Finnish Spitz

"Red-Headed Hunter"

Photo of Finnish Spitz


When early Finno-Ugrian tribes moved across Eurasia from central Russia to Finland in the first century, they had an entourage: spitz-type dogs that followed the camp (and probably the food scraps), and incidentally acted as watchdogs. Once settled in Finland, the dogs followed hunters on their hunting expeditions, and with time, they became useful for hunting birds and small mammals. They existed for centuries in a nearly pure state, never crossed with any other kinds of dogs, but as other people and their dogs entered the region in the 1800s, the dogs interbred and the pure Finnish Spitz was nearly lost. In the late 1800s two Finnish hunters spotted some apparently pure dogs that were such impressive hunters, they were determined to rescue the breed. The Finnish Spitz recovered, hunting abilities intact, and is still used for hunting in Finland to this day. They specialize in hunting a turkey-like bird called the capercaille, which they hunt by ranging out from the hunter, locating the bird, and barking loudly. In fact, an early name for the Finnish Spitz was the Finnish Barking Bird Dog. In the early 1900s, the first Finnish Spitz, then called Finsk Spets, came to England, but it wasn't until the 1960s that they traveled to America. The AKC recognized the Finnish Spitz in 1988. They have yet to catch on with pet owners, perhaps because of the barking, and are currently ranked 147th out of 155 breeds in popularity.


True to his spitz heritage, the Finkie is independent and tends to be stubborn. He enjoys hunting and barking, and is happiest when he can combine his two passions into one fantastic adventure. Devoted to his family, the Finkie often attaches himself to one person. He's gentle and playful with children, but he tends to be wary of strangers, and can be aggressive toward strange dogs.


The Finnish Spitz has a square-proportioned body, a foxy face, small erect ears, and a plumed tail that curves forward and around to lie against either thigh, in the classic Spitz way. The coat, which is always some shade of golden-red, consists of a short soft undercoat and a harsh straight outer coat.


Finkies need early socialization to help them become less suspicious of strangers. They also need early training to get them used to the idea that you are in control of treats and everything good in life. This is important because some Finkies like to think they're in charge, and without a firm but fair hand, they can take over and become difficult to live with. Don't get a Finkie with the idea you'll train him not to bark. Barking is in his nature, and going against that is not fair to either of you. It's just one of those Finkie charms you must be prepared to accept if you want to live with and enjoy this rare breed.

Grooming & Care

The Finnish Spitz needs a good brush-down a few times every week to minimize shedding. About once or twice a year, the Finkie drops his coat and grows a new one, during which shedding gets super heavy and you'll want to brush (and vacuum) every day. Otherwise, keep his nails trimmed, teeth brushed, and watch out for tangles and mats close to the skin, which might require a steel comb. And don't forget exercise—Finkies need to burn off energy every day, either with a long walk, short jog, or rowdy game in the yard. They like to hunt, and may take off if allowed to roam off leash, so be careful where you let your Finnish Spitz run. In town and around traffic, keep that leash firmly in hand.

Health Concerns

Occasionally, the Finnish Spitz can develop hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (kneecaps that slip out of place), and epilepsy. Ask the breeder about these issues and ask to see any health test results before deciding on a puppy.

Famous Finnish Spitz

Ch. Pikkinokka's Foxmont Blueprint is the first Finkie to win not just one, but two Best in Shows.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 5
Home 9
Children 10
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 61
Challenges Barks a lot.
Height 15 to 18 inches
Weight 31 to 35 pounds
Life 12 to 15 years
Home Alone 83
With Kids 114
With Strangers 91
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.