AKC Dog Breeds: Finnish Spitz

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Non Sporting  Group
Height:15-20 inches   Weight: 31-35 pounds  Color: Red/Gold, Red, Gold, White Markings

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 Spitz whole being shows liveliness, which is especially evident in the eyes, ears and tail. As the name suggests, the Finnish Spitz originates from Finland, and is in fact the national dog of Finland. Related to ancient hunting dogs, these dogs have been known by such names as Finnish Hunting Dogs and even Barking Bird Dogs. This breed is bred to hunt game birds such as grouse. The Finnish Spitz was registered by the AKC in 1991.

General Appearance
With his pointed muzzle, perked ears and glorious golden-red to honey-colored double coat, the Finnish Spitz looks quite a bit like a fox. The nose and lips are black and the eyes are dark and almond-shaped. The erect, pointed ears open towards the front of the dog. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The topline is level from the withers to the croup and the deep chest reaches to the elbows. The feet are round and cat-like. The plumed tail curls up over the back and down the side. The dog's body is squarish, with a proud carriage. The coat consists of thick, erect, medium-length hair with a thick under-layer of straight hair. The color may be red-brown, or a yellowish-red. Small white markings are permissible. Puppies are born much darker and acquire their reddish coat later.


A very independent and often aloof dog, the Finnish Spitz is a breed that is strong minded and lively. These dogs love to play and stay active, and physical and mental stimulation is a must in order to avoid boredom and associated destructive behavior. Although these dogs are very independent, they can also be very loyal and devoted to their families, and are known to be particularly fond of children. The Finnish Spitz may often bond with a particular person, but in general is a dog that loves the companionship of people and enjoys being a part of the family action. The Finnish Spitz has been bred for centuries as a "barking hunting dog", bringing the hunter to him with his voice. It should be noted by prospective Finnish Spitz owners that while an asset in hunting, barking could cause an unpleasant situation if one has neighbors in close proximity unless the dog is taught that unprovoked barking is not acceptable. He is more a warning dog than a guard dog and rarely bites. He has acute hearing and makes an excellent watchdog, as he is protective of his family and will advise you of any unusual happenings. The Finnish Spitz is a wonderful family dog, as well as a hunting dog. He has a special love for children and will spend countless hours romping and playing. If the kids get too rough, he will simply walk away. Although the Finnish Spitz gets along with most pets, he can be aggressive towards same sex dogs, and may chase smaller creatures such as birds and rodents. His aloof and conservative personality means that he will also be reserved with strangers in most cases. This is an intelligent breed that is quick to learn, which can make training easier, but this can be offset by his independence and willful streak, which means that assertiveness and confidence is needed by the owner. That said, the Finnish Spitz is a dog that is well suited to both experienced and inexperienced dog owners.


The grooming requirements for the Finnish Spitz are relatively low, despite the fact that he can be a high seasonal shedder, which means that he is not really suited to those with allergies. The Finnish Spitz is a meticulously clean dog, sometimes giving the impression that they groom themselves. They should be brushed weekly, especially during coat change and should only be bathed when needed.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The lifespan of the Finnish Spitz is around 13-15 years, and in general this is a hardy and healthy breed with few problems associated with it in terms of health.

Activity Level
Once matured they are great athletes and running companions. Finnish Spitz are a slow maturing breed, however, and do not reach full emotional and physical maturity until they are four years old. We do not recommend hard exercise with your puppy until he is a year old when most of his structural growth has been completed. Three walks a day plus playing in the yard is enough to keep a Finnish Spitz happy. Playing with other dogs and catching balls are among its favorite activities.


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 Finnish Spitz dog featured on dog encyclopedia
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