Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz

With his pointed muzzle and prick ears, the Finnish Spitz resembles a fox. Once used to hunt small birds and game, the breed today primarily is a playful, friendly house dog. Known for his barking, the Finnish Spitz long ago summoned hunters by barking. A seasonal heavy shedder with a fluffy, dense double coat, this breed needs weekly brushing as well as moderate exercise.

DID YOU KNOW? In barking contests, the Finnish Spitz has been known to bark up to 160 times a minute. The national dog of Finland, he sometimes is called the barking bird dog. The Finnish Spitz is slow to mature, reaching adulthood at 3 ½ to 4 years of age.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Finnish Hunting Dog, Finnish Spets, Finsk Spets, Loulou Finois, Suomalainen pystykorva, Suomenpystykorva

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Pet Card

  • Living Considerations: Good with children, not hypoallergenic, suitable for apartment living if adequately exercised
  • Size: Small
  • Height: Males – 44.5 to 51 centimetres, Females – 39 to 46 centimetres
  • Weight: Males – 13 kilograms, Females – 10 kilograms
  • Coat: Short
  • Energy: Medium
  • Colour: Golden-red, ranging from pale honey to deep auburn
  • Activities: Tracking, Conformation, Herding, Guarding
  • Indoor/Outdoor: Both

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 14 – 16kg
Height: 39 – 50cm
Colours: The coat comes in shades of red-gold or red brown with a lighter coloured, soft
undercoat that almost makes the dog glow in the right light
Size: Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Hound


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 4/5


The Finnish Spitz is lively and alert, bold and brave with a keen desire to hunt, and to bark about anything they have seen. Loyal with loved ones and said to be excellent with children, they are clever and quick witted and require consistency in training. In Finland they are trained only to bark at their specific quarry and to ignore anything else so it is evidently possible to teach them not to bark indiscriminately, but this will require work.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Finland

Bred to hunt by scent and sight, the Finnish Spitz has been a hunting dog for centuries and is still used today in Finland to track capercaillie and black grouse. In the past they also hunted large game including elk (moose) and bear.

Their position in the hound group in the UK is a little unusual as this Spitz type breed actually performs a HPR (Hunt, Point, Retrieve) role in the field. They track game by scent, then point at the game up a tree whilst barking softly and waving their tail which lulls the game into a false sense of security and alerts the hunter. As the hunter gets closer the dog barks louder and moves around the tree. The bird wishing to keep an eye on this suspicious yet mesmerising creature turns to keep it in view, and then the hunter can sneak up quietly and shoot the bird!

Due to improvements in transport and the increased mixing of people and their dogs, the Finnish Spitz was bred with other similar types and the breed was almost lost as a result. In the 1880s, two Finnish foresters, Hugo Sandberg and Hugo Roos set out to save the breed and by 1892, they succeeded in having them recognised by the Finnish Kennel Club under the name Suomenpystykorva. Roos was actively involved in breeding, showing and judging the Finnish Spitz until the 1920s, and today the breed is secure with nearly 2000 puppies registered annually in Finland.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Finnish Spitz

Training Finnish Spitz

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • In Scandinavia there are official barking competitions run for Finnish Spitz to find the ‘King of the Barkers’, and they don’t just bark loudly, they bark fast. Finnish Spitz have been recorded barking at 160 barks per minute. Do consider whether your neighbours will appreciate this type of achievement before getting one for yourself!
  • The breed has been known by many names over the years including Suomen Pystykorva, Finnish Barking Birddog, Finsk Spets, Spitz Finnico, Spitz Finlandes, Finse Spits and Finnenspitz.
  • The ancestors of the Finnish Spitz date back several thousand years.
  • The Finnish Spitz is the national dog of Finland and is actually referenced in many Finnish patriotic songs.
  • This breed takes a long time to mature and generally retain a puppylike behaviour until 3-4 years of age.

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