The Finnish Spitz: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking for a loyal companion that also makes an excellent watchdog? Look no further than the Finnish Spitz, a unique and ancient breed with a distinct appearance and a playful personality.

In this article, we’ll delve into the history, physical characteristics, temperament, health, and lifespan of the Finnish Spitz, so you can decide if this breed is the right fit for you.

History and Origin of the Finnish Spitz

Ancient Roots of the Breed

The Finnish Spitz is believed to be among the older dog breeds in existence. These early dogs were used for hunting in the dense Finnish forests, where their keen senses and nimble bodies were essential for tracking game.

The hunting instincts of the Finnish Spitz are very strong, and they are still used in Finland for hunting small game, such as squirrels and birds. Their sharp bark is also useful for alerting their human hunting partners to the location of prey.

Aside from their hunting abilities, the Finnish Spitz was also valued by ancient Finnish tribes for their companionship. These dogs were often kept as pets and were known for their loyalty and affectionate nature towards their human families.

Development in Finland

The modern Finnish Spitz that we know today was developed with selective breeding. The breed was refined to be better at hunting, with a distinctive red coat and a curled tail that is easy to spot on the field.

As the Finnish Spitz became more skilled as a hunting dog, its main role in Finnish society began to shift. Members of the breed were no longer just working dogs but also beloved family pets. 

Recognition and Popularity Worldwide

Although they have been around for centuries, the Finnish Spitz was only officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1988. Since then, their popularity has steadily increased. 

Today, the Finnish Spitz is a popular breed worldwide, known for its playful and affectionate personality. It is often used in dog shows, where its distinctive red coat and curled tail make them stand out from the crowd.

Despite their popularity, the Finnish Spitz remains a relatively rare breed outside of Finland. However, for those who have had the pleasure of owning one, they are a cherished and beloved member of the family.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Size and Weight

The Finnish Spitz is a medium-sized dog, but despite its small size, it is surprisingly athletic and can keep up with much larger and more energetic dog breeds. 

Males stand 17.5 to 20 inches tall and weigh 20 to 28 pounds. Females are typically smaller – they stand 15.5 to 18 inches tall at the withers and weigh 25 to 33 pounds. 

Coat and Colors

The Finnish Spitz has a thick, soft coat, which features a distinctive ruff around the neck and chest. This breed also has a short, pointed tail that curls over the back. Acceptable coat colors include red gold (standard), red, and gold. 

Distinctive Features

The Finnish Spitz has pointy ears, almond-shaped eyes that often convey a mischievous expression, and a wide, fox-like snout. It is compact and well-proportioned, with a graceful but powerful gait.

In addition to their physical features, Finnish Spitz are also known for their distinctive vocalizations. They have a unique bark that sounds almost like a yodel. 

Temperament and Personality Traits

The Finnish Spitz has a lively, outgoing, and friendly nature, making it a great companion for families and individuals alike. 

Intelligence and Trainability

Finnish Spitz are intelligent dogs that are quick learners. They have a natural desire to please their owners, and they thrive on positive reinforcement training methods. 

Finnish Spitz are highly trainable and excel in obedience training, agility, and other canine sports. They are also excellent problem solvers and enjoy being challenged mentally.

However, it’s important to note that Finnish Spitz can be stubborn at times. They require a consistent and patient approach to training and a firm but gentle hand. 

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The Finnish Spitz is an energetic breed that requires daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. They love to run and play, and a daily walk or jog is essential to keep them stimulated.

Without enough exercise, they become anxious or destructive. Additionally, the Finnish Spitz enjoys playing interactive games and participating in mentally stimulating activities. 

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

Finnish Spitz are generally friendly and outgoing dogs, and they get along well with other animals when socialized properly. They have a natural curiosity and may approach other animals with enthusiasm.

‘However, their strong hunting instincts mean that they may view smaller pets like cats or rabbits as prey. They should be supervised around smaller animals until they learn to get along.

Proper socialization is key to ensuring that the Finnish Spitz gets along well with other animals. Early socialization helps the dog learn appropriate behavior and reduces the risk of aggression or fear.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Like all breeds, the Finnish Spitz is prone to certain health conditions, such as: 

  • Orthopedic Problems: The main orthopedic issues in the breed are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and patellar luxation 
  • Eye Conditions: Breed members often suffer from eye issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Make sure to keep up with your Finnish Spitz’s preventative care, including vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and regular checkups with your vet. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help prevent health issues down the line.

Expected Lifespan

The Finnish Spitz has a lifespan of approximately 13 to 15 years. With proper care and attention, your Finnish Spitz can enjoy a long, happy, and healthy life as your faithful companion.


The Finnish Spitz is a unique and fascinating breed. With its loyal disposition, playful personality, and striking physical appearance, it is an excellent family pet and watchdog.

Whether you’re looking for a new furry friend or simply love learning about different dogs, the remarkable Finnish Spitz is definitely a breed worth exploring.

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