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Pet Breed Information for most breeds of dogs and cats
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Finnish Spitz Dog Breed Information


Finnish SpitzA Finnish Spitz is a breed of dog originating in Finland. The breed is thought to be an old one, bred as a hunting dog. It is a "bark pointer", indicating the position of game by barking to attract the hunter's attention. It has been used mostly to bark at game that flees into trees, such as squirrels, grouses, and capercaillies, but it serves well also to hunt elk. Some individuals have been known to go after even a bear, despite the dog's small size. In its native country, the breed is still mostly used as a hunting dog, but as it is very friendly and loves children, in other countries it serves mainly as a house pet. The Finnish Spitz has been the national dog of Finland since 1979.

Appearance

General appearance

The Finnish Spitz has a square build, meaning that the length of the body is approximately the same as the height of the withers. The thick coat may distort the over-all appearance of the dog. He should have rounded, cat-like feet and dew claws on all four feet, although the rear dew claws are always removed in show specimens. The Finnish Spitz should have a very chiseled and sharp appearance, with a face and expression resembling that of a fox and the typical Spitz tail that curls over the back.

Coat

The Finnish Spitz has a typical double coat, which consists of a soft, dense undercoat and long, harsh guard hairs that can measure one to two inches long. The coat should be stiffer, denser, and longer on the neck, back, back of thighs, and plume of the tail, whilst shorter on the head and legs. Dogs should sport a slightly longer and coarser coat than the bitches, who are slightly more refined. In the show ring, the coat should be shown as completely natural; a brush through the coat is acceptable but no trimming is allowed, not even of whiskers. The one exception is the hair under the pads of the feet. Silky, wavy, long, or short coat is also greatly undesired.

Color

Puppies are often described as looking similar to a fox cub. They are born dark grey or fawn, with a vast amount of black. The colour of the adult dog cannot really be assessed until about four months, but even then the colour may change. The adult colour must be red. It can be of almost any shade, varying from pale honey to dark chestnut. There are no preferences over shades as long as the color is bright and clear with no hints of dullness, which is of most importance. The coat should never be of a solid colour. It should be shaded and without any defined colour changes. The coat is usually at its darkest shade on the back of the dog, gradually getting lighter around the chest and belly. The undercoat must always be lighter in colour than the topcoat, but is never allowed to be white. A small patch of white, no more than 1.5 centimetres wide, is allowable on the chest, and white tips on the feet are acceptable, but not desired.

Pigmentation

The nose, lips, and rims of eyes should always be black.

Height and weight

Height at withers

  • Dogs, 17½ to 20 inches (43-50 cm)
  • Bitches, 15½ to 18 inches (39-45 cm)

Weight

  • Dogs, 31-36 lbs
  • Bitches, 23-29 lbs

Temperament

Finnish Spitz are a lively, faithful, and intelligent breed of dog. They love playing with children, and are excellent companion dogs, which makes them an ideal family pet. They rarely show aggression unless needed (they are a breed who like to protect their family) but they do love the sound of their own voices. Careful training will need to be undertaken to teach him that his barking is both unnecessary and unwanted, although the barking does come in useful if you are looking for a watchdog, as the Finnish Spitz will very happily locate anything that is out of the ordinary and alert their owners to it.

Because of his intelligence, he is an independent and strong-willed dog and is best trained with a soft voice and touch. He will easily become bored with repetitive training and so sessions should be kept short and to the point, making patience a must-have for any owner. This trait, unfortunately, makes him a poor choice for obedience training, which is a shame, as those who have persevered in training this breed have gained an obedient dog who excels in competitions.

Health

The Finnish Spitz is typically a very healthy breed, and health concerns are rare. Here is a short list of what is known to occur:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Epilepsy

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