Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog. – Sydney Jeanne Seward
As his name suggests, the Finnish Lapphund is native to Finland, and was originally used as a hunter and herder of reindeer, and as a guard dog by the Saami people (sometimes called Lapps) of Northern Scandinavia and in the northern parts of Russia. He is part of a DNA group found only in Scandinavia that resulted from a female wolf-male dog hybridization.
The Finnish Lapphund is a member of the spitz family of dogs and as such is believed to date back to 7000 BC. Spitz dogs have been seen in the cave paintings of this era.
As reindeer herding subsided, the dogs herding abilities were used to control sheep and cattle. Once known as the Lapponian Herder, his name was changed to Lapphund in 1967 and finally to Finnish Lapphund in 1993. Today this dog remains very popular all over Finland, mainly as a house dog and beloved pet.
The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized dog that stands up to 19 inches (49 cm) tall at the shoulder. Like other spitz dogs, he has pricked ears, a foxy face, and a tail that curves up over his back when he moves.
Typical of dogs bred to withstand the harsh Arctic climate, he has a thick, coarse, water resistant, double coat with a pronounced mane. The coat comes in any colour as long as there is one dominant base colour. The light coloured hair around the eyes gives the Lapphund the effect of wearing glasses.
Be warned: that abundant coat sheds twice (or more) per year!
For the Finnish people, working abilities and temperament of the Lapphund are more important than appearance.
Photos displayed courtesy of Johanne Parent, Fincaribou, Quebec
The Finnish Lapphund possesses an even tempered, friendly disposition and is extremely loyal and devoted to his family. He gets along well with people and other dogs, and is known to be a happy little clown who just loves kids! Finnish Lapphunds have a gentle nature with children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. This is a very friendly breed who prefers to avoid conflict.
As is typical of a working breed, he also possesses an independent streak and is quite capable of assessing a situation and making his own decisions! Fortunately, his eager to please personality makes him easier than some breeds to train, and therefore he is an excellent candidate for obedience training and dog sports.
In his native land, “Lappies” have won national championships in obedience competition. The Finnish Lapphund can compete in dog agility trials, carting, mushing, obedience, Rally obedience, flyball, tracking, and herding events.
Training with patience and sensitivity will ensure your Lapphund develops his wonderful mild mannered temperament.
Originally a drover of reindeer, Lappies used barking on the job to help reindeer distinguished it from predatory wolves. These instincts are bred into the dog which means he’ll make a good watch dog, barking at strange people and things. Training will prevent your Lapphund from developing into a problem barker.
As a northern breed, the Finnish Lapphund makes an ideal outdoor companion. He is impervious to cold weather and waterproof. In Finland, he is one of only two breeds legally allowed to be kenneled outside during winter. As a working dog, he is used to a fair degree of activity and needs daily exercise and walking.