Let's talk Finnish Lapphunds

Few dogs can lay claim to having herded reindeer but such are the origins of the Finnish Lapphund. Bred just shy of the North Pole, their native Lapland created a very hardy, effervescent dog enrobed in a fluffy, dense double coat who could withstand extreme temperatures but warm up to humans of all kinds. Nowadays, the Finnish Lapphund has transitioned to family life with ease, such is with their amiable and industrious nature, and will readily welcome newcomers into the pack.

Official name: Finnish Lapphund

Other names: Finnish Lapponian Dog

Origins: Finland

Black and white portrait of a Finnish Lapphund

 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather?
 Shedding level Medium
Suited to apartment living? 
 Physical activity needs (high, low, medium): Medium Kid-friendly? 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets Very high
Can stay alone?*

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour.
Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Inline Image 15
Illustration of a Finnish Lapphund
Male
46 - 53 cm Height
15 - 24 kg Weight
Female
41 - 48 cm Height
15 - 24 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  10 years onwards

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Get to know the Finnish Lapphund

All you need to know about the breed

With a willing manner and an incredible amount of energy, the Finnish Lapphund has so much going for them, not to mention an ability to withstand the harshest of temperatures. Any dog raised north of the arctic circle has to be tough, and the Finnish Lapphund certainly fills the bill.

Dogs like this excel in rounding up their animal brethren (they really did herd reindeer) so movement is part of their DNA. It’s no surprise then that the Finnish Lapphund can go from 0 to a full gallop in a matter of seconds.

A tail that curls over their back is a dead give-away that the Finnish Lapphund is a spitz-type dog, one also characterised by their thick fur and high-set, pointed ears (“spitz” means “pointed” in German). The rugged weatherproof coat is a double one, developed during years of breeding in Lapland.

But it’s their demeanour that keeps owners coming back for more: The Finnish Lapphund breed is one who quickly bonds to people in their midst (and animals). They were bred to sit close to humans using their very dense furry coats to warm them up. Needless to say, this is one breed that doesn’t shy away from getting close.

Brown Finnish Lapphund bounding over a snowy field

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2 facts about Finnish Lapphunds

1. A Lapphund, yes; a lapdog, no

As a herding breed, the Finnish Lapphund is incredibly active so not often found lying around. It’s their beginnings in Lapland - the far northern part of Finland - that gives the breed their name, not their propensity for idleness.

2. Fear not

The lively Finnish Lapphund is usually busy trotting around the yard or field keeping themselves occupied, so it’s surprising to learn that they’re easily startled. It’s a hallmark trait of this otherwise affable dog, one garnered from dodging the antlers of reindeer whom they traditionally herded.

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History of the breed

Lapland is the largest and northernmost region of Finland, encompassing part of the Arctic Circle where subarctic temperatures abound. Only the most substantial of souls can survive here, and the Finnish Lapphund is one. The companion of the semi-nomadic Sami, or Lapp, peoples over centuries, this outgoing, strong dog used their very thickset fur to warm up their human and animal companions amidst the extreme conditions, thus the breed’s almost innate sociability.

The Sami were traditionally reindeer hunters, then herders, using their furry friends to assist in herding purposes. The dog is still used to this day, along with their fellow Swedish Lapphund, to move reindeer across Lapland’s frozen tundra.

The Finnish Kennel Club registered the Finnish Lapphund in 1945 and the U.K.’s Kennel Club did so in 1995. The American Kennel Club only recently registered the breed, however, in 2011.

Black and white portrait of a Finnish Lapphund

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Finnish Lapphunds

1. Ears

Triangular, medium-sized ears, broad at base, very mobile and carried very erect.

2. Body

Compact, medium-sized muscular body.

3. Coat

Profuse double coat, long, coarse outer coat, thick soft undercoat, in all colours.

Black and tan Finnish Lapphund sitting in the grass

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Finnish Lapphund
Close-up of a brown and white Finnish Lapphund, snow falling

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Caring for your Finnish Lapphund

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Dogs like the Finnish Lapphund are spitz-type, meaning those possessing a heavy double coat and a feathery tail curled over their back. Their coat is thick so weekly brushing is best. The Finnish Lapphund is blessed with a lack of doggie “odour” so you will need to bathe them only occasionally. Importantly, don’t shave their coat in summer: it actually acts as insulation to keep them cool. Trim their nails and brush their teeth regularly to prevent tartar buildup. Did someone say exercise? It’s a given for the Finnish Lapphund as a dog who was bred to accompany semi-nomadic peoples. A few daily walks or romps in the yard will do to keep them fit, but at least two hours a day is about right. This is a breed that will dive right into agility, obedience, rally, and tracking competitions so don’t hesitate to sign them up. Training should be enjoyable for the Finnish Lapphund. As a herding breed, they do well with commands big and small. Quite intelligent, your Finnish Lapphund will learn quickly. Early socialisation from puppyhood will cement the best behaviour.

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All about Finnish Lapphunds

Perpetually chipper and always willing to join the gang, the answer is a resounding yes! Those new to dog-owning will be spoiled by the Finnish Lapphund’s upbeat demeanour. They’re excellent with children - once trained - and senior citizens. Nomadic origins gave the dog strength and agility, which endures to this day.

A hugely popular breed throughout Scandinavia, the Finnish Lapphund continues to be a prime choice for many families because of their buoyant manner. Their animated expression is a plus for those who like to spend time around an extremely affable breed. And who wouldn’t?

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/