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  • Temperament: Friendly, Good-Natured, Lively
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 179 of 194
  • Height: 17.5-20 inches (male), 15.5-18 inches (female)
  • Weight: 25-33 pounds (male), 20-28 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Group: Non-Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Finnish Spitz standing in three-quarter view
Finnish Spitz head facing left
Finnish Spitz sitting in three-quarter view
Finnish Spitz coat detail
Finnish Spitz puppy standing outdoors in sunlight with a forest in the background.

Find a Puppy: Finnish Spitz

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Finnish Spitz presents a fox-like picture. The breed has long been used to hunt small game and birds. The pointed muzzle, erect ears, dense coat and curled tail denotes its northern heritage. The Finnish Spitzs whole being shows liveliness, which is especially evident in the eyes, ears and tail. Males are decidedly masculine without coarseness. Bitches are decidedly feminine without over-refinement.

The Finnish Spitz’s most important characteristics are its square, well-balanced body that is symmetrical with no exaggerated features, a glorious red-gold coat, his bold carriage and brisk movement.

HEAD

Clean cut and fox-like. Longer from occiput to tip of nose than broad at widest part of skull in a ratio of 7:4. More refined with less coat or ruff in females than in males, but still in the same ratio. A muscular or coarse head, or a long or narrow head with snipy muzzle, is to be penalized. Expression – Fox-like and lively. Eyes – Almond-shaped with black rims. Obliquely set with moderate spacing between, neither too far apart nor too close. Outer corners tilted upward. Dark in color with a keen and alert expression. Any deviation, runny, weepy, round or light eyes should be faulted. Ears – Set on high. When alert, upward standing, open to the front with tips directly above the outer corner of the eyes. Small erect, sharply pointed and very mobile.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck – Well set, muscular. Clean, with no excess skin below the muzzle. Appearing shorter in males due to their heavier ruff. Topline – level and strong from withers to croup. Body – Muscular, square. Chest – Deep; brisket reaches to the elbow. Ratio of chest depth to distance from withers to ground is 4:9. Ribs – Well sprung. Tuck-up – Slightly drawn up. Loin – Short.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders – The layback of the shoulders is thirty degrees to the vertical. Legs – Viewed from the front, moderately spaced, parallel and straight with elbows close to the body and turned neither out nor in. Bone strong without being heavy, always in proportion to the dog. Fine bone, which limits endurance, or heavy bone, which makes working movement cumbersome, is to be faulted.

COAT

The coat is double with a short, soft, dense undercoat and long, harsh straight guard hairs measuring approximately one to two inches on the body. Hair on the head and legs is short and close; it is longest and most dense on plume of tail and back of thighs. The outer coat is stiffer and longer on the neck and back, and in males considerably more profuse at the shoulder, giving them a more ruffed appearance. Males carry more coat than females.

The color varies in shades of golden-red ranging from pale honey to deep auburn. No preference given to shades at either extreme so long as the color is bright and clear. As the undercoat is a paler color, the effect of this shading is a coat that appears to glow.

HINDQUARTERS AND TAIL

Angulation in balance with the forequarters. Thighs – Muscular. Hocks – Moderately let down. Straight and parallel. Dewclaws – Removed. Feet – As in front. Tail – Set on just below level of topline, forming a single curl falling over the loin with tip pointing towards the thigh. Plumed, curving vigorously from its base in an arch forward, downward, and backward, pressing flat against either thigh with tip extending to middle part of thigh.

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About the Finnish Spitz

The balanced, squarely symmetrical Finnish Spitz will stand not more than 20 inches at the shoulder and are easily recognized by their  foxy face and prick ears projecting a lively expression, and a curving plumed tail. Their dense coat of glorious golden-red which is never monochromatic gives them the Finnish Spitz “Glow.” Finkies or Finns, as they are nicknamed, move with a bold and brisk gait.

Finkies  make excellent alertdogs, wary but not shy with strangers. This is a vocal breed – in Finland, owners hold contests to crown a “King Barker” – and true Finn lovers are more delighted than annoyed by their breed’s yodeling and range of vocalization. Finkies are eager canine athletes and eye-catching show dogs known to be smart, sensitive, and captivating companions.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Finnish Spitz puppy standing outdoors in sunlight with a forest in the background.

Find a Puppy: Finnish Spitz

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Finnish Spitz Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

“The Finnish Spitz’s metabolism is extremely efficient for a primitive breed,” notes one breed expert. This means that overfeeding the breed will result in obesity fairly quickly. High-quality dry dog food works well to maintain good condition and weight. Treats can be useful in training but should be given sparingly. Give table scraps sparingly as well, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not.

 

GROOMING

The Finnish Spitz is a “natural” breed that some owners refer to as “wash and wear.” The breed standard is very specific: “No trimming of the coat except for feet is allowed. Whiskers shall not be trimmed. Any alteration of the coat by coloring, dying, trimming, scissoring or other means must be severely faulted.” Lightly spraying the coat with water and brushing the coat using a pin brush every two to three days is adequate. Hot blow-drying will dry the outer coat. During their twice-yearly shedding season, daily brushing or a bath followed by a cool-temperature blow-dry and brushing will speed up this process, and a good quality comb and a slicker brush are very useful in getting out the undercoat. The shedding is more severe in an intact female. The coat of a spayed female can become softer and denser and can take more grooming.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Finnish Spitz were bred to hunt all day in dense woods, giving them the stamina to range far, making a solidly fenced yard a must. A Finnish Spitz must never be kept away from his people, as he becomes deeply bonded with his family. They require a moderately high degree of exercise. A daily walk, long or short, on a leash is always a reward in and of itself.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

This is a very intelligent breed, and as such they can present a challenge to train. Keep sessions short and fun, being generous with praise and reward. Food seems to be the universal motivator. They’ll let you know when they’ve had enough. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for the new puppy.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Fortunately, thanks to thoughtful breeding, Finnish Spitz in the U.S. and Canada are a generally healthy breed and don’t present many health issues. Responsible breeders screen potential breeding stock for patella, elbows, hips, and eyes, with the numbers of affected dogs very low. New owners are urged to have a conversation with their breeders about care for growing puppies, including the need to limit vigorous exercise, and avoiding early spay and neuter until maturity (3–5 years) is reached.

