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The Finnish Spitz is famous for its charming, fox-like appearance, and its love for children, but there is so much more to adore about this breed. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the Finnish Spitz.

1. They Have a Long History in Scandinavia

The Finnish Spitz has been around for a long time. They migrated to different areas with various tribes several thousand years ago. Eventually, two sportsmen from Helsinki observed the dogs and returned to Finland with superior specimens to continue the breed. Later, they were bred to be hunting dogs. Today, they are the national dog of Finland.

2. They Almost Went Extinct

The Finnish Spitz was effectively a purebred for so long because it was isolated from other dog breeds. Improved transportation methods in the 19th century brought more dogs of different breeds to Scandinavia, and the Finnish Spitz was bred with so many other breeds that there were hardly any purebreds left by 1880. That’s when two Finnish hunters made it their mission to save the breed.

Finnish Spitz running in the snow.
Johner Images/Getty Images Plus

3. Their Ancestor Is the Taimyr Wolf

Canine DNA analysis dogs found that the Finnish Spitz is one of a handful of northern dog breeds that share DNA with the Taimyr Wolf, a species that is distinct from the gray wolf and has been extinct for several thousand years. This DNA discovery has led scientists to believe that dogs were domesticated much earlier than we originally thought.

4. They’re Bark Hunters

That is, they hunt by barking—they don’t hunt tree bark. Though Finnish Spitz are most commonly companion dogs, they are still used for bird hunting in Finland. The Spitz will run ahead of the hunter and find the prey bird, then bark so that the hunter knows where it is.

5. They Participate in Annual Barking Competitions

In Finland, the Finnish Spitz participate in a barking competition every year. The dogs have been recorded barking up to 160 times per minute, but it’s not just speed that matters. A competitor must prove that they can bark effectively while hunting before they can be crowned king.

6. Puppies Are Born Dark

The Finnish Spitz’s coat is famous for its fox-like red color, but these dogs have quite a lot of black in their coats when they are born. The black usually fades completely after two years.

Finnish Spitz puppy standing outdoors in sunlight with a forest in the background.
©JuhaSa -

7. They Have Had Many Different Names

The Finnish Spitz’s Finnish name is Suomenpystykorva, which translates to “Finnish cock-eared dog.” They also used to be known as Finnish Barking Birddogs. When the English first imported them, they called them “Finsk Spets,” which soon led to the nickname “Finkie,” which is still used today.

Related article: The Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2022
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