Finnish Spitz

  • Overview

    These fox-like dogs are small. Males weigh about 29 pounds on average, and females only weigh 23 pounds. Finnish Spitz, like other Scandinavian hunting dogs, have a unique hunting style that relies on their bark and their eye-catching tail. They chase birds up into trees and prance around underneath them, flicking their tails back and forth to attract and mesmerize the birds. Once the birds are captivated, they call their owners with their high-pitched, fast-paced bark. In Scandinavia, these dogs are pitted against other hunting breeds with piercing barks, where they are often crowned "King of the Barkers," for barking up to 160 times per minute.

    Finnish Spitz are amusing, perky dogs who are uninhibited and affectionate around their owners. They require socialization and training to become comfortable with new people, but they are generally friendly and joyful dogs without any natural traces of aggression.

  • Personality

    Finnish Spitz are sprightly in their carriage, especially outdoors. Their movements are alert and delicate, but they are hardy dogs with plenty of endurance. These crafty dogs maintain their puppy personalities and the silly behavior that goes with their playful, puppy instincts until relatively late in life. With their owners, they are gleefully playful and enjoy making up games and tricks to get out of obeying their owners. Finnish Spitz are fiercely loyal to their family and will not like to be left alone for long periods of time, but they are independently-minded when they play, so they might not be the most responsive without proper training.

    Although these dogs are determined hunters and active workers, they are not fool-hardy. In fact, they can be reserved and even cautious, especially in foreign situations and around strangers. They don't look for challenges or adventure, but with socialization and exposure to new people and places they can become comfortable in different environments. Finnish Spitz can be independent and willful, so training is best when it is varied and motivational.

  • Coat Care

    Finnish Spitz have bright coats with a lighter under coat and a golden-red over coat with harsh guard hairs about 1 to 2 inches long. Their coats are never solid-colored, but the variations in color should not be sharply defined. The coat lightens around the chest and belly. Even though the under coat is lighter, it should never be white. White on the tips of the feet and tail are acceptable, but dogs should be cream-colored or wheaten everywhere else. The hair on the tail and the back of the hind legs is long and dense. Males have a ruff around their shoulders and are generally hairier. To add to their sprite-like appearance, the golden coat can make the Finnish Spitz appear to be "glowing" in bright sunlight. This is a relatively clean breed.

Brushing

Finnish Spitz do not have oily coats, nor do their coats hold a dog odor. They shed twice a year, when they will need to be brushed frequently to remove dead hair and distribute any remaining natural oils throughout the coat.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but some double-coated dogs can be done so with less frequency (the Alaskan Malamute, in particular, has no odor and can go with annual baths). The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Remember to wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing. High-velocity dryers work great to remove excessive loose hair with shedding.

Hair Clipping

Finnish Spitz do not need to be trimmed anywhere other than around the foot pads, where dirt, debris and hair can become trapped.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corgis, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and Collies have sensitive ears that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If your dog is prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.