Showsight Presents the Finnish Spitz

THE FINNISH SPITZ

By Peggy L. Urton

History T

he Finnish Spitz, known in its native country of Finland as Suomen- pystykorva, the Finn- ish Cock (Erect) Eared Dog, is the National

Dog of Finland. Th is ancient breed, the only European breed with a basal genetic signature, was used for millennia by the Finno-Ugric people of central Russia both to hunt both small and large game and to guard his master and his master’s proper- ty. By 1880, however, this hardy little red dog had become nearly extinct. A single breeder, Hugo Roos, dedicated his e ff orts to rescue the Finnish Spitz by traveling to remote villages and collecting the pur- est specimens of the breed. He and Hugo Sandberg, who wrote the fi rst breed stan- dard, worked diligently to re-establish the breed in its native land. Following a hunting trip to Scandinavia in 1927, Sir Edward Chichester imported the fi rst Finnish Spitz to England. Lady Kit- ty Ritson, also an early devotee of the breed, coined the nickname “Finkie” by which the breed is a ff ectionately known in many countries, including the United States. By 1935 the Finnish Spitz had acquired enough support in England to warrant registration with Th e Kennel Club. Another of the early British supporters was Mrs. Grisenda Price, whose Cullabine pre fi x can be found behind many dogs worldwide. Th e fi rst recorded import to the United States was Cullabine Rudolph in 1959. In the mid-1960s serious breeding began in the kennels of Henry Davidson of Minnesota, Mrs. Aino Hassel of Connecticut and Mrs. Ella Chisholm. In 1974 Richard and Betty Isaco ff and Margaret (Peggy) Kohler fell in love with the breed and imported a bitch and later a dog from the Cullabine Ken- nels in England. In 1975 they founded the Finnish Spitz Club of America and adapted the Standard of the country of origin. Th e breed was accepted into the Miscellaneous 264 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2014

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