Finnish Lapphund Dog Breed Information And Characteristics

The Finnish Lapphund or Suomen Lapinkoira, as they call it in Finland, is a Nordic herding dog originating from Lapland, a vast land in the Arctic circle, which encompasses northern regions of Scandinavia and the Karelian district of Russia. The breed originated in antiquity, approximately 7.000 years ago, judging by some fossil remains discovered in Lapland, and was developed by semi-nomadic Sámi people that have been inhabiting these lands for thousands of years. Lapinkoira, together with the Swedish Lapphund, Swedish Elkhound, Lapponian Herder, and Norwegian Elkhound, belongs to a group of Nordic breeds that were, after their domestication, further developed through hybridization of male dogs and female wolves. The primary use of these dogs was for hunting and reindeer herding, but today they are mainly used for sheep and cattle herding as well as family companions. The Finnish Lapphund is included by the FCI in the Nordic Watchdogs And Herding Dogs group in the class of primitive dogs.

About Finnish Lapphund Dogs

The Finnish Lapphund is a beautiful working dog of great strength, quite reminiscent of a Swedish Lapphund. In fact, these dogs are the same breed in two countries with only minor distinctions between them. Lapinkoira is a hardy, robust, and very intelligent breed with great working capacity. This is a very loyal dog, who likes to be in the company all the time. This quality makes him an all-around wonderful family companion, who is always ready to please its master and all other members of the household. This lovely dog is often suspicious towards strangers, but never aggressive. This makes him an excellent watchdog, but not that good guard dog since he’s not protective. Main Finnish Lapphund characteristics are high intelligence, agility, strength, resourcefulness, endurance, persistence, curiosity, boldness, independence, loyalty, speed, playfulness, and alertness.

Wolf-sable Finnish Lapphund is quite reminiscent of a Keeshond

Wolf-sable Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund average lifespan can vary from 12 to 15 years and in some cases even more. These are very resilient dogs, which can rarely suffer from few health issues, such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and hereditary cataracts. Lappies are known to be quite active and energetic dogs, who require a lot of daily exercise. So, remember to take your dog for a long walk or jog whenever possible or make sure you play some games with him as often as you can. Doesn’t matter where you go or what you want to do, Lapinkoira makes an excellent outdoor companion for every occasion. This dog usually gets very well with other dogs, however, things are not that great with other pets. Finnish Lapphund has been ordinary used for hunting, so it is no secret that this dog has a strong prey drive and will gladly chase any smaller animal at sight. That’s why it is recommended to socialize and train your dog in obedience as soon as possible.

Training And Some Other Traits

Fortunately, when it comes to training, Finnish Lapphund is a dog to wish for. Yeah, he is a bit independent and stubborn in the beginning, like every other primitive dog, but is very responsive to short and fun training sessions on a daily basis. Lapinkoira doesn’t require an experienced owner, but you’ll have to be a dominant leader with calm and gentle attitude. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this dog and it’s important to start with training as soon as the puppy is two months old. The moment you get your Lappie invested in training, you will marvel at how fast learner he actually is. This is, after all, a highly intelligent dog, who can learn with ease even the most complex commands. So, it is not surprising that Finnish Lapphund can successfully compete in plethora of dog sporting competitions, such as rally obedience, showmanship, agility, herding, carting, mushing, flyball, as well as tracking trials.

"Spectacles" is one of usual facial markings of a Finnish Lapphund

Do you like my glasses, hm? ;)

The Finnish Lapphund is very noisy, which is not that surprising since this is a herding dog after all. Lappie will bark at every suspicious thing or change in the environment, which can sometimes be quite annoying. So, it would be wise to correct this in time or to teach your dog any command to stop it. This is a very curious dog, who likes to explore his surroundings. If your dog sees a chance to sneak out and do some scouting of your neighborhood, he will gladly take advantage of it. To avoid such situations, it would be wise to have a bigger wall or fence around your yard. Finnish Lapphunds thrive in large open spaces, but if you wish, you can safely keep your dog indoors. Lappie is well mannered and calm by nature, and will enjoy and cherish every moment spent with his human family. In fact, he will equally enjoy playing as well as napping with his owner and other humans around him. Real cutie :)

Wonderful Children’s Companion

The Finnish Lapphund is probably one of the best dogs for every family with small children. Depending on the situation, this dog can be playful and cheerful or gentle and cuddly, but always friendly and well-mannered. On top of that, every Lappie can unmistakably recognize human feelings, allowing him to adapt easily his behavior to every surrounding. This ability makes him an ideal dog not only for children, but for the elder and disabled people too, which is why he is often used as a therapy dog. The best thing is that Suomen Lapinkoira is always very tolerant with kids and will literally let them jump all over him without losing his mind. Plus, Finnish Lapphund is a tireless dog, which can play all day long, so I’m more than sure your children will have a lot of fun with this buddy ;) So, if you are a parent, who wants a perfect dog for your kids, definitely consider this dog breed.

