Finnish Spitz (Suomenpystykorva)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
bright red or golden red, with lighter shades, small white markings possible
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
The Finnish Spitz (nicknamed the Finkie) is a fox-like dog that is still widely used as a hunting companion in its native country, Finland. This is a lively, friendly, playful, sensitive and good-natured dog that is also independent and stubborn. Its loyalty makes it a great family pet as well as a good companion for children.
The Finnish Spitz was originally named as the Suomenpystrykorva (the Finnish Cock-Eared Dog) or the Finnish Barking Birddog. It was brought to Finland over 2000 years ago
from the Volga River Area of Central Russia (now it is Finland). This dog is considered the National dog of Finland, and is even mentioned in several patriotic songs. The Finnish Spitz was bred to hunt a wide variety of game from squirrels and other rodents to bears and wild boar.

The breed was developed from dogs that owned different Finnish tribes, and therefore the early breed members were the pure-bred dogs with strong hunting instincts. The Finnish Spitz remained pure until the 1870’s when a French explorer De La Martiniere documented the breed for the first time. By the 1880’s, Finnish Spitz began to be interbred with different dogs that travelled with their owners to the area.

Hugo Sandberg and his hunting companion Hugo Ross decided to save the native breed of Finnish Spitz from almost certain extinction. They acquired several members of the breed, and began to develop a pure line over the next ten years. Sandberg was the first to create a formal breed standard by the end of the XIX century.

In 1892, the Finnish Kennel Club (FKC) registered the first Finnish Spitz. The first official breed standard based on Sandberg’s article written for the Sporten magazine, was established in 1897.

In 1927 the first Finnish Spitz arrived to the British Isles. In 1935 the Kennel Club (England) officially registered the breed. In America the first Finnish Spitz appeared in 1959, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the breed only in 1988.

The Finnish Spitz is a wonderful family companion. This breed is lively, good-natured, confident, smart, loving and affectionate. Although the Finkie is quite independent, it will form strong bonds with family members. This is a very loyal dog that enjoys being a part of all family activities. The Finnish Spitz makes a good watchdog but it is not shy or aggressive. This is a very sensitive breed so try not to argue in front of your dog.

The Finnish Spitz loves children and makes a gentle companion for them, as it tends to simply walk away when irritated. This breed is not human aggressive but can be aloof with strange people. The properly socialized dog will get along with other dogs and animals, but it tends to see birds as a prey.

Health Problems
The most common health problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia (CHD);
• elbow dysplasia;
• patellar luxation;
• epilepsy;
• achalasia;
• deafness;
• progressive retinal atrophy (PRA);
• pulmonary stenosis.

The Finnish Spitz is a low-maintenance breed as it has a self-cleaning coat. Brush and comb you dog 2-3 times per week. This breed sheds seasonally and a lot. During these periods, it is recommended to brush your dog's coat daily. Bathe the Finnish Spitz 3-4 times per year. To avoid irritations and infections, check and clean the dog’s eyes and ears, and also trim the nails regularly.

The Finnish Spitz is an intelligent dog that is quite easy to train, but it can become stubborn and wilful if it is overly anxious or fearful. Training must be assertive, calm, creative and short as this breed tends to get bored quickly. Use only positive reinforcement and rewards. You also have to be patient because the Finnish Spitz matures slowly and will understand new commands only after 25-40 repetitions. This breed is independent by nature, so your dog must respect you and understand that you are the leader.

One of the major problems for Finkie's owners is barking. This breed is known as the “Barking Bird Dog”. The Finnish Spitz will bark often and loud. You can learn to control this problem but training must begin as early as possible.

The Finnish Spitz requires plenty of exercise and has excellent stamina. This breed needs to be taken on a long daily walk and will enjoy running around in a large yard. The Finkie loves to run and will make a wonderful jogging and cycling companion. It is important to keep your dog on a leash as this hunting breed may simply wander away following the scent. The Finnish Spitz will also enjoy playing fetch, Frisbee, swimming, hiking, or any other active adventure. These dogs prefer cold climates and will definitely enjoy playing in a snow.