When we speak about Finland, the first thing that comes to mind is the rugged, icy terrain and extreme winters. Finland has given us several of what the world refers to as ‘Scandinavian dog breeds’, although many countries come under Scandinavia including Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and their associated territories. The focus of today’s guide is only on dog breeds from Finland which include rare dog breeds like the Finnish Lapphunds, Tamaskan dog, Finnish spitz, Karelian bear dog, etc. So let us take a look.
1. Finnish spitz
The Finnish Spitz is the National Dog of Finland. At one point, the breed became extinct but thanks to certain breeders and interest from the AKC, it was revived again in the early 1900s. Originally, the Finnish Spitz was developed as a treeing breed and they were particularly good at pointing and tracking using sight, sounds, and their excellent sense of scent. Modern Finnish Spitzes measure between 31-35 lb and come in red-gold coat color.
Their average life span is between 12-15 years. Having an independent streak and a strong willfulness, they can be tough to train and need an experienced dog owner. Finnish spitzes are great with children and also courageous, loyal, friendly, and lively dogs. Training a Finnish Spitz can be difficult since they get bored and distracted easily. Another breed called the Karelo Finnish Laika is also known as the Finnish Spitz and it was developed in the Karelia area which is now a part of Russia. Karelo Finnish Laika breed can be considered as the sibling breed of the Finnish Spitz dog.
2. Finnish Lapphund
Finnish Lapphund is the reindeer herder of Finland and it has been herding for centuries. Today though, the Lapphund is mainly a hobby and house dog in most of Finland. They are extremely hardy and versatile dogs that make excellent household companions.
The ideal height for male dogs is about 19 inches with a weight between 15-24 kilograms. Intelligent, courageous, calm, and willing to learn are some of the special qualities of the Finnish Lapphund. These friendly dogs make great family pets.
3. Tamaskan Dog
The beautiful Tamaskan dog is affectionate, playful, and pretty easy to train. He is wary around strangers but once he is comfortable, he will be quite friendly with them. Tamaskans were mainly bred as sledding dogs but today, they are companions and household pets that are also popular for their excellent watchdog abilities. The AKC does not recognize the Tamaskan dog breed and they are a rarity in the USA. The average life expectancy of the Tamaskan dog is 14-15 years.
The beautiful Tamaskan is very much like a wolf in appearance. In fact; breeders ensure that the Tamaska preserves its wolfish appearance. These sled dogs work extremely well in freezing arctic conditions. They are intelligent and easy-to-train dogs that function well as sled dogs, service or therapy dogs, and also do well in agility and obedience courses.
Tamaskans are often believed to be aggressive dogs since they have the blood of Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and German Shepherds. However, with proper training and socialization, you can bring out the sweet, loving nature out of your pet. This is a dog breed for an active and experienced dog owner.
4. Karelian bear dog
The word Karelian is actually pronounced as kuh-ree-lee-uhn and is the area between Finland and Russia. Karelian bear dog is also known as the Karjalankarhukoira dog and they were developed in the region between the Carelian Bear Forest and the Harz Mountains to deter bears out of the human suburbs. They are closely related to the Russo-European Laika dogs and were mainly used for hunting bears and elks.
After the Second World War, the breed almost became extinct but thanks to the efforts made by the Finnish Kennel Club, the breed soon made a comeback. There is no breed standard weight available, but the height at withers is between 19.25 to 23.5 inches. Male dogs may weigh between 55-62 lbs. This aggressive dog is not considered an ideal house pet and they also do not get along well with other dogs.
5. Finnish hound dog aka Suomenajokoira aka Finsk Stovare
The Finnish Hound is still used to hunt fox and hares even today in many parts of Finland. The males weigh up to 55 lbs and measure between 22 and 24 inches at withers. Their coat is short, dense, and coarse to touch.
Typical coat colors include tan with black saddle and small white markings on head, chest, feet, and tail. The Finnish Hound is very popular in Finland but outside the country, they are quite uncommon and considered a rare dog breed.
6. Lapponian herder dog aka Lappinporokoira aka Lapland reindeer dog
The Finnish Lapphund (described above) and the Lapponian herder was initially considered the same breed but were later separated in 1960. The Lapponian was based on indigenous reindeer herding dog population. Their height is between 52 and 56 cm and they weigh up to 66 lbs. The Lapponian Herder is a medium-sized, long, and strong-boned that is also quite a muscular dog.
They are considered spitz-type dogs and have natural herding instincts. Lapponians make great family companions and these intelligent and easy-to-train dogs learn rather quickly. Their friendly disposition may not make them good guard dogs. They are better suited to a life outdoors but can also make good indoor dogs provided they get their daily outdoor playtime. The breed’s black or black and tan coat is short, stiff, and coarse and comes with a dense undercoat.
7. Seskar seal dog aka Seiskarinhyljekoira
The Seskar seal dog, named after the Isle of Seskar where they were used for work, is now extinct but breeders are creating a newer version of these dogs which are known as the Seiskari dogs. Nearly 200 odd dogs of this type exist in the country today. These medium, light coated, and short dogs are not recognized by the AKC.
Their coat colors include white, black, brown, or white with black or tan markings. They measure about 21 inches at withers and up to 20 kilos or 44 lbs in weight. These Spitz type, seal hunting dogs may have existed for centuries and used to hunt seals in the Baltic Sea. They are friendly dogs that are social towards people and animals.