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The Finnish Spitz is a the national dog of Finland. Other names for this breed are the Barking Bird Dog and the Finnish Hunting dog. The name of “Barking Bird Dog” is quite appropriate. When attending dog shows where Finnish Spitz are entered, one can always find the grooming area of this little dog by following the sound of the barking! The breed has been used as a hunting dog in Finland since ancient times and was recognized by the Finnish Kennel club in 1892. In the American Kennel club they have recently been recognized as a member of the Non-Sporting Group. They are gaining in popularity but are still considered “rare” in this country.

The Finnish Spitz dogs have the typical “Spitz” appearance of a brushy coat with emphasis on the ruff at the neck and the bushy curled tail. They are always bright red to apricot in color. Finnish Spitz are easy to care for, the coat is dense and needs regular brushing but the hairs are straight and stiff and relatively short so is not difficult to keep free of mats. This type of coat is what is called “harsh” or “brush” and is always easier to deal with than a long coat that is “soft” in texture. It is a good looking dog, small upright ears and rather pointed face give this dog a fox-like appearance. By nature the Finnish Spitz does not seem to have a “doggy” odor so it is a clean dog to keep in the household.

The breed is relatively free of genetic conditions and the incidence of hip dysplasia is rare although this should be checked before breeding. Their hunting repertoire includes everything from birds to bear and the dog is fearless as a hunter despite its small size of 15 to 17 inches. The Finnish Spitz “points” and usually barks to hold its prey at bay until shot by the hunter.

This is a dog that is considered aloof with strangers, not especially “cuddly” but actually very reserved in nature. Most Finnish Spitz dogs are extremely busy creatures and will give chase at the sight of any other creature, so a fenced yard or supervised walking are necessary at all times.

Obedience lessons must be given from the beginning so that this dog will come when called. It is loyal but strong willed and can be stubborn. As a house pet, it goes without saying that it will give voice to loud barking at strangers so it is an excellent watchdog. It also does love children and is very playful. Because this breed is highly curious about its surroundings and has an investigative nature, people who keep them in the house need to “puppy-proof” the environment.

For more information on the finnish spitz or a complete list of dog breeds visit this Dog Behaviour website.

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