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Finnish Spitz Dog Breed Profile

Finnish Spitz

Other Names
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
Finnish Spitz are bred in their native country for use as bird dogs, where, in the forests of Finland, their acute senses are utilised to find and alert the huntsman to the presence of his prey (generally the Capercaillie or Wood Grouse). They are good companions and seen in the show ring.  
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
£4-7.50 per week
Feeding Requirements
The average weekly food costs will be around 5.00. The Finnish Spitz isn't a greedy dog and one meal per day is quite adequate. Occasional treats may be given, such as rawhide chews (under supervision) and dog biscuits. 
Other Expenses
Other than the initial purchase price of around £400-£500, and the usual vaccination/worming costs, the Finnish Spitz is a relatively low maintenance breed with no need for expensive grooming equipment. 
9 - 15 years
The average lifespan for the Finnish Spitz is around 12 years old, but it is by no means unusual for them to live well in to their teens. 
Average Litter Size
The average litter size is 4, which helps to explain why so few are registered at the Kennel Club each year. 
General Physical Description
In appearance this breed has the typical Spitz look, characterised by sharply pricked ears, dark almond-shaped eyes, pitch-black nose, and almost wedge shaped head with scissor bite. They have a double coat, the outer layer of which is medium length.

Height Min Max
Bitch 39cm (15") 45cm (18")
Dog 43cm (17") 50cm (20")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 14kg (31lbs) 15kg (33lbs)
Dog 15kg (33lbs) 16kg (35lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Bitches should measure between 39-45cm at the withers and weigh around 14/15kgs whilst dogs should be between 43-50cm and weigh in at around 15/16kgs. 
Very rarely: luxating patella (slipping kneecap), epilepsy, and hereditary cataract. Fortunately these conditions are something of a rarity due to careful and responsible breeding and the Finnish Spitz is generally a very healthy breed.  
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
The national dog of Finland, the Finnish Spitz is one of the best-kept secrets of the dog world here in the UK, with very few puppies registered with The Kennel Club each year. The early origins of the Suomenpystykorva are thought to have started thousands of years ago, when the Finno-Ugrian people living in Central Russia are known to have had Spitz-type dogs. At the beginning of the Christian era one part of this original tribe, the proto-Finnic tribe, moved ever deeper into Finland where they settled to live with their dogs. These dogs living in backwoods villages rarely came into contact with the dogs of other regions and so remained quite pure, and developed in accordance with the hunter's requirements. The first documented evidence of the breed was in l875 from French explorer De La Martiniere, who describes the "Deep Red Dogs" he came across during his travels as far north as the Muurmanni coast. In 1889/90, the Finnish Kennel Club was formed. Forest Officer Hugo Richard Sandberg produced the first informative description of the breed including hunting abilities, conformation and temperament. The FKC later approved Sandberg's suggestions. In December 1892 the Finnish Kennel Club organized a speciality show for the breed in Oulu as several dogs who had received prizes at the FKC's two previous shows had come from this area. Out of an entry of 57 dogs, 28 bitches and 8 puppies, the winner was a dog called Kekki who was included in the first breed book of the FKC 1889-1893. It was in 1897 that a new breed standard was confirmed and the name was changed to Finnish Spitz. The Finnish Spitz was first introduced into the UK in the 1920s, and is relatively popular in Sweden, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. 
This is a very intelligent breed with highly developed senses. They are not slavishly obedient and always retain a certain amount of independence; however, they are reasonably easy to train when this is reinforced with kindness and common sense. Finnish Spitz have successfully competed in both obedience and agility competitions which proves their ability to work and learn.< 
Show Characteristics
A judge of the breed will be looking for a generally square outline with the length of the body equalling the height of the dog when viewed in profile. The tail should curve forward from the root, then downward and backward in a graceful arch. The forequarters should be straight and strong with medium bone, the hindquarters again strong with only moderate angulation. The paws should be rounded much like a cat's. The chest should be deep. The skull should be slightly longer than it is broad, with a moderate stop or slightly arched forehead. The ears should be small, neat, cocked and sharply pointed. Eyes should be preferably dark and almond shaped. The whole expression and bearing of the dog should give the impression of liveliness and eagerness.  
Country Of Origin
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
40 - 60 minutes per day.
Generally an adult Finnish Spitz will take as much exercise as you care to give it, but will be quite content and remain fit with a minimum of a 40 minute walk and a well fenced garden to run in. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
The Finnish Spitz is not generally suited to being a kennel dog and likes nothing better than to be part of the family. He is faithful, affectionate and lively in nature and requires firm but sympathetic handling to become the model pet. He is inquisitive and playful, providing great fun and companionship, making this breed well-suited to family life. 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
The Spitz has a self-cleaning coat but a regular brush over and a comb through is still necessary. Needs to be brushed daily when moulting to free the undercoat (usually for a few weeks twice a year). The breed is exceptionally clean with NO doggy odour so no bathing is required. 
They can vary in colour from a deep chestnut through to a pale gold. The tail is of a lighter colour than the outer coat and is curled. 
Suffers From Allergies

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