Finnish Lapphund

Type: Herding

Height: 16 - 20.5 inches.

Weight: 44 - 47 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 15 years, though it is not uncommon to see Finnish Lapphunds live up to 16 or 17.

Litter Size: Average litter size is 5.

Country of Origin: Finland/Scandinavia

Activity: Medium to high.

Watch-dog: High. Finnish Lapphunds are alert and will bark at anything unusual.

Guard-dog: Medium. They will bark at strangers, but are generally friendly dogs.


Description: Bearing high resemblance to the Samoyed and Keeshond, the Finnish Lapphund is one of two versions of the same breed. The general breed, the Lapphund, originally existed in in Scandinavia, then trickled down to both Sweden and Finland. To avoid confusion with the name, both countries simply named the same dog after their own country. Thus exists the Finnish Lapphund and the Swedish Lapphund, varying only slightly in size. The Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized dog that is compact and well built. They are covered with a bushy double coat that can protect against the most severe Finnish weather. Their tails come up over the back and curl, and they can be of any color. Finnish Lapphunds are known to have a distinct marking sometimes appearing around the eyes known as "spectacles". A small circle of fur around the eyes is colored lighter than the rest of the fur, creating the appearance of glasses. They have a foxy-type muzzle, profuse fur and short triangular ears. Finnish Lapphunds are very friendly, weather-resistant and naturally good at alarming their masters, as they bark at unusual occurrences. They have more recently become family pets due to their friendly nature, but were once used for reindeer herding. They have a natural instinct to herd, although this trait has diminished with lack of use. Finnish Lapphunds are intelligent, trainable and enjoy a cool climate. Pleasant and obedient, the Finnish Lapphund makes an excellent companion or herding dog.

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Other Names: Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira, Lapland Dog

Colors: 20.5 Finnish Lapphunds come in any color, usually with one color predominating. Any white markings are small and symmetrical. It may have markings on the face, neck, stomach and tail. Some wear

Coat: Finnish Lapphunds have long, thick, stand-off fur. It is heavy and underwool, with fringing on the back of legs, belly and tail. The coat is very insulating, used for extreme cold climates.

Temperament: Finnish Lapphunds are friendly, intelligent and vocal. They like to bark at unusual things, making them an ideal watch dog. They have an instinct to herd, although it may be more diminished than it used to be. They are said to

With Children: Yes, good with children.

With Pets: Yes, good with other pets and dogs.

Care and Training: Regular brushing is required for their bushy coat, but for such a large coat the care is only moderate. For a long haired dog, they are generally low-maintenance. They should receive plenty of exercise, however, as they are an active breed. They will often receive adequate exercise simply from running around the house as a puppy. Finnish Lapphunds are very trainable. They obey, but may be stubborn at times. They should be socialized from an early age, and firm training should be initiated as they will do what they want if not instructed. Training must remain interesting for this breed or else it will lose interest and disobey.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Exercise, grooming, socialization and training.

Living Environment: Finnish Lapphunds are active dogs that like a cool climate. They are vocal as well, and need their space. A yard is essential, but be aware, they have a tendency to dig. Training can resolve this problem. The best owner for this breed would be an active owner living in a colder rural or suburban setting.

Health Issues: Although a relatively healthy breed, the Finnish Lapphund may suffer from GPRA (Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy), as well as cataracts.

History: Believed to be a breed more than 9000 years old, the Finnish Lapphund is thought to have come with humans to Scandinavia to live with the Sami people, also called Laplanders. They are an ancient group native to the Arctic Circle. The region in which they lived was known as Lapland, although it reached into northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia. These people developed the breed into what it is today, save the separation of Finnish and Swedish Lapphunds. The breed may have also come from the Samoyed, which resided in central Siberia. For centuries they existed as reindeer herders used by the native people. They adapted to herd cattle and sheep when the livestock changed, but were eventually replaced by snowmobiles to herd. When Sweden and Finland formed boundaries and chose their own herding dogs, both countries chose the same breed. To avoid confusion and tension, they simply separated the breed by country. This is why there is a Swedish Lapphund and a Finnish Lapphund. The original Lapphunds, or Lapponian Herders, were first brought to Finland in the 1930s. They were later bred with the Karelian Bear Dog, and later the Finnish Kennel Club decided to separate the breeds. In 1945 a breed standard was set for the Finnish Lapphund, and in the 1950s the Finnish Kennel Association created a breed standard for the Lapponian Herder, which had a shorter coat and was larger than the Finnish Lapphund. When the Finnish Kennel Association and Club combined in the 1960s, a formal definition of both of the breeds was assessed in 1966. Today the breed is not hugely popular outside of its native country, but permeates Australia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

First Registered by the AKC: 2011

AKC Group: Herding Group

Class: Herding

Registries: FLCA, LCF, FCI (Group 5), FSS, ANKC (Group 5), CKC (Miscellaneous), KC (UK), NZKC, UKC