears and clean them as necessary.

The Finnish Hound is a rather trainable breed but only to a certain degree. It soaks up effortlessly everything that concerns hunting. Additionally this dog usually easily learns basic manners and commands. As to some more complicated tricks it’s apt to display major resistance, which can be explained by its natural stubbornness and strong will.

The success of the training of the Finnish Hound considerably depends on training techniques. One should expect much better results if this breed is motivated with abundance of praise and tasty treats. Anyway only patience and kindness are suitable for the work with this dog.

The Finnish Hound is known for its inconceivable endurance and determination in a hunt and it remains quite an energetic dog even if it’s kept as a purely companion animal. Its owner should take it for a daily walk of at least an hour long. This breed will gladly and tirelessly run beside you or your bike but it would rather prefer to spend some time running and playing in a safely enclosed area.

Finnish Hounds who are not provided with sufficient outlets for their vigorous energy are prone to develop serious behavioural deviations for example destructiveness, aggressiveness, unstoppable barking and over excitability.