Today We Celebrate the National Dog Day – Here Are Five Breeds That Originate in Finland

These five dog breeds originate in Finland. They are most popular among hunters, herders and farmers but make great family companions, too. The National Dog Day is celebrated yearly on April 24.

The Finnish Spitz. Picture: Robert Andersson

1. Finnish Spitz

The fox-like, agile hunter’s companion is the result of domestic breeding work. It was bred directly out of the native landrace dog population without crossbreeding, making it a rarity as a hunting dog on the international level as well.

The Finnish Spitz primarily barks at birds perched in trees, using its voice to indicate the location of game. It is mostly used to hunt forest game birds, but also to some extent as an elk-hunting dog as well as to hunt small game and retrieve birds shot into the water.

Make sure to reserve a bottle Pinot Noir to go with the duck when you come home with this furry fella.

The Karelian Bear Dog. Picture: The U.S. Army

2. Karelian Bear Dog

The Karelian Bear Dog is a Finnish breed that was traditionally used for hunting squirrels, moose, lynx, wolf and the Eurasian Brown Bear.

The outbreak of the Winter War in 1939 led to the almost complete destruction of the breed population. The damage was repaired during the Continuation War, however, with a substantial addition to the Karelian Bear Dog population being extracted from the war zone. In all, 60 dogs were brought back from Russian Karelia and 43 of them participated in the breeding effort.

The Karelian Bear Dog enjoys its own company and may be slightly sullen. It is alert, unyielding, bold and gutsy. Some individuals are eager to defend their territory and have a strong ego. The Karelian Bear Dog is happy to stand guard and it has a very powerful hunting instinct.

The Finnish Hound. Picture: Wikimedia

3. The Finnish Hound

The Finnish Hound is a native breed and one of the most popular dog breeds in Finland. It is used almost solely to hunt hares or foxes. It works independently, tracking either earth or airborne scent and will pursue game and bark passionately. The long hunting season for hares and foxes contribute to the breed’s popularity. The Finnish Kennel Club registered 1,475 Finnish Hounds in 2012. In total, 20,030 Finnish Hounds were registered in 2003-2012.

The systematic development of the Finnish Hound breed can be said to have begun when hunting enthusiasts established Suomen Kennelklubi, a precursor of the Finnish Kennel Club, in 1889. One of their first objectives was the development of a hound-type breed for Finnish conditions.

The Finnish Lapphund. Picture: Veijo Karjalainen

4. The Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is an “all-around” dog, considered intelligent and eager to please. They are a breed quick to learn and coupled with their non-aggressive attitude towards people, children and other dogs they are fast gaining popularity as popular companions.

Originally used to herd reindeer, these dogs are medium-sized and powerfully built. They have a thick double coat which insulates them from the harshest of weather conditions.

The Lapponian Herder. Picture: RonjaV

5. The Lapponian Herder

The Lapponian Herder has a good temperament; it is calm, quick to learn, energetic and eager to serve. It barks a lot when working. It is friendly to people, but not suited to be a companion dog only because it demands action as well. It can handle being outdoors all the time.

It is thought that the Lapponian Herder evolved from dogs that have inhabited the northern parts of Scandinavia since pre-historic times. The origin of the breed is the subject of much debate, however, as the Lapponian Herder clearly deviates from traditional Spitz-type dogs.

The earliest information on reindeer husbandry in Lapland dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries and the first mentions of reindeer-herding dogs were included in the book Lapponia, which was published in 1674.

Sources: Suomen Kennelliitto

The National Dog Day

The National Dog Day is celebrated annually on April 24. In 2017, the theme of the National Dog Day is “Finnish breeds as our national treasures.”

Through National Dog Day, the Finnish Kennel Club wants to remind people of how significant man’s best friend is. The day emphasizes soft and warm values, and showcases the different roles dogs play in human life and society.

The first National Dog Day was celebrated in 2007. At the time, the Finnish Kennel Club’s Future Committee was thinking about the social status of dogs and planning ways with which to make everyone aware of the good things that dogs bring. The Finnish Kennel Club aims to have the National Dog Day included in the official calendar.

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