Finnish Spitz

AKC Non-Sporting Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Finnish Spitz was brought from the Volga River area of Central Russia to what is now Finland by hunting tribes about 2,000 years ago. The national dog of Finland, the Finnish Spitz is mentioned in several Finnish patriotic songs. The breed is now widely known throughout the Scandinavian countries. It was first recognized by the AKC in 1987. The Finnish Spitz is renowned as a hunting dog, and also makes a great companion for family members of all ages, especially children and older adults. The Finnish Spitz is a people’s dog.


With his pointed muzzle, prick ears, and glorious golden-red-to-honey-colored double coat, the Finnish Spitz looks quite a bit like a fox. The body has square proportions, with the height at the withers approximately equal to the dog’s length. The nose and lips are black and the eyes are dark and almond-shaped. The erect, pointed ears are set high, and open toward the front of the dog. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The topline is level from the withers to the croup and the deep chest reaches to the elbows. The feet are round and catlike. The plumed tail forms a single curl up over the back and down the side. Puppies start off with many black hairs, which decrease as they get older.

Key Facts

  • Height:  17 1/2 to 20 in. (male); 15 1/2 to 18 in. (female)
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  Averages 29 lbs. (male); averages 23 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Difficult to find
  • Talents:  Tracking, herding, watchdog, and guarding


This breed is called the “barking bird dog” of Finland; in contests, these dogs have been known to bark up to 160 times a minute! The Finnish Spitz has been bred for centuries to emphasize the barking behavior. He also makes many other vocalizations, so if a lot of noise will drive you crazy, don’t get one of these dogs. The barking can particularly be a problem if the dog must stay outside for any length of time, as he will bark with each and every new event. Very slow to mature, only reaching his complete adult form at 3-1/2 to 4 years of age. Buy only from OFA and CERF certified stock as a precaution, even though the Finnish Spitz has one of the lowest frequencies of any breed of hip dysplasia and PRA.


Brave, friendly, lively, and alert. A playful rascal. Somewhat aloof, but enjoys and demands affection and attention. Patience is required for obedience training. Very protective.


  • Children:  Good with children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Fairly independent
  • Dominance:  High
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Fluffy coat
  • Shedding:  Seasonally heavy shedder
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  Does all right without a yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Finnish Spitz Breed Standard

Finnish Spitz Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz Gifts