Choosing a Finnish Spitz

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The Finnish spitz resembles a fox. This breed is a good family pet but since he is also known as the barking bird dog of Finland, excessive barking can be a problem. A loving dog, this spitz is a good bird hunting dog and wonderful companion, particularly for people who enjoy jogging.

History and Origin

The Finnish spitz originated in Finland about 2000 years ago and may be related to the Russian Laika. The breed was thought to have been brought to Finland by hunting tribes and has been used to hunt bear and elk. Today, the Finnish spitz is the national dog of Finland and is used to hunt grouse and other birds. When not hunting, this dog is an excellent companion for active families.

In 1991, the Finnish spitz was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the non-sporting group.

Appearance and Size

The Finnish spitz looks a little like a fox with his pointed muzzle and erect ears. The eyes are oval and the feet are cat-like. The chest is deep and the plumed tail is curled over the back.

The coat of the Finnish spitz is straight, harsh, about 1 to 2 inches in length with a dense undercoat. The color of the coat is typically red-brown but can be a yellow-red.

The adult Finnish spitz stands around 15 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 31 to 35 pounds.

Personality

The Finnish spitz is an active and friendly dog that enjoys being around people they know. Hesitant around strangers, the spitz will bark and may be aggressive toward people he doesn't know or trust. Some can have a dominance streak, especially males.

The Finnish spitz is also known as the barking bird dog of Finland, which should clue you in on the fact that this breed enjoys barking. This can be a problem in the city with nearby neighbors, particularly if the dog is left outdoors for long periods of time. If he has nothing to do, the Finnish spitz will bark at every movement and every falling leaf.

Home and Family Relations

The Finnish spitz is a great family dog that does well in the city or country. The breed can do well with children if introduced to them at an early age. This dog is very protective of his family and will bark when strangers approach. He prefers cooler climates and is an active dog, a great jogging companion.

The Finnish spitz can live happily in an apartment as long as he is taken on frequent daily walks. This breed can do well with other pets if raised with them.

Training

The Finnish spitz can be difficult to train, especially those with a dominant or stubborn streak. Firm, consistent training and lots of patience is required.

Special Concerns

The Finnish spitz does not like to be left alone with nothing to do. They are intelligent dogs and need mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors and excessive barking.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The Finnish spitz is a hardy breed that has few known diseases. The most common are:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, limping and arthritis.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin production.
  • Patellar luxation is a disorder affecting the kneecap that can cause intermittent lameness and arthritis.
  • Spitz dog thrombopathy is a condition that causes bleeding and affects young dogs.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the Finnish spitz is approximately 12 to 15 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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