The Handsome Finnish Spitz

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Finnish Spitz
Suomenpystykorva Finsk Spets
Weight Male: 31 — 36 lbs
Weight Female: 23 — 29;lbs
Height Male: 17” — 20”
Height Female: 15” — 18”
AKC Rank 2008 #151
Lifespan: 12—14 yrs
Group Non Sporting

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Dog Breed Info - The Finnish Spitz

Breed Overview

Origin: Finland, Ancient times. Original function: Hunting birds and small mammals. Today: Hunting, companion. Colors: Shades of golden-red.

The Finnish Spitz came from the northern spitz dogs that belonged to Finno-Ugrian tribes as they made their way to Finland. These dogs were originally watchdogs that developed into hunting dogs. Interbreeding started when outsiders brought their dogs into the region in the 1800’s. One of the earlt names for the breed was Suomenpystykorva, which means Finnish Cock-Eared Dog. Another name was Finnish Barking Bird Dog. On arrival in England, it was called the Finsk Spets which comes from it’s Swedish name, but in 1891 the name was changes to the current one. The nickname of Finkie was given after the breed arrived in England in the 1920’s. These Finkies were bred in the United States in the 1960’s and the breed was registered by the AKC in the non-sporting group in 1991. The dog served mainly as a house pet and companion in America but was and still is mainly a hunting dog in Finland. The main problem with this breed is the incessant barking.

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The Finnish Spitz is not easy to train. He has a stubborn streak and tends to resist. You’ll need patience and persistence. Use clicker training with positive reinforcement for this kind of dog.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Spitz puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Finnish Spitz puppy can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. They will learn in time . If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.



As is the case with most spitz breeds, the Finnish Spitz is independent, stubborn and has a problem with dominance. This dog is very much a hunter at heart. He is alert and playful but also sensitive and tends to be devoted to one person rather than a whole family. This dog is very much aware of it’s place in the canine hierarchy and MUST be handled by an alpha-pack-leader and a firm hand. If the Finkie gets the idea he is running the household, there can be trouble. This breed has a loud bark and loves to use it. It’s a big drawback to ownership.

If you happen to get an Spitz with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."


Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Maybe. Will pick and choose his dog friends. Can be dog aggressive so be careful. The Finkie is territorial and tends to keep strange dogs away.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Best is raised with other dogs and cats in the house. If not, introduce other dogs slowly on common ground such as sidewalks, parks or parking lots. For cats, try placing the cat in a crate ion the room for an hour at a time for 4 days and let the new dog sniff and explore. Then let the dog and cat mingle together under close supervision for a few days until they seem comfortable together.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No, can be wary and reserved with strangers, even aggressive until all possible threats are removed.


Fairly playful. Enjoys games, fetch, etc.


Quite affectionate for a spitz-type dog. Tends to bond more with one person.

Good with children?

Best is raised with the kids. Does well with children if he grows up with them, but may adjust to older, well-mannered, well-behaved children 6 or 7 and up. The dog is moderately playful but will not tolerate screaming, screeching, pushing, poking and pulling and other rambunctious roughhousing that very young kids can dish out.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. The Finnish Spitz can be good for seniors if they are into walking or jogging for health. The dog is playful and affectionate, easy to care for, a terrific watch dog and guardian and would be okay with the grandchildren so this should work.

Living environment

Apartment, flat, condo, farm or ranch. The ‘Finnish Spitz can live anywhere as long as he gets out for exercise and hogging or walks. The dog prefers a cooler climate but also prefers to be indoors where it can interact with family. It doesn’t like to be left alone for long periods.


Energy level

Moderate. Active, and needs something to keep him busy.

Exercise needs, daily

One or two long walks daily. OR, jogging. This is a real jogging partner! For the owner who likes to run for health.


Excellent watchdog. Has a loud bark and likes to use it.

Guard dog

Will protect his home and family. Has a dominant streak and can be aggressive.


Sheds quite a lot.


Brush 2 to 3 times a week to keep double coat looking good. Use a firm bristle brush. Brush more often when shedding in the spring.



Suggested Reading—The Finnish Spitz

  • Book above - Comprehensive Owners Guide for the Finnish Spitz, a rare breed hardcover edition in limited quantity. Click on the book and then at Amazon, scroll down about 10 inches to the Editorial Review for a description of the book.

Finnish Spitz Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Finnish Spitz puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training. Finnish Spitz Breeders with puppies for sale. As I write this, the link is showing only 10 breeders world wide. Try an online search for Finnish Spitz breeders or puppies for sale.

Finnish Spitz Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Finnish Spitz Rescue group in your area, here is a link that might help:
Petfinder - Finnish Spitz Rescue As I write this, Petfinder is showing only 71 dogs available to adopt in the USA. That might be enough, but in case you want more selection, go online and search for Finnish Spitz Rescue or Clubs or kennels. This is a VERY rare breed in America. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records and save for possible future reference.

Dog Health Issues For The Spitz
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Finnish Spitz by various vets.
This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—(PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Diabetes—The pancreas manufactures the hormone INSULIN. If the pancreas stops making, or makes less than the normal amount of insulin, or if the tissues in the body become resistant to the insulin, the result is called “diabetes.” The dog can NOT control her blood sugar without injections of insulin on a regular basis, but given the insulin, the dog can live a normal life like a human can. If the dog does not receive the insulin injections at the same time each day of her life, the dog will go into a coma and she will die. Some causes of diabetes may be chronic pancreatitis, heredity, obesity or old age, but no one is sure. Symptoms are excess drinking and urination, dehydration, weight loss, increased appetite, weight gain, and cataracts may develop suddenly. Treatment is in the form of the insulin injections daily and a strict diet low in carbohydrates and sugars. Home cooking may be suggested in some cases. Frequent trips to the vet for blood monitoring will be needed but diabetes is not a death sentence.

  • Epilepsy—A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up at around 3 to 4 or 5 years of age in dogs.

  • Hip dysplasia CHD- Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Finnish Spitz great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg, weak legs. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small dogs like the English Cocker Spaniel and Finnish Spitz. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision which if not treated can lead to total blindness.

Other health problems could occur with your Finnish Spitz. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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