Finnish Spitz

This breed has a coat somewhat like a cross between that of a chow chow and a fox. Because of its unique appearance and its ability to hunt, the Finnish spitz has gained great popularity in its homeland.

In Finland this breed is called the Suomenpystykorva, or Suomalainen Pistykorven, which translates as the Finnish Cock-eared Dog. It is also known as the Finnish Hunting Dog, the Finnish Spets, the Finsk Spets or the Loulou Finois. In England it has the colloquial name of the Finkie or Finsky, and in its homeland it is sometimes referred to as the Barking Bird Dog. It was originally used to hunt all kinds of game,from squirrels to hears, hut later it was employed more against birds.


This ancient, golden-coloured breed, the most popular dog in its native Finland, began its existence in the far north of Scandinavia. It then spread gradually south and became so common in southern Finland that it suffered from widespread cross-breeding and started to lose its pure-bred quality. In the second half of the 19th century the situation was becoming so serious that a Finnish sportsman, Hugo Roos, set off on expeditions to the more remote corners of the far north to search for dogs that were untainted examples of the genuine Finnish Spitz.

He was successful and was able to collect together some high-quality dogs that he brought south to form the foundation stock for a controlled revival of the breed. He continued careful line-breedmg with these dogs for 30 years, and most modern examples of the Finnish Spitz are descendants of his dogs.

In 1892 a formal standard for the breed was established and it was soon on the way to recovery. By the 1920s it had been accepted by the Finnish Kennel Club. Its fame then spread to other countries and in 1935 it was recognized by the Kennel Club in London. In 1974 the Canadian Kennel Club followed suit, and in the United States the AKC did so in 1987.

In modern times it has also become a popular household companion and a prized show dog, and there is a special annual contest to find the champion Finnish Spitz in its native country. Indeed, the breed is now recognized as the National Dog of Finland.


In personality the breed has been dubbed "a big dog in a small dog's body". It has also been described as having a strangely feline quality. Characterized as sensitive, cautious, strong-willed and independent, with a strong urge to be the "top dog" in any human family, it is an animal that does not take kindly to being fussed over or fondled.


The Finnish spitz has a deep chest; a well tucked-up abdomen; a pointed muzzle; erect ears; short muscular jaws; dark eyes with a sweet expression; and a loosely curled tail carried on the back. The short, straight coat is brownish red or yellowish red with white markings on chest. Active, friendly, gentle, faithful, and brave, this brisk-moving dog can be aggressive with other dogs and animals.

Health Matters

Health problems are rare in this breed although some incidences of hip dysplasia, luxating patellas and weak elbows have been found. However, most breeders agree that the Finnish Spitz is relatively free of genetically inherited diseases.

Care and Exercise

This breed requires no special care apart from thorough brushing every four to five days. It is happy with a short daily walk, but delights to run freely in the mountains or in a field.

As the Finnish Spitz comes primarily from a hunting dog background, it needs careful supervision when exercising. It is best to walk it on a long leash or it should be allowed to run freely in a securely fenced yard. If left to its own devices, the Finnish Spitz is likely to take off on a hunting expedition. The breed should have basic obedience training so that it will come when called. Its coat is easy to care for, and should be kept clean, brushed and free of ticks and fleas.


The three to six puppies per litter are usually easily delivered. Puppies should have as much contact with people as possible.

Gallery of Finnish Spitz