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Finnish Spitz Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If you’ve ever been to the zoo, looked at a fox, and thought…

“Wouldn’t it be cool if you could own one?”

We might have the right dog for you. This is because these little guys are probably the closest thing you’ll find in the canine world that resembles a wild fox. If you currently own a Spitz, you may even want to have your local vet check them out because there is a very recent case where a woman living in China bought a real fox out of a pet store, thinking it was a Spitz dog! Don’t believe us, no problem. Here’s a link to the story with some fantastic pictures (Fox News.com).

But don’t fret…

These guys may look like little “foxes,” but they don’t like them… Assuming you want to purchase your Finnish Spitz from a reputable dog breeder. Not some “pet store” in China (no offense to all of our respected Chinese pet store owners), you should have no problem finding one of these cute little guys to make your own.

But does that mean you should make one of these guys your own? That’s the real question, and we will try to help you answer for yourself in our following article, all about the Finnish Spitz.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Finnish Spitz Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Finland

Height:  15 to 18 inches

Weight:  23 to 36 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Non-Sporting

Lifespan:  12 to 15 years

Origin of the Finnish Spitz

If you were living in Finland today, you probably wouldn’t need to go online to learn all that much about them because they are currently one of the most popular dog breeds in Finland. But this wasn’t always the case; during the early 1800s, this dog breed was almost entirely wiped out through “interbreeding.” And, had it not been for a couple of Finnish sportsmen (Hugo Sandberg and Hugo Ross) who spotted a few “purebred” specimens, extinction would have probably indeed occurred.

Which is…

It is a bit ironic, considering just how old this breed is. You see, most experts agree that the Finnish Spitz was brought to Finland by Russian migrants nearly 3,000 years ago! Back then, the Finnish Spitz, or Suomenpystykorva as he is called in Finland, were used as “all-purpose” hunters. It wasn’t until later that the Finnish began to “specialize” the breed, turning them into a fine “game bird” hunter, which is why today, these dogs have a unique style of bird-dogging. They have a sharp nose that leads them straight to treed birds, and they try to mesmerize the birds by wagging their tail slowly and rapid-fire barking or yodeling.

This “swing of the tail”…

It allows the hunter to see the dog in the dense forest. It also seems to make the “game bird” freeze in place until their master can come and shoot the bird down. And the truth is the Finnish Spitz is good at this. This is probably why so many folks are tired of “experimenting” with the breed and crossbred many of them that it nearly wiped out the species entirely.


That didn’t happen, and the breed survived and eventually made its way to America when Lady Kitty Ritson chose to bring her “Finkie” (as she liked to call them) back to the United States in the early 1960s. And in typical fashion, the American Kennel Club (AKC) quickly decided to “officially” recognize the breed only 30 years later in 1991 (insert sarcasm here).

Physical Characteristics

As we’ve already mentioned, these dogs do have a “fox-like look about them. But just because they “resemble” the appearance of a fox doesn’t mean you’re going to “freak” people out when you go cruising down the road with one on a leash. Now you’ll probably get a compliment or two, but “hey,” should be expected because, in our opinion, these guys are pretty handsome. We particularly like their full double coat, which can come in a variety of colors, including:

  • Brown,
  • Black,
  • Dark grey,
  • Or fawn.

And we should warn you if you’re considering adopting a fawn Finnish Spitz as a puppy, you believe that little guy will look like a little “red fox” cub!

One way to…

To differentiate these little guys from a “wild” fox is by looking at their fur. Finnish Spitz will have a double coat with a soft, dense undercoat and a long but harsh overcoat. The skin should be longer, stiffer, and thicker on the back, neck, back thighs, and plume of the tail. They’ll also have a feathered tail that will typically curl back in on itself, resting on the back of your Finnish Spitz.

Following are the breed standards:

  • A male Finnish Spitz is 17 to 20 inches tall and weighs between 26 to 30 pounds
  • A female Finnish Spitz is 15 to 18 inches in height and weighs between 16 to 22 pounds

Temperament and Personality

The Finnish Spitz, or the Finkie as they are commonly referred to in the US, is a friendly, good-natured dog that loves to run and play. This Nordic dog is also alert, making him a fantastic watchdog, even though it may not appear like he is always paying attention. But notice we said “watchdog” and not “guard dog”. While the Finnish Spritz will typically be an excellent “watchdog” and will be very protective of his family members, his general “good nature” will generally prevent him from taking “action” when it comes to personal protection.

Depending on your needs, which could be a good or bad thing. We here at IndulgeYourPet prefer this because we feel that having an excellent watchdog that can alert you of trouble is better than having an “overly aggressive” dog, which could create unwanted and “unnecessary” risks on its own. This trait is also probably why the Finnish Spitz dog breed is so great with children. And also why the Finnish Spitz breed is one of a select few dog breeds that we readily recommend to anyone with a family.

But be warned…

These guys are a bit of an “independent thinker” breed.   So, you’ll want to be sure to begin training your Finkie immediately so that you won’t have to “break” any bad habits once they’ve been created.

Potential Health Concerns

The Finnish Spitz dog breed is generally healthy and not predisposed to many health conditions. However, like every dog breed, this breed is prone to getting the following:

  • Canine hip dysplasia: In this heritable condition, the thigh bone doesn’t snugly fit into the hip bone and causes lameness and pain in both the rear legs. Arthritis can develop as the dog ages.
  • Patellar luxation: The patella means the kneecap. Luxation is the dislocation of a part of the anatomy. This condition occurs when the knee joint slides in and out of place, which causes pain.
  • Epilepsy: This disorder can be managed with medication, but no cure exists. However, a dog can still live a happy and healthy life with this disease.

And while it’s true that these diseases are not necessarily life-threatening, most, if not all, can become quite expensive to treat, particularly if they recur.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always advise any new pet owner to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for their new loved one. If they ever become sick or injured in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost of treatment.

For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies, check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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