Finnish Spitz

Breed Group: Non-Sporting

Temperament and Behavior

A Finnish Spitz is can easily be mistaken for a fox when seen out in the field. They are a small, vocal dog filled with energy. Even though they are an intelligent breed that is independent by nature, they are people-oriented so need a significant amount of companionship. Although all family members are accepted, they often prefer one over all others. They are good with children, especially when raised with them. WIth strangers, most are quite cautious. They can be domineering, with other dogs, especially when of the same sex, so caution should be used when socializing them with other dogs. They may also be predatory toward rodents and birds. They thoroughly enjoy being active outside, with a special love for playing in the snow. Provided their exercise needs are met, they are calm indoors. If his exercise needs are not met, he is likely to become destructive. They are sharp-eyed, vocal breed with keen hearing that will raise the roof when any trespass occurs on his territory, but they are not a strong guardian. If left outside, neighbors may find is barking disturbing, especially if your household has numerous visitors of either a human or creature type. The Finnish Spitz is a sensitive breed that will not do well in a home with a great deal of tension or shouting. They are also a very clean dog that washes in a manner similar to a cat.

Physical Characteristics

Finish Spitz have a thick, double coat comes in all solid shades of brown, gold, and red. A relatively small dog, they only weigh from 22 to 36 pounds and measure 15 to 20 inches at the withers. Sometimes mistaken for a fox at a distance, its body has a square profile, with a bushy tail, a face with a pointed muzzle, and small, fox-like ears. Finnish Spitz are very clean dogs possessing almost no doggie odor. The coat must be brushed regularly, at least twice a week and more when shedding, which is plentiful. A Nordic breed, they love cold, even bitter cold weather, but do much less well in heat.

Trainer's Notes

The Finnish Spitz need a great deal of early socialization to make sure their naturally hesitant nature does not blossom into shyness. As a result of their independent nature, the Finnish Spitz will often ignore commands. They need firm but gentle training sessions that are short and free of repetition. To compound things, these dogs do not fully mature until 3 1/2 or 4 years old, which slows the training process. Quick and full of energy, they can be great fun to train provided small accomplishments are celebrated. Not a good choice for someone who wants an always immediately obedient dog, The Finnish Spitz makes a fair choice for a beginning trainer, provided they can work within the dog’s abilities.

Photo © by Muu-karhu available under the GNUFDL
Finnish Spitz

Finish Spitz


The Finnish Spitz is a very hardy dog with few health concerns. Hip Dysplasia affects about 5% of the breed with even fewer suffering from Patellar Luxation. A few contract adult onset Epilepsy. The average lifespan for a Finnish Spitz is 12 to 14 years.


Although the Finnish Spitz is common throughout Scandinavia, its popularity in the United States is low. The American Kennel Club ranks the Finnish Spitz 148th in popularity. Less than 100 dogs are registered with the AKC each year. Finding a breeder is challenging and you will undoubtedly be put on a waiting list for a puppy. Only occasionally are rescue dogs available.

Breed History

The Finnish Spitz was a familiar dog in Finland at the time of the Vikings. It comes from a long line of Northern Spitz-type dogs. However, the breed declined in popularity for many years, barely being saved from extinction in the late 1800s. The breed was unknown in the United States until the 1960s and it was not a recognized by the AKC until 1988. Originally bred for hunting, the Finish Spitz is still often used as a bird dog in Finland. In America, it is normally a companion animal.

Additional Information

This dog is an exceptional barker! As a hunting dog, it tracks birds until they roost in a tree and then calls the hunter by barking. If the bird again takes flight, the dog stops barking and follows the bird only barking again when the bird lights, letting the hunter know where to find his prey. As the national dog of Finland, each year the country holds a contest where it crowns the “king barker”. These dogs have been known to bark up to 160 times a minute during these competitions. The National Breed Club is the Finnish Spitz Club of America.

Is A Finnish Spitz THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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