Finnish Spitz Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Finnish Spitz Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
The fox-like Finnish Spitz is lively and agile, quick and light on his feet.
He plays hard and enjoys vigorous exercise, especially in the snow. Without enough activity (physical and mental), this creative thinker will become bored and perhaps destructive.
He is very people-oriented and needs a great deal of companionship, especially from his favorite person. He doesn't like being left alone,and because of his extremely sensitive nature, he doesn't do well in an environment with frequent tension or loud voices.
The Finnish Spitz is sharp-eyed and keen of hearing and will immediately alert when he sees or hears anything unusual.
Conservative with strangers, he requires early and frequent socialization to ensure that his caution does not become suspicion or shyness. He also needs early physical handling as he often does not like being examined.
Typically bold with other dogs, he can be jealous and scrappy with those of the same sex and predatory with rodents and birds.
The Finnish Spitz learns quickly but is clever and independent and thus challenging to train.
These vocal dogs will greet you with throaty sounds of crooning, purring, and yodeling. They love to bark, and their barking pattern is high-pitched, piercing, and rapid (more than 150 barks per minute). If left outside unattended, they can drive neighbors up the wall.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized
- Is lively and agile, quick moving and light on his feet
- Enjoys vigorous exercise and athletic activities
- Makes a keen watchdog (but not a guard dog)
A Finnish Spitz may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- High energy level requiring plenty of exercise
- "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Suspiciousness or timidity toward strangers when not socialized enough
- Potential aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Stubbornness (mind of his own)
- Emotional sensitivity to stress and loud voices
- Heavy shedding
- Extreme vocalness, including barking and yodeling
A Finnish Spitz may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Finnish Spitz have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Finnish Spitz to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Finnish Spitz
If I was considering a Finnish Spitz, I would be most concerned about...
- Barking. Finnish Spitz are extremely vocal dogs, quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. If you have close neighbors, Finnish Spitz are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, these dogs should never be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, many Finnish Spitz have rapid, high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.
- Potential animal aggression. Finnish Spitz are hunting dogs, which means they have strong instincts to chase and seize other animals that run. Like cats, for example. Some Finnish Spitz are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex.
- Providing enough exercise. Finnish Spitz don't need miles of running, but they definitely need regular opportunities to vent their energy by romping and playing in a large enclosed area, like a dog park. Otherwise they will become bored, which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
Unless exceedingly well-trained, Finnish Spitz should be trusted off-leash. Remember that they are hunting dogs – they will take off after anything that runs.
- Fence security. Some Finnish Spitz are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. To keep your Finnish Spitz in, you may need higher fences than you might imagine for their size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.
- Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Finnish Spitz need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspiciousness, which are difficult to live with.
- Mind of his own. Finnish Spitz can be stubborn and manipulative. Many Finnish Spitz are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. To teach your Finnish Spitz to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Read more about Finnish Spitz Training.
- Emotional sensitivity. Be honest...is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments? Finnish Spitz are sensitive to stress and can end up with neurotic behaviors if the people in their home are having family problems.
- Heavy shedding. Like all spitz-type breeds, Finnish Spitz shed a lot. Be prepared for lots of brushing to get the dead hair out, and vacuuming!
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.