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FINNISH SPITZ

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Life span: 12-14 Years

Height: 17 – 20 inches (male), 15 – 18 inches (female)

Weight: 26 – 29 lbs. (male), 16 – 22 lbs. (female)

As the name suggests, the Finnish Spitz is a dog breed that was developed in Finland for hunting game, such as squirrels, rodents, and even bears. With its thick double coat of golden-red fur, the Finnish Spitz has a fox-like appearance, with black eyes and a curved tail. Even though the Spitz is efficient as a hunter, it is also very affectionate with a steady temperament, which makes it great around children. In fact, the Finnish Spitz is so well loved that since 1979 it has been the national dog of Finland.

Physical Characteristics

This medium sized breed has ears that remain erect, and a fluffy tail that curls over its body. Its eyes are brown with a black nose. Its double coat is made up of a soft and dense undercoat, and a long outercoat that is rough to the touch. Although its coat sticks to the same color, it may be many variations of it, ranging from a deep red-brown mix, to a light brown. It tends to have the hair on its legs, chest, belly and snout slightly lighter than the rest of its body is colored.

History

The Finnish Spitz comes from comes from the ancient dog Northern Spitz, which developed a long time ago in Central Russia and made its way to Finland. The isolation of this dog allowed the species to develop but the pure line was almost destroyed in the 1800s because of the new breeds. Thankfully, sportsmen found a group of pure Finnish Spitz and created a plan to save them. It arrived in England, where its name changed to the Finsk Spets.  While the species was popular in Europe it wasn’t as much in the United States. It wasn’t until 1998 that it was accepted by the American Kennel Club. Today the Finnish Spitz is viewed as a family pet, but is still viewed as a hunter in its homeland. It is especially good to hunt birds and in Finland it is the national dog. They have a very distinct bark, which is so special that there actually exists a barking competition in Finland, where it is named the “the king of barking”.

Personality

This breed is loving and affectionate with its family, especially with children. However, it is wary of strangers, and cannot be left alone for long periods of time or they might develop destructive behavior. Its usually attitude is of that of a happy and playful dog, although they can be stubborn at times. Because of this, training should be done with patience, and be careful, as this dog tends to try and lead its owner. They are loud dogs that express themselves through barking, especially when they don’t receive the amount of attention they want. Excessive barking and destructive behavior can both be produced by lack of attention or exercise, as well as being left alone for long periods of time, but both can be corrected through training.

Health

This is a generally healthy dog breed, but may suffer from:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Patellar Luxation, a disease where their kneecaps are slightly out of place or even dislocated, although this disease is genetic, it can also happen through injuries.

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.

Care

Their coat must be lightly sprayed with water and brushed every two to three days, with hot temperature blow drying. During shedding season, the brushing must be done daily, and baths should be followed by cool temperature blow drying. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. Exercise needs to be done daily and always alongside its owners, usually a long walk with a leash should be enough. Training can be difficult, as they get bored easily, so attempt to make sessions interesting and short. Positive reinforcement, especially with treats, works best for this breed.

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