Finnish breeds as our national treasures

Finland celebrates 100 years of independence in 2017. In honour of the jubilee year, the Finnish Kennel Club launches the project “Finnish breeds as our national treasures”. The project is a part of the Finland Centenary Programme. With the project, the Finnish breeds are made well known, and the preservation and the breeding of the Finnish breeds are enhanced, as well.

Goals of the jubilee year
to inform the general public about the Finnish breeds and to improve the preservation and breeding of these breeds
to thank the breeders of the Finnish breeds about the wonderful work they're doing

The Finnish breeds have a long history as Finnish people’s helpers in everyday chores, house guards, and faithful companions on hunting trips. They are all important parts of the Finnish cultural heritage and are our national treasures.

The goal of the project Finnish breeds as our national treasures is to inform the general public about the Finnish breeds and to improve the preservation and breeding of them. Familiarity with the Finnish breeds belongs to Finnish general knowledge. The theme is nationally publicised to reach not only the 150 000 members of the Finnish Kennel Club, but also all the other Finnish people. The programme is composed together with several organisations within the canine field.

Five beautiful Finnish breeds

There are five domestic dog breeds in Finland: the Finnish Spitz, the Karelian Bear Dog, the Finnish Hound, the Lapponian Herder, and the Finnish Lapponian Dog. They are all important parts of the Finnish culture. Our national dog, the Finnish Spitz, is a native breed which was bred directly from a landrace dog population. The Finnish Spitz barks at birds perched in trees, and it is therefore a rarity in the world.

The other Finnish breeds are important parts of the Finnish national heritage, as well. The Lapponian Herder and the Finnish Lapponian Dog have a long history as reindeer herders, the Karelian Bear Dog is a brave dog used for big-game hunting, and the Finnish Hound is at his very best when hunting hare and fox in the forest. Common for all the Finnish breeds is that they are all still used for their original purposes.

The Finnish Kennel Club has committed to the national animal genetic resources programme with the Finnish dog breeds. The Finnish Kennel Club is involved in the project coordinated by the National Resources Institute Finland, to establish a gene bank which is composed to secure the genetic diversity and the preservation of the breeds in the future, as well. The gene bank is a last resort. Its purpose is to revive the population, if necessary. A part of the bank is held in long-term storage, and is used only in an extreme emergency situation where the breed has to be recreated.

The Finnish Spitz and hunting with it are important parts of the Finnish tradition. Cherishing the breed and the hunting tradition is a point of honour for Finnish Kennel associations. The Finnish Kennel Club works actively together with the Finnish Hunters’ Association and the Finnish Spitz Club to include hunting with the Finnish Spitz to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Hunting with the Finnish Spitz is already included in the National Board of Antiquities’ Wiki-inventory for Living Heritage.

The Finnish breeds are displayed at events through Finland

Since three of the five Finnish breeds are above all hunting dogs, the theme is strongly displayed during the jubilee year at the national championship trials for Finnish breeds. These trials are the Haukku championship for Finnish Spitz, the Kilpa championship for Finnish Hounds, and the Hirvenhaukut championship for Karelian Bear Dogs. These championship trials are organised by the kennel districts that work under the Finnish Kennel Club.

In addition to the championship trials, the theme is at display at different events throughout Finland. The events are organised by the Finnish Kennel Club together with the breed associations for the Finnish breeds; the Finnish Hound Association, the Finnish Spitz Club, and the Lapphund Club of Finland. There is also cooperation with operators outside the canine field.

As the expert in Finnish dog breeding, the Finnish Kennel Club is putting a lot of effort during the jubilee year in different materials that include information of the Finnish breeds. Furthermore, the Finnish Kennel Club is writing several press releases concerning the Finnish breeds, and displays the breeds in the Finnish Kennel Club’s member magazine Koiramme.

The Finnish breeds are displayed at the following events in 2017:

Jalostuspäivät - Breeding Days, Kuopio 28.1
KoiraExpo, Vantaa 4–5.2
Talvikki Winter Hiking Day, The Hunting Museum of Finland, Riihimäki 12.2
ShowlinkPets Fair, Jyväskylä 25–26.3
Discussion evening for breeders 19.4
Eläinystäväni Fair, Helsinki 21–23.4
National Dog Day 24.4.
Discussion evening for breeders, Pori 14.6
Discussion evening for breeders, Jyväskylä 21.6
Discussion evening for breeders, Joensuu 25.7
Discussion evening for breeders, Kainuu 1–2.8
Discussion evening for breeders, Helsinki 7.8
Discussion evening for breeders, Southwest Finland 16.8
Discussion evening for breeders, Rovaniemi 19.8
Specialty Show for Lapponian Dogs, Pori 8.10.
The Haukku trial for Finnish Spitz 21–22.10
The Kilpa trial for Finnish Hounds 11–12.11
The Hirvenhaukut trial for Karelian Bear Dogs 18–19.11
The exhibition stand for the Finnish breeds, Dog Fair Finland, Helsinki 8.–10.12

Read more about Finnish dog breeds

The Finnish Hound Association - Suomen Ajokoirajärjestö ry
The Finnish Spitz Club - Suomen Pystykorvajärjestö ry
The Lapphund Club of Finland - Lappalaiskoirat ry

Pictures: Hannu Huttu

For more information
The Finnish Kennel Club
(09) 8873 0292