Physical Characteristics Of A Lapinkoira Dog

The Finnish Lapphund is a sturdy, strongly-built, medium-sized dog with the compact and muscular body. This dog has a long, luxurious and thick double coat, which is perfectly suited for harsh winter conditions. The soft underlying hair is dense and insulating, while the protective overlying hair is long and rough. The hair is longer on the neck (ruff), chest, stomach, hindquarters, tail, and on the hind parts of front legs (feathers). Despite the fact that these dogs shed a lot, they are relatively easy to groom. You should brush your dog once or twice a week, while during the shedding seasons (spring and autumn) daily brushing is necessary. Finnish Lapphund comes in many colors – black, wolf-sable, brown, cream, sable, red, white, tan or blond, which can vary in all sorts of combinations and markings. However, only one of dog colors can be predominant. Lappies usually have specific facial markings, which can sometimes form “spectacles” around the dog’s eyes.

The head of a Finnish Lapphund is compact and wedge-shaped, with straight, pointy at the nose, muzzle with scissor-like jaws. The nose is broad and black and the dark brown eyes are set horizontally. Its ears are well-furred, triangular and erect. You will have to clean them ordinary to prevent infections! The neck is medium-length and slightly lean. Lappie has a broad and deep chest that reaches the elbows. Like other Spitz type dogs, its tail is long and brushy with thick hair, and is usually curled well over its strong and straight back. The forelegs are parallel and straight. They look slightly short in comparison to the rest of body. The hind legs are slightly angled and are muscular and well-boned. They are very powerful, allowing the dog to do physically demanding tasks like sled pulling. The feet with hard pads are well-covered with insulating fur. It is advised to trim its nails once in a while.

Finnish Lapphund Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 18 and 20 inches (46-52 cm)
– Weight between 42 and 53 pounds (19-24 kg)
– Height between 16 and 19 inches (41-47 cm)
– Weight between 33 and 44 pounds (15-20 kg)

Lapinkoira is an excellent herding dog

This funny thing is nowhere near reindeer :)

Superb Herder

The Finnish Lapphund was developed with a reindeer herding instinct – that has been its main use during the long history of this breed. Reindeer are large and extremely strong animals with big antlers, capable to inflict deadly injuries to much larger animals than this dog. So, to herd them properly, dog has to have a lot of stamina, skill, and coordination. Lappie has it all and more! Like I already wrote above, this is a highly intelligent dog, who can think simultaneously with his actions. This incredible ability allows him to instantly adjust its decisions depending on the situation, which is of great importance in this job. Besides that, Lapinkoira effectively uses its agility, speed, and its great sense of coordination to avoid dangerous situations and keep the herd under control. Simultaneously, the dog is always barking, which helps greatly not only for herding, but to distinguish himself from wolves. The Finnish Lapphund is especially skilled in the herding technique for long distances known as droving.

Smart And Versatile Working Dog

Apart from the fact that Finnish Lapphunds are extremely smart, these dogs are also known to be very friendly, submissive, and willing to learn. They thrive in company, read human feelings well, and they’re always eager to please and do some work. On top of that, these dogs are quite hardy, brave and full of energy, capable to easily withstand even the most demanding jobs. Plus, they are very strong, agile, quick, and they possess all the qualities needed to successfully cope with the harshest of terrains. So, it is no wonder people found use of them in various sorts of jobs. Although they are still mainly used for herding as well as companions, Lappies can equally well serve as hunting dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs, rescue dogs, watchdogs, and even as sled dogs. All in all, the Finnish Lapphund is indeed a special dog breed with a friendly spirit and good manners. However, although not as rare as some other Scandinavian breeds, this dog is still considered rare outside its native country. So, it can be hard to come by one of these, but it’d be certainly worth it!

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