Showsight Presents the Finnish Spitz

JUDGING THE FINNISH SPITZ By Cindy Stansell T he Finnish Spitz, Fin- land’s National Dog, is one of the world’s few basal breeds. Th is red- gold, square, higher-sta- tioned Spitz was bred to “IN JUDGING THE BREED, START WITH THE

hunt birds and game in the dense Finnish forests. Quick and agile, he is a lively and natural breed in every way. Th ese are the essentials of the breed. In judging the breed, start with the proportions and size. Th e Finnish Spitz is a square dog. Th e length is measured from the forechest to the buttocks. He has more leg than depth of body. If the total height ratio is 9, then 5 parts are leg and 4 parts are depth of body. Your fi rst impressions of the proportions may be incorrect due to coat, especially on the heavier-coated males. Th e muscular and clean neck may appear short- er due to a heavy ru ff and the leg/body pro- portions may also appear o ff due to a heavy coat, so please verify with your hands. If the depth of chest approximates half or more the height of the dog, this is very faulty. Th e Finnish Spitz has obvious gender di ff erences with the males at 17 ½ to 20 inches (28-32 pounds) and the females at 15 ½ to 18 inches (22-25 pounds). Th e bone is proportionate for this size and weight of dog. One common mistake is looking for a heavier dog and bone. Th e Finnish Spitz is presented on the ground. Th is can be an awkward size on the ground but naturalness of presentation is very important. Another common mis- take is asking the breed to be tabled. Examining an inexperienced dog can be challenging in that they rarely hold a stack, are cautious of strangers, sensi- tive in nature and do not recover quickly when upset. Th ey are also noise sensi- tive, so please do not startle them. When approaching them, speak pleasantly to the handler to put the dog at ease and to alert him to your approach. Asking the handler to show the bite is advisable. A view of the front alignment of

PROPORTIONS AND SIZE. THE FINNISH SPITZ IS A SQUARE DOG.”

a scissors bite is all that is needed. Further mouth examination is apt to cause great distress to the inexperienced dog. Lips are clean and pigmented. Th e head is slightly tapered with a skull to muzzle ratio of 4:3. It should not be heavy with a broad wedge, nor fi ne with very little taper. Th e forehead and skull are slightly arched, neither domed nor fl at. Th e skull’s length is equal to the width. Th e Finnish Spitz standard says that the stop is pronounced. Th e FSCA de fi nes “pronounced” as “moderate.” A prominent stop would destroy the “foxlike and lively” expression that is essential to the breed. Th e eyes are almond-shaped, dark and obliquely set. Faults commonly seen are round and lighter eyes. Th e nose is black. Th is is a red dog with black points. Th e ears are set on high, relatively small, and erect. Th ey should not be hooded. Some spitz breeds are slightly rounded at the tip. Th e Finnish Spitz ears are not; they are pointed. It is sometimes very hard to see these very mobile ears as dog shows have many sounds to investi- gate. Using the hands to follow the head’s wedge on the examination will easily indi- cate the smoothness of the taper, the head proportions, and the set on of the ears. If your hands come away wet, it could also indicate a less than clean lip line. One

smooth movement: the head examination is quickly done. Th e backline on this square dog is level and strong both standing and on the move. Th e loin is short and there is a moderate tuck-up. Th e Finnish Spitz is moderately angulated in the front and rear. Th e feet are compact, well-arched, and deeply cushioned. Th e roundish feet can appear more oval because the standard allows the center two toes to be slightly longer. Th e Finnish Spitz may be born with not only front dew claws but rear dewclaws either singly or double as well. Th e rear dewclaws are removed. Th e front dewclaws are also sometimes removed. Th e plumed tail has a functional ele- ment and has an unusual construct from other spitz breeds. When the dog trees the bird, the swishing tail focuses the bird on the dog and not on the approaching hunter. Th e fl ashing tail is often the only way the hunter can initially fi nd the dog and treed bird in the dense forest. Th ink about watching deer in the dense forest. You often do not even know they are there until there is movement such as the fl ash of the tail. Although the tail is important, it should not be prioritized higher than the essentials of the breed in the open- ing paragraph. Th e ideal tail encompasses numerous elements. Th e set-on is just

270 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2014

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