This medium-sized dog has a typical spitz appearance (with the fox-like prick ears, thick coat and bushy tail curled over the back). Adult dogs are 43-50cm tall, with females 39-45cm. Fully grown, they weigh 14-16kg. The coat is red-gold or red-brown on the back, with lighter areas and a lighter coloured undercoat (see the breed standard for the full details).
The Finnish Spitz dog breed has been a hunting dog for centuries and is still used today in his native country, where he tracks capercaillie and black grouse and barks to alert the hunter to the birds' whereabouts. In the past, he has helped to hunt large game, including elk and bear. His vocal and courageous nature also made him ideal as a guard dog. A very popular dog in Finland today, this national breed was almost extinct in the latter half of the 19th century, as improved transport meant the Finnish Spitz bred with other dogs. Later, dedicated breeders worked hard to safeguard his future.
The friendly, lively Finnish Spitz is ever-alert, bold and valiant, with a keen hunting spirit. Although quite independent, he is loyal to his loved ones and enjoys the company of children, making him a good family dog. He is naturally vocal, and will need to be trained to 'shush' on request.
Generally a healthy dog, the Finnish Spitz suffers no significant breed-related disorders.
An adult Finnish Spitz will need about an hour's daily exercise, though he will happily take more. He revels in cold weather, as you'd expect, so fair-weather dog walkers need not apply! Be prepared for this dog's hunting instincts to kick in when off-lead, so only exercise in safe, non-traffic areas and ensure that his recall is reliable.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
This Finnish Spitz's medium-length double coat consists of a thick undercoat, which is quite short, covered with a coarse topcoat. The hair on the body is medium-length, with longer feathering (on the tail and back of the legs). The coat is shorter on the head and front of the legs. The ruff (around the neck and shoulders) is more profuse in male dogs. A twice-weekly brush is more than sufficient – though daily attention will be needed when the coat sheds.