Over one hundred years of association history of the Finnish Spitz

Helena Suni

Suomen Kennelklubi, the precursor of the Finnish Kennel Club, was established May 11th 1889.  The date can be considered as the starting point of organised kennel activities in Finland.  The Finnish Senate confirmed the by-laws of the Club, and artist Jussi Mäntynen drew up a seal that would be used to confirm the Club’s documents. The seal illustrates a barking bird dog – the Finnish Spitz.

Once the Kennel Club expanded, specific sections were needed for carrying out different tasks.  The Spitz got their own section as well when the Spitz Section, Pystykorvaosasto, was established in 1902. It took primarily care of matters related to the Finnish Barking Bird Dog, but in 1916 the Karelian Bear Dog was also mentioned in the documents. 

The Spitz Section held together until 1921. Due to conflicts, a separate club for the Spitz, Pystykorvaklubi, was established December 31st 1922. However, the club disbanded already in 1925. Then again, the Spitz Section continued its activities through the following decade.

Due to disagreements on the language policy and the possibilities to influence, Suomen Kennelklubi split up in two. The founding meeting of Suomen Kennelliitto was held March 16th 1935. This lead to the establishment of nationwide breed associations. The founding meeting of the Finnish Spitz Club, Suomen Pystykorvajärjestö, was held at Helsingin Seurahuone May 6th 1938.

The dichotomy continued until 1962 when Suomen Kennelklubi and Suomen Kennelliitto merged into a single organisation, the Finnish Kennel Club, officially named as Suomen Kennelliitto – Finska Kennelklubben. The combining of the clubs led little by little to the merger of sections and breed associations. The Spitz were reunited in 1964 as the Spitz Section and the Finnish Spitz Club merged into one association, the Finnish Spitz Club, officially named as Suomen Pystykorvajärjestö – Finska Spetsklubben.

The by-laws for the new association were approved in the founding meeting of the Finnish Spitz Club. The Finnish Spitz was defined as the only subject of interest. In the annual general meeting in 1950 the by-laws were revised to include the other Finnish domestic Spitz as well. 

A delegation elected by the general meeting oversaw the activities of the association. The delegation elected a chair among its members, as well as a separate board to take care of different matters in the association. Gradually, the board became the primary body to carry out the tasks. The delegation was entirely given up in the revised by-laws in 1950.

The mission that was set for the Finnish Spitz Club was to cherish and preserve the breed that was bred directly from the native landrace dog population.

Artist Jussi Mäntynen drew up a seal that would be used to confirm the documents of Kennelklubi, the precursor of the Finnish Kennel Club. The seal illustrated a Finnish Spitz which was back then known as the Finnish Barking Bird Dog. The dog in the picture was surrounded by the text Finska Kennelklubben – Suomen Kennelklubi. The Finnish Kennel Club used the same symbol, until it was modernised for the World Dog Show in 1998. The new symbol for the Kennel Club was released in the beginning of 1999. It illustrates the silhouette of the head of Finland’s National Dog, the Finnish Spitz, in a stylised way. The symbol was designed by Pekka Lehtinen, the art director for a large Finnish publisher of magazines Yhtyneet Kuvalehdet. The old, round symbol for the Kennel Club continued to be used in flags, honorary decorations, and medals.