Breed Info


The Finnish Spitz has the personality, character, and temperament of a large dog while considered to be a medium size dog. The males average seventeen and one half to twenty inches in height while the females may be considerably smaller with a height of fifteen and one half to eighteen inches. They are both excellent house dogs and wonderfil sporting companions.

As demonstrated by their name, they were first bred selectively in Finland where they were called “Suomenpystyykorva “ which means Finnish prick-eared dog. They have been used for centuries in Scandanavia as a hunting dog and in those countries they cannot earn their championship title without a trials or working certificate. They are used primarily to hunt game birds but have also been known to hunt elk or bears.

The original Finnish Spitz breed was allowed to cross breed with other breeds until 1880 at which point it was nearly extinct. Two Finns, Hugo Sandberg and Hugo Roos, took steps to save the breed in its original form. The Finnish Kennel Club accepted the Suomenpystykorva for registration in 1892 based on the efforts of Mr. Roos and Mr. Sandberg. Their written description was in large part the basis for the Finnish Kennel Club standard and Mr. Roos was primarily responsible for registering the foundation dogs. The standard was revised in 1897 and the breed’s name changed to Finnish Spitz. The standard was again revised in 1925 and the latest revision was in 1996. Approximately 2,000 Finnish Spitz are registered annually in Finland today, and it is the national dog of Finland.

Finkies were first imported to England in approximately 1920 and the Finnish Spitz Club in Britain was formed in 1934. Their popularity and the quality of dogs in England increased after World War II, and the first Finnish Spitz was imported into the United States from England in 1959. The first breeding in the U.S. was in the 1960’s and the Finnish Spitz Club of America was formed in 1975. The first U.S. standard, written in 1976, was based on the Finnish standard. In 1983, the American Kennel Club accepted the Finnish Spitz into the Miscellaneous class and the breed was approved for showing in 1984. On January 1, 1988 the Finnish Spitz first became eligible for AKC licensed shows in the non-sporting group where it remains today.


AKC Breed Standard

General Appearance
The Finnish Spitz presents a fox-like picture. The breed has long been used to hunt small game and birds. The pointed muzzle, erect ears, dense coat and curled tail denotes its northern heritage. The Finnish Spitz whole being shows liveliness, which is especially evident in the eyes, ears and tail. Males are decidedly masculine without coarseness. Bitches are decidedly feminine without over-refinement.

The Finnish Spitz' most important characteristics are its square, well-balanced body that is symmetrical with no exaggerated features, a glorious red-gold coat, his bold carriage and brisk movement.

Any deviation from the ideal described standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the Finnish Spitz as in any other breed, even though such faults may not be mentioned in the standard.

Size, Proportion, Substance
--Height at the withers in dogs, 17½ to 20 inches; in bitches, 15½ to 18 inches.
Proportion--Square: length from forechest to buttocks equal to height from withers to ground. The coat may distort the square appearance.
Substance--Substance and bone in proportion to overall dog.

Clean cut and fox-like. Longer from occiput to tip of nose than broad at widest part of skull in a ratio of 7:4. More refined with less coat or ruff in females than in males, but still in the same ratio. A muscular or coarse head, or a long or narrow head with snipy muzzle, is to be penalized.
Expression--Fox-like and lively.
Eyes--Almond-shaped with black rims. Obliquely set with moderate spacing between, neither too far apart nor too close. Outer corners tilted upward. Dark in color with a keen and alert expression. Any deviation, runny, weepy, round or light eyes should be faulted.
Ears--Set on high. When alert, upward standing, open to the front with tips directly above the outer corner of the eyes. Small erect, sharply pointed and very mobile. Ears set too high, too low, or too close together, long or excessive hair inside the ears are faults.
Skull--Flat between ears with some minimal rounding ahead of earset. Forehead a little arched. Skull to muzzle ratio 4:3.
Muzzle--Narrow as seen from the front, above and from the side; of equal width and depth where its insets to the skull, tapering somewhat, equally form all angles.
Nose--Black. Any deviation is to be penalized. Circumference of the nose to be 80% of the circumference of the muzzle at its origin.
Lips--Black; thin and tight.
Bite--Scissors bite. Wry mouth is to be severely faulted.

Neck, Topline, Body
--Well set, muscular. Clean, with no excess skin below the muzzle. Appearing shorter in males due to their heavier ruff.
Topline--Level and b from withers to croup.
Body--Muscular, square.
Chest--Deep, reaches to below the elbow. Ratio of chest depth to distance from withers to ground is 4:9.
Ribs--Well sprung.
Tuck-up--Slightly drawn up.
Tail--Set on just below level of topline, forming a single curl falling over the loin with tip pointing towards the thigh. Plumed, curving vigorously from its base in an arch forward, downward, and backward, pressing flat against either thigh with tip extending to middle part of thigh. When straightened, the tip of the tailbone reaches the hock joint. Low or high tail-set, too curly a tail, or a short tail is to be faulted.

--The layback of the shoulders is thirty degrees to the vertical.
Legs--Viewed from the front, moderately spaced, parallel and straight with elbows close to the body and turned neither out nor in. Bone strong without being heavy, always in proportion to the dog. Fine bone, which limits endurance, or heavy bone, which makes working movement cumbersome, is to be faulted.
Pasterns--Viewed from the side, slope slightly. Weak pasterns are to be penalized.
Dewclaws--May be removed.
Feet--Rounded, compact foot with well-arched toes, tightly bunched or close-cupped, the two center toes being only slightly longer than those on the outside. The toe pads should be deeply cushioned and covered with thick skin. The impression left by such a foot is rounded in contrast to oval.

Angulation in balance with the forequarters.
Hocks--Moderately let down. Straight and parallel.
Feet-As in front.

The coat is double with a short, soft, dense undercoat and long, harsh straight guard hairs measuring approximately one to two inches on the body. Hair on the head and legs is short and close; it is longest and most dense on plume of tail and back of thighs. The outer coat is stiffer and longer on the neck and back, and in males considerably more profuse at the shoulder, giving them a more ruffed appearance. Males carry more coat than females. No trimming of the coat except for feet is allowed. Whiskers shall not be trimmed. Any trimming of coat shall be severely faulted. Silky, wavy, long or short coat is to be faulted.

Varying shades of golden-red ranging from pale honey to deep auburn are allowed, with no preference given to shades at either extreme so long as the color is bright and clear. As the undercoat is a paler color, the effect of this shading is a coat which appears to glow. White markings on the tips of the toes and a quarter-sized spot or narrow white strip, ideally no wider than ½ inch, on the forechest are permitted. Black hairs along lipline and sparse, separate black hairs on tail and back permitted. Puppies may have a good many black hairs which decrease with age, black on tail persisting longer. Muddy or unclear color, any white on the body except as specified, is to be penalized.

The Finnish Spitz is quick and light on his feet, steps out briskly, trots with lively grace, and tends to single-track as the speed increases. When hunting he moves at a gallop. The angulation called for permits him to break into a working gait quickly. Sound movement is essential for stamina and agility.

Active and friendly, lively and eager, faithful; brave, but cautious. Shyness, any tendency toward unprovoked aggression is to be penalized.

Note: Finnish Spitz are to be examined on the ground.

Approved July 12, 1999
Effective August 30, 1999

quoted from the American Kennel Club