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Finnish Lapphund

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Friendly, smart and robust, Finnish Lapphunds are excellent companions. They excel at various canine classes and are often used as therapy dogs. These pooches are suited to life in almost any environment but are relatively rare in the UK. If you can find a puppy, you will be rewarded with a loyal and affectionate pet which is easy to train.

Which breed group is the Finnish Lapphund in?

Breed group: Pastoral

Finnish Lapphund breed history

The Finnish Lapphund is a spitz-type dog similar to those used for centuries by the Sami people of Lapland to herd reindeer. It is believed that the breed was the result of a cross between the Karelian bear dog and the reindeer dogs. The first breed standard was set in 1945 by the Finnish Kennel Club for the Lappish Herder, also known as Kukonharjunlainen. This was a shorthair. In the 1950s, the Finnish Kennel Association created the first breed standard for the Lapponian herder which had a longer coat. A decade later, the various Finnish kennel associations were unified, and the herding breeds were reassessed. This resulted in new definitions for the two breeds.

The Sami people originally favoured long-haired dogs for herding but when they started using snowmobiles, they began to favour the shorthaired dogs. However, the Finnish Lapphund remains an incredibly popular pet in Finland. The breed first arrived in the UK in 1989 but is still comparatively rare.

Finnish Lapphund breed characteristics

These dogs are powerfully built and boast dense double coats to protect them from the cold. They have pricked, mobile ears and elegant muzzles. Coat colours include, black, cream, tan, white and grey, brown and white, plus brown and cream. A single colour should predominate. Profuse hair around the head and neck creates the appearance of a mane in most males. Many Finnish Lapphunds have distinctive facial markings which give the appearance of spectacles. Their tails are carried curved over their backs and are covered with long hair.

Finnish Lapphunds are highly intelligent and incredibly active dogs. They are relatively easy to train and tend to excel at obedience trials, agility, herding trials, and pet therapy. They tend to bark at unfamiliar things which makes them good watchdogs and they are excellent companions. These dogs are gentle by nature and so are great with children of all ages.

  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Height: up to 52cm
  • Weight: up to 25kg
  • Dense double coats
  • Variety of colours
  • Single colour dominates
  • Males have manes
  • May have facial markings like spectacles
  • Tails carried curved over backs
  • Intelligent
  • Excel at agility, obedience and therapy
  • Good watchdogs
  • Tend to bark at unfamiliar things
  • Good with children

Health issues with the Finnish lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is a naturally robust and healthy breed which can enjoy a long life. The known health issues with the breed are:

  • Generalised progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA)
  • Cataracts
  • Pompes Disease

What is the Finnish Lapphund bred for?

These dogs were originally herders of reindeer for the Sami people of Lapland.

What sort of owners does the Finnish Lapphund suit?

Friendly, gentle and easy to train, these appealing dogs are wonderful family pets. They are good with small children and excellent therapy dogs. They do need constant stimulation, though, and plenty of exercise and so are best suited to owners who enjoy spending time outdoors. They are fabulous companions but are self-reliant and so can be left home alone, but not for too long. Their coats are surprisingly low maintenance and owners don’t need to spend too much time grooming. Finnish Lapphunds place fewer demands on their owners’ time than many breeds and are a good choices for busy working people.


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