A Brief History of the Finnish Spitz

The early origins of the Suomenpystykorva or Finnish Spitz are thought to have started thousands of years ago when the Finno-Ugrian people living in Central Russia are known to have had Spitz-type dogs. When some of these people gradually moved westwards, their dogs mingled with the old European Spitz-type and these are thought to be the earliest ancestors of the modern breed. At the beginning of the Christian era one part of this original tribe, the proto-Finnic tribe, moved ever deeper into Finland where they settled to live with their dogs. These dogs living in the backwoods villages rarely came into contact with the dogs of other regions and so remained quite pure and developed in accordance with the hunter's requirements. The first documented evidence of the breed was in the l870's from French explorer De La Martiniere, who describes the "Deep Red dogs" he came across during his travels as far north as the Muurmanni coast.

In 1889/90, the Finnish Kennel Club was formed and organized its first show so that information could be gathered about the Finnish bird dogs (Finnish Spitz) and Finnish hound dog breeds. Forest Officer Hugo Richard Sandberg produced the first informative description of the breed including hunting abilities, conformation and temperament. The FKC later approved Sandberg's suggestions. In December 1892 the Finnish Kennel Club organized a speciality show for the breed in Oulu as several dogs who had received prizes at the FKC's two previous shows had come from this area. Out of an entry of 57 dogs, 28 bitches and 8 puppies the winner was a dog called Kekki who was included in the first breed book of the FKC 1889-1893. It was in 1897 that a new breed standard was confirmed and the name was changed to Finnish Spitz. The Finnish Kennel Club celebrated its 90th anniversary in 1979, and the Finnish Spitz was declared Finland's National dog in recognition of the dedication of its breeders.

The Finnish Spitz was first introduced into the UK in the 1920's, and is relatively popular in Sweden, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.