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Finnish Spitz
Characteristics, History, and Health

Finnish Spitz

The Finnish Spitz, or "Suomenpystykorva" as it is called in its native Finland, has a long history dating back several thousand years. This breed is believed to have descended from spitz-type dogs that accompanied early Finno-Ugric tribes on their migrations throughout Eurasia and into Scandinavia. They were used primarily as hunting dogs, and they became particularly skilled at hunting game birds, earning the nickname "the barking bird dog." In the 1920s the first exported Finnish Spitz made it to England, and the first Finkie made it to America around 1960. Finnish Spitz dogs are an integral part of Finnish culture, and they were declared the national dog of Finland in 1979.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Finkie, Finn, Finnish Barking Bird Dog, Suomenpystykorva
Life Expectancy
13-15 years
Average Male Height
17.5-20 inches
Average Female Height
15.5-18 inches
Average Male Weight
25-33 pounds
Average Female Weight
20-28 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Gold, Red, Red Gold
Coat Pattern
White Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Finnish Spitz Dogs may suffer from atresia ani, cataracts, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, lupus erythematosus, patellar luxation pemphigus foliaceus, pituitary dwarfism, shaker syndrome, signal transduction disorder, and thrombopathia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

The Finnish Spitz is known to be lively, playful, and friendly. They make excellent family pets and can get along well with children and other dogs if properly socialized. Despite their friendly nature, they can be aloof or reserved with strangers, a trait common in many spitz breeds. Finnish Spitz dogs are highly intelligent and independent, which can sometimes translate into stubbornness.

They are known for their unique "bark," which they used historically to alert hunters to the presence of game birds. This trait can be quite prominent, and prospective owners should be prepared for a dog that likes to "talk".

Fun Facts

The Finnish Spitz has a unique style of barking known as "yodeling" or "barking in series," which was used to indicate the type of game they found while hunting.They can achieve 160 barks a minute.

The Finnish Spitz is nicknamed "Finkie" by its enthusiasts. The term was originally coined by Lady Kitty Ritson in England.

In Finland, there is an annual contest to find the "King of the Barkers" among the Finnish Spitz breed.