 

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • No recommended health tests
Finnish Spitz
Finnish Spitz
Finnish Spitz
Finnish Spitz

History

In his native land, Finland’s most popular dog breed is called the Suomenpystykorva. Mercifully, in English-speaking countries it is known simply as the Finnish Spitz.

It is assumed that when migrants from central Russia arrived in what is now Finland some 3,000 years ago, they brought their spitz-type dogs with them. For centuries these forerunners of modern Finns were employed as all-purpose hunters. In time, they began to specialize on gamebirds.

Finkies or Finns have a unique bird-dogging style. Their acute nose leads them to treed birds. They then mesmerize the bird with their slow tail-wagging and distinctive “yodeling,” or rapid-fire barking (they can achieve 160 barks a minute). The swishing tail also serves another purpose — to allow the hunter to see the dog through the dense forest. This freezes the game in place until a rifle-toting human arrives to finish the job. Finkies also flush and trail birds to the trees.

By the late 1800s, these hardy Norsemen faced extinction. Thanks to a promotional blitz mounted by two ardent Finnish admirers of the breed, Hugo Roos and Hugo Sandberg, the Finkie was brought back from near oblivion. By century’s end, the Finnish Spitz was recognized by the Finnish Kennel Club.

England received its first exports in the 1920s. An early British devotee, Lady Kitty Ritson, coined the nickname “Finkie,” as some English-speaking fanciers still refer to the breed. They arrived in America around 1960 and began competing in the AKC Non-Sporting Group in 1988.

Did You Know?

Suomenpystrykorva, the Finnish Cock-Eared Dog, was known in earlier times as the Finnish Barking Birddog and is now called the Finnish Spitz.
The history of spitz-type dogs that make up the Finnish Spitz's ancestry traces back several thousand years.
The first English Spitzes arrived in England in 1927.
The Finnish Spitz is, not surprisingly, the national dog of Finland.
By 1880, Finnish Spitzes had been so interbred that the original Finnish Spitz became nearly extinct.
The Finnish Spitz Club of America was founded in 1975.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Finnish Spitz presents a fox-like picture. The breed has long been used to hunt small game and birds. The pointed muzzle, erect ears, dense coat and curled tail denotes its northern heritage. The Finnish Spitzs whole being shows liveliness, which is especially evident in the eyes, ears and tail. Males are decidedly masculine without coarseness. Bitches are decidedly feminine without over-refinement.

The Finnish Spitz’s most important characteristics are its square, well-balanced body that is symmetrical with no exaggerated features, a glorious red-gold coat, his bold carriage and brisk movement.

HEAD

Clean cut and fox-like. Longer from occiput to tip of nose than broad at widest part of skull in a ratio of 7:4. More refined with less coat or ruff in females than in males, but still in the same ratio. A muscular or coarse head, or a long or narrow head with snipy muzzle, is to be penalized. Expression – Fox-like and lively. Eyes – Almond-shaped with black rims. Obliquely set with moderate spacing between, neither too far apart nor too close. Outer corners tilted upward. Dark in color with a keen and alert expression. Any deviation, runny, weepy, round or light eyes should be faulted. Ears – Set on high. When alert, upward standing, open to the front with tips directly above the outer corner of the eyes. Small erect, sharply pointed and very mobile.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck – Well set, muscular. Clean, with no excess skin below the muzzle. Appearing shorter in males due to their heavier ruff. Topline – level and strong from withers to croup. Body – Muscular, square. Chest – Deep; brisket reaches to the elbow. Ratio of chest depth to distance from withers to ground is 4:9. Ribs – Well sprung. Tuck-up – Slightly drawn up. Loin – Short.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders – The layback of the shoulders is thirty degrees to the vertical. Legs – Viewed from the front, moderately spaced, parallel and straight with elbows close to the body and turned neither out nor in. Bone strong without being heavy, always in proportion to the dog. Fine bone, which limits endurance, or heavy bone, which makes working movement cumbersome, is to be faulted.

COAT

The coat is double with a short, soft, dense undercoat and long, harsh straight guard hairs measuring approximately one to two inches on the body. Hair on the head and legs is short and close; it is longest and most dense on plume of tail and back of thighs. The outer coat is stiffer and longer on the neck and back, and in males considerably more profuse at the shoulder, giving them a more ruffed appearance. Males carry more coat than females.

The color varies in shades of golden-red ranging from pale honey to deep auburn. No preference given to shades at either extreme so long as the color is bright and clear. As the undercoat is a paler color, the effect of this shading is a coat that appears to glow.

HINDQUARTERS AND TAIL

Angulation in balance with the forequarters. Thighs – Muscular. Hocks – Moderately let down. Straight and parallel. Dewclaws – Removed. Feet – As in front. Tail – Set on just below level of topline, forming a single curl falling over the loin with tip pointing towards the thigh. Plumed, curving vigorously from its base in an arch forward, downward, and backward, pressing flat against either thigh with tip extending to middle part of thigh.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Red Gold Check Mark For Standard Color 152
Gold 091
Red 140

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
White Markings 014

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