Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Finnish Spitz
Average Cost to keep/care for a Finnish Spitz
The Finnish Spitz is an attractive dog with their red coats and fox like looks. They are Finland's national dog and although not so well known outside of their native land, they are highly prized in Scandinavian countries thanks to their charming looks and kind, courageous natures. They seem to have a natural affinity with children which makes the Finnish Spitz a great choice as a family pet and being so adaptable, they are just at home in a family environment as they are in a working one.
The ancestry of the Finnish Spitz is fascinating with Spitz-type dogs that roamed Russia for thousands of year having been used to create the breed. These ancient Russian breeds were used by tribes in the far north of Finland who developed dogs capable of working in many regions, doing specific jobs which often included hunting for food. As the breeds were developed, the Finnish Spitz as we now know it, became the favourite choice due to their superior hunting ability and courageous, loyal natures.
During the late 19th century as people moved to different areas of the country, they took their dogs with them. These Spitz-type dogs were crossed with local dogs that boasted diverse ancestries and as a result the breed was almost lost altogether and at one point in time their numbers dwindled to dangerously low levels. Fortunately, a Finnish sportsman by the name of Hugo Roos became a fan of the dogs recognising their potential as both working dogs and companions. He set up a breeding programme which saved the Finnish Spitz from extinction.
The Finnish Spitz is Finland's national dog and although not so well known outside of Scandinavia, they are still highly prized in their native land. All the dogs we see today are descendants of the foundation stock developed by Hugo Roos. Sadly, very few puppies are registered with The Kennel Club every year although the breed is popular in Holland, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, but less so here in the UK.
Height at the withers: Males 38 - 51 cm, Females 38 - 51 cm
Average weight: Males 14 - 16 kg, Females 14 - 16 kg
The Finnish Spitz does resemble a fox with their lovely red coats and narrow muzzles. They are handsome dogs that boast having a clean cut head that's longer than it is broad. Their muzzles are narrow and taper nicely to the end of a black nose that contrasts nicely with a dog's coat colour and adding their fox like looks. Their lips are also black and tight.
Their eyes are almond shaped being medium in size and dark in colour with dogs always boasting a bit of glint in them. Ears are small, soft to the touch and pointed with dogs typically carrying them cocked. The Finnish Spitz has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long and muscular with a male's neck appearing a little shorter thanks to the much thicker ruff around their necks.
Their forequarters are strong with dogs boasting quite a square outline and straight front legs. They have deep chests, nice level backs with their bellies being slightly tucked up. Their hindquarters are strong looking with dogs having well-muscled back legs. Feet are neat and round in shape with dogs boasting nicely plumed tails are nicely which they carry curled from the base.
When it comes to their coat, the Finnish Spitz has short, tight hair on their heads and on the front of their legs whereas the hair on their body as well as the back of their legs is longer and it stands semi-erect. The hair on a dog's neck and back is a lot stiffer than on the rest of their body. They have a double coat with the outer one being quite a bit coarser and longer on a dog's shoulders. Their undercoat is much shorter, softer and denser providing a lot of protection from the elements. Accepted breed colours include the following:
The Finnish Spitz is an alert and lively dog. There is nothing more they like than to be kept busy because they are incredibly active characters by nature. As such they need one or two good walks a day. If they get enough exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis they are a real joy to have around and will relax when they are indoors. In short, they thrive on plenty of outdoor exercise and love to be involved in everything that goes on in a household.
They are always ready to play - particularly with children, yet they are not persistent. If they get ignored they will generally just walk away. They tend to be protective and fiercely loyal of their masters, but they are known to be rather aloof with strangers although rarely would a Finnish Spitz show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards people they don't know, preferring to just keep their distance and stay out of the way.
Potential owners should note that the Finnish Spitz has a tendency to bark which is a trait that’s been bred into them over a long period of time and which they needed for when they were hunting. To avoid excessive barking, dogs need to be taught from a young age not to bark for the sake of it. With this said, in Scandinavia they are prized for their barking abilities with competitions being held to find the best barkers in the land.
They are not the best choice for first time owners because they need to be trained by people who are familiar with the breed or similar type of dog and who would therefore understand all their needs.
The Finnish Spitz is known to be a very intelligent dog that boasts well developed senses. As such they are very quick to pick up on things which includes the good and the bad. They do, however, boast a bit of an independent streak which can become apparent if these dogs are not well trained from a young enough age. With this said, in the right hands and with a sympathetic owner, the Finnish Spitz is a quick learner and they have been known to excel at all sorts of canine sports which includes things like agility and obedience competitions.
Lively, friendly and very alert is a great way to describe the Finnish Spitz and they form strong bonds with their families which includes the children. However, they do tend to get a bit protective of them which is why any interaction between a dog and the kids needs to be supervised by an adult to ensure things stay nice and friendly which is especially true if the kids have any friends over to play.
If well socialised from a young age, they are generally tolerant of other dogs and if they have grown up with a cat in a household, they accept being around them with no trouble at all. However, it would be a mistake to trust a Finnish Spitz with smaller animals and pets because thanks to their strong hunting instinct, they might just see them as prey.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Finnish Spitz is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Finnish Spitz is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, a Finnish Spitz needs to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The Finnish Spitz is high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats looking tidy and their skin looking good. With this said, like the majority of dogs from the Artic regions of the world, they do boast a self-cleaning coat which in short means that mud and water rolls of it leaving the coat pristine and clean. They do, however, shed quite heavily throughout the year which means their coats need to be brushed on daily basis to get rid of any loose and dead hair.
As with many other breeds, the Finnish Spitz does shed more during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing would be necessary to keep on top of things. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
It would be hard to tire a Finnish Spitz out because they are high energy characters that love nothing more than to be out and about exploring their surroundings. Ideally, they need to be given anything from 40 to 60 minutes a day and as much mental stimulation as possible throughout the day to keep them happy, healthy and out of trouble.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these lively dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble. It's also worth noting that because of their thick coats, the Finnish Spitz does not tolerate hot weather which in short means it's best to exercise them earlier in the morning and then again later in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky and the temperature is therefore cooler during the hotter summer months.
With this said, Finnish Spitz puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.
If you get a Finnish Spitz puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Finnish Spitz, you may have to go on a waiting list because not many puppies are registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything from £400 to over £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Finnish Spitz in northern England would be £18.77 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Finnish Spitz and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £900 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Finnish Spitz would be between £60 to £90 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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