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Finnish Spitz

The Finnish Spitz is a medium sized dog with a thick coat, foxy face, pricked ears and tail curled over the back that is typical of the Spitz type. Attractive and lively, the Finnish spitz should be hard and lean under the luxurious coat, with males having a thicker coat and more prominent ruff than females.

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 14 – 16kg
Height: 39 – 50cm
Colours: The coat comes in shades of red-gold or red brown with a lighter coloured, soft
undercoat that almost makes the dog glow in the right light
Size: Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Hound


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 4/5
Finnish Spitz in the forest


The Finnish Spitz is lively and alert, bold and brave with a keen desire to hunt, and to bark about anything they have seen. Loyal with loved ones and said to be excellent with children, they are clever and quick witted and require consistency in training. In Finland they are trained only to bark at their specific quarry and to ignore anything else so it is evidently possible to teach them not to bark indiscriminately, but this will require work.

Finnish Spitz standing on the rock

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Finland

Bred to hunt by scent and sight, the Finnish Spitz has been a hunting dog for centuries and is still used today in Finland to track capercaillie and black grouse. In the past they also hunted large game including elk (moose) and bear.

Their position in the hound group in the UK is a little unusual as this Spitz type breed actually performs a HPR (Hunt, Point, Retrieve) role in the field. They track game by scent, then point at the game up a tree whilst barking softly and waving their tail which lulls the game into a false sense of security and alerts the hunter. As the hunter gets closer the dog barks louder and moves around the tree. The bird wishing to keep an eye on this suspicious yet mesmerising creature turns to keep it in view, and then the hunter can sneak up quietly and shoot the bird!

Due to improvements in transport and the increased mixing of people and their dogs, the Finnish Spitz was bred with other similar types and the breed was almost lost as a result. In the 1880s, two Finnish foresters, Hugo Sandberg and Hugo Roos set out to save the breed and by 1892, they succeeded in having them recognised by the Finnish Kennel Club under the name Suomenpystykorva. Roos was actively involved in breeding, showing and judging the Finnish Spitz until the 1920s, and today the breed is secure with nearly 2000 puppies registered annually in Finland.

Health and Common Issues

Generally a healthy dog, the Finnish Spitz suffers no significant breed-related disorders.

The breed club monitor the health of the breed carefully and should be contacted for the most up-to-date information and details of any DNA or additional testing they recommend. Breed Clubs can be found on the Kennel Club website.

Exercise Needs

An hour a day or more will keep the Finnish Spitz happy, but this is an intelligent and independent breed so walks must be interesting and involve training and games, not just plodding around the same route day in, day out. They love cold weather and won’t notice rain or wind under their thick coat, so don’t think you’ll get a rain-check or a snow-day!

Space Requirements

The Finnish Spitz is small and neat and won’t take up a lot of room. They can shed a considerable amount of hair, and though this hair cleans up relatively easily, it should be taken into consideration. Due to their vocal and prey-driven nature, a home in the country with a very secure garden would be best, with access to a variety of interesting walks and secure off lead areas so they can run safely.

Nutrition and Feeding

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 them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.

Grooming Finnish Spitz

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. 

Training Finnish Spitz

As a working breed they are trainable with the right motivation, positive reinforcement and consistency. Understanding what motivates the Finnish Spitz and finding ways to meet those needs will really help. They love to use their noses, so scent work will appeal to them and be an excellent way to engage their brains. Pay attention to training a good recall from an early age, and teach them to be quiet on cue for those frequent times when they feel the need to shout at something!

Best Family Dog Breeds

Although the Finnish Spitz is said to be excellent with children, care should be taken. They require plenty of exercise and training and therefore may not suit a busy young family who have other time-consuming commitments. Older children will enjoy training and playing with the Finnish Spitz and having them as part of their family.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • In Scandinavia there are official barking competitions run for Finnish Spitz to find the ‘King of the Barkers’, and they don’t just bark loudly, they bark fast. Finnish Spitz have been recorded barking at 160 barks per minute. Do consider whether your neighbours will appreciate this type of achievement before getting one for yourself!
  • The breed has been known by many names over the years including Suomen Pystykorva, Finnish Barking Birddog, Finsk Spets, Spitz Finnico, Spitz Finlandes, Finse Spits and Finnenspitz.
  • The ancestors of the Finnish Spitz date back several thousand years.
  • The Finnish Spitz is the national dog of Finland and is actually referenced in many Finnish patriotic songs.
  • This breed takes a long time to mature and generally retain a puppylike behaviour until 3-4 years of age.

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