Easily mistaken for a fox due to its beautiful red coat and pointy ears, the Finnish Spitz is a national symbol to be proud of. The Fins appointed it their national dog in 1979, and this gorgeous breed has continued to be a valued member of households, not only in its country of origin, but around the world.
Despite its small size, the Finnish Spitz was originally used as a hunter of small game and birds, as well as larger animals such as moose and elk even bears! It was used mostly as a hunter of birds, however, and would run to the tree where it heard birds flapping, barking to get the attention of its hunter guardian.
Today in Finland, this little Spitz is still used to hunt, but is more common as a household pet both there and around the world.
Rare but remarkable
Barry and Pam Vogt, members of the Victorian Spitz Breed Club, are staunch supporters of the Finnish Spitz and have lived with the breed for the past 22 years. Even back in those early days, the Finnish Spitz was a rarity, and enjoying a challenge, Barry decided he wanted to get involved with this uncommon but special dog.
This breed is very uncommon and is never going to be a popular dog, says Barry, but he adds that once you have owned a Finnish Spitz, its hard to live with any other breed. We have a very long list of people waiting for pups even people from Finland have their names down with us in case one of their dogs dies. They would want to replace it with another as soon as they can.
A clever and alert breed, the Finnish Spitz makes an excellent family pet, but it is fairly independent and strong in character.
You need to be a good dog person to own a Finnish Spitz, Barry claims. This breed can be noisy and difficult if its ignored, but it is extremely affectionate if given time and attention and kept indoors with the family.
From its early days as a hunter, the Finnish Spitz was used to spending long stretches of time with its guardians, living in close contact with them. Still today, this pooch bonds very closely with its family and will become depressed if left to its own devices and not included as one of the pack. The Finnish Spitz needs to be indoors with its guardians and not left out in the yard with no family contact.
Keep it interesting
As with all breeds, the Finnish Spitz should be introduced to training and socialisation during puppyhood, however, because of this breeds intelligence, training should be made interesting and stimulating or this pooch will bore easily and lose interest. This dog is too smart for repetitive training, Barry warns.
Patience is also needed when training this dog, and harsh measures will not work. Rather, positive reinforcement is the way to go.
The Finnish Spitz adores children and makes a great family addition, although it is wary of strangers and will protect its family by warning you of any unusual activity on or near your property. This breed is known for its high-pitched bark, which can become problematic unless nipped in the bud at puppy stage.
Bred to hunt, the Finnish Spitz is an active, athletic breed and still exhibits those instincts today. This canine needs regular daily exercise and its wellbeing depends on being stimulated, both mentally and physically each day. They are known to excel at agility, obedience and field training and have also been used as companion dogs.
One of this breeds most eye-catching qualities is its exquisite thick red coat. Born dark grey or fawn in colour, the Spitzs coat begins to turn its beautiful red at about four months of age. Its a double coat with a soft, thick undercoat and longer-haired topcoat. The top layer boasts the beautiful red hue, while the under layer is lighter in colour.
The coat sheds twice a year, and during shedding its important to thoroughly brush out the undercoat so the new coat can grow. If left unbrushed, the dead undercoat will not fall out and can cause skin problems.
Did you know?
As a known hunter of birds and a breed with a high-pitched bark, the Finnish Spitz was given the nickname Finnish Barking Bird-dog.
For more information on the Finnish Spitz or to locate a breeder, contact your state canine council via the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) website www.ankc.org.au
In New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Kennel Club via its website at www.nzkc.org.nz/about.html
Spitz Breed Club Inc (New Zealand): http://spitzbreedsclub.co.nz