Meet the Breed: The Finnish Spitz



  • Height: 15"- 20”
  • Weight: 31-35 pounds
  • Historical function: Herding
  • Modern function: Herding, companion
  • AKC classification: Non-Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The Finnish Spitz resembles a fox, particularly with the head, though the tail is in a corkscrew with the plume carried high over the back. The nose, lips, and eye rims are black and the eyes dark. The coat is typically a golden red; however, puppies are born dark grey, black, brown, or fawn with lots of black and the coat color changes as the pup grows to the reddish color. A small amount of white may be present on the double coat as well. 

History of the Breed:

The Finnish Spitz is the national dog of Finland. They were brought over from the Volga river area of central Russia about 2000 years ago where they were treasured as the barking bird dogs. Several Finnish patriotic songs feature lyrics about the breed. They were used to hunt small game, alerting the hunters of the prey by barking in a yodeling-type fashion and pointing their heads. This breed is popular in Finland and Scandinavian countries but are fairly rare in the U.S., probably less popular because of their tendency to bark.   

Finnish Spitz Stamp from Finland, 1989


The Finnish Spitz is a lively, cheerful, intelligent dog that makes a good companion for children and the elderly. This dog can try to assert himself as a pack leader, which can lead to dominance towards other dogs and excessive barking. It is imperative that this dog be adequately trained with calm confident human leadership to ensure this dog becomes the well-behaved companion that he is generally known to be. As the dog was bred to bark, this tendency will never be fully trained out, but can be limited with patient training. This dog is a slow developer, not reaching full maturity until age 2-3, so patience is required with consistent training for a well-adjusted dog.

  • Best suited for: Almost any active family with a sense of humor and patience for this happy-go-lucky breed.
  • Preferred living conditions: This is an active dog that is not suited for apartment living mostly because of their barking behavior. Needs a yard to explore and play in.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This dog has no doggy odor and the coat is clean. Regular brushing and combing is still required to remove dead hair. This is a seasonally heavy shedder.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk. Makes an excellent jogging companion. When properly exercised, this dog is content and mellow.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy.

Breed Club Links: Finnish Spitz Club of America Perfect Pairings: Miller's Forge Vista Shedding Slicker Brush

Have any stories about a Finnish Spitz? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Noel Zia Lee.

Stamp photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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