The Finnish spitz originated from ancestral Northern spitz dogs that accompanied early Finno-Ugrian tribes as they journeyed across Eurasia to Finland. These dogs probably originated as camp followers and watchdogs, later developing into hunting dogs. The breed remained pure, not by design but by isolation until the early 1800s. When other groups of people brought their dogs to the region in the 1800s, interbreeding almost obliterated the pure Finnish spitz. They were used to hunt small game. When the dog would find their pray they would alert the hunter with their distinctive yodel type, ringing bark, pointing with their head in the direction the animal was in. The breed is more popular in Scandinavian countries and less popular in the USA.
In appearance the Finnish Spitz reminds one of a fox. The body is muscular and square. The head is flat between the ears, rounding slightly at the forehead. The narrow muzzle has a pronounced stop and is wider at the base where it attaches to the skull, tapering to a point. The nose and lips are black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. Dewclaws are sometimes removed and the catlike feet are round. The double coat has a short, soft, dense undercoat with a long, straight, harsh outer coat. Coat colors include various shades of golden-red, red-brown and yellowish-red to honey-colored, with or without small white markings. Puppies are born dark and lighten to a reddish color as they get older. The ears are set high, erect and open toward the front of the dog. The legs are straight when viewed from the front. The top line is level. The chest is deep, reaching to the elbows.
The Finnish Spitz is friendly, active, playful, keen and courageous. It can be obedience trained, if the owner has an air of natural, gentle, calm, authority to them. The Finnish Spitz is renowned as a hunting dog, and also makes a great companion for family members of all ages, especially children and older adults. This breed does not fully mature until it is about 3 to 4 years old. Finnish Spites that believe they are higher in the order can become protective, demanding affection and attention, become domineering and can be fairly dog aggressive. This breed is lively and curious, though not overwhelmingly so. They are loyal to their own families, but require much consistent patience and understanding. They are good watchdogs, but are not guard dogs. In Finland the Finnish Spitz is nicknamed the “barking bird dog.” They were bred to bark a lot and even participate in barking contests, where it is not uncommon for a dog to bark over 150 times in one minute. They were bred to bark (which can sound like a yodel) continuously to point the hunter in the direction of the game bird, therefore you will never get this dog to be totally silent.
The Finnish Spitz has a self-cleaning coat, as do most other Arctic dogs. Regular grooming with brush and comb is still necessary to remove dead hair. The coat does not have a doggie odor. This breed is a seasonally heavy shedder.
The Finnish Spitz needs plenty of exercise, including daily, long walks or a jog, where the dog is made to heel beside or behind the human holding the lead, never in front, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Simply running around a large backyard will not satisfy the canine’s instinct to migrate. With enough proper exercise, it will be content to lie at your feet at night. This breed makes an excellent jogging companion.