The Swedish Lapphund (Svensk Lapphund) or Lapponian Dog is a Spitz type working dog originating from Sweden. In fact, this is one of the oldest Swedish dog breeds as well as one of three Lapphund breeds – other two being the Finnish Lapphund and Lapponian Herder – that were developed by ancient tribes of Sámi people from northern Scandinavia. Based on the fossil remains of a dog discovered near Varanger in Norway, which was quite reminiscent of today’s Lapphund dogs, scientists have estimated that this breed is approximately 7.000 years old. This puts Lapponian Dog into the group of oldest Spitz type breeds in the world. It is interesting to know that Swedish Lapphund, together with the Lapponian Herder, Finnish Lapphund, Norwegian Elkhound, and Swedish Elkhound, genetically, belong to a group of dogs developed through interbreeding of male dogs and female wolves. In the FCI, this dog is included in the Nordic Watchdogs And Herding Dogs group in the class of primitive dog breeds.
About Swedish Lapphund Dog
The Swedish Lapphund is a typical example of a Nordic primitive breed. Initially, this dog was only used for hunting and guarding, but later on it proved its worth as an excellent reindeer herding dog. This is a lively, alert, and affectionate dog with a tendency to bark a lot. Sámi people actually developed this breed by choosing solely dogs that were barking the most. Their goal was to have an always alert dog for protection and herding, who will bark indefinitely to reveal its presence to the reindeer and thus scare off predators. So, if you plan to use this dog only as a companion, it would be wise to correct this behavior as soon as possible. Fortunately, this won’t be a problem since Swedish Lapphund is one of those primitive dogs that are easiest to train. Yeah, he might be independent and stubborn sometimes, but not as nearly as some other dogs in this class. Just use positive reinforcement techniques – short and fun training lessons – and everything will be fine.
Lapp Dog Temperament And Some Other Traits
Main Swedish Lapphund characteristics are intelligence, alertness, agility, speed, strength, playfulness, independence, cheerfulness, curiosity, loyalty, resourcefulness, boldness, and endurance. This dog is an excellent family companion, who is always affectionate with all members of the household. He likes to be in the company all the time, so make sure you spend as much time as you can with your dog. If you neglect your dog too often, you risk him becoming depressed and unhappy, which can lead to all sorts of bad consequences. This is also a recommended dog for every family with kids since he is very tolerant and likes to play a lot. However, things are not so bright when it comes to other pets, cats especially. Lapp Dog has been always used as a hunting dog, so it is understandable that he has a strong prey drive and will gladly chase smaller animals at the sight. This can be often put under control by smart and focused training, but it would be best for them to grow up together.
The Swedish Lapphund is a great watchdog, who will alert you with a loud bark when he spots anything suspicious near your property. He is generally non-aggressive with strangers, but can and will protect his human family if he finds needed. This is after all what this breed was developed for, so it would be best to socialize your dog as soon as possible. Otherwise, I suggest you put a proper warning sign at your gate. Early socialization is also important when it comes to Lappie‘s relationship with other dogs. Yeah, they can be hostile with other dogs of the same sex, especially males. These are very brave dogs, ready to fight with any other animal, doesn’t matter how large it is, so you kind of get the picture where this hostility could lead, right? So, better to prevent than to treat! Swedish Lapphund is a tireless fighter with huge heart and incredible endurance. It is no wonder this dog has been often used for hunting big game, such as wolf, bear or moose.
The life expectancy of a Swedish Lapphund is around 10-13 years. This is a very resilient breed with only a few (not so common) health problems, such as diabetes mellitus and hip dysplasia. Also, this dog is prone to overfeeding, so make sure you take away his food after he’s done eating. Lappies are very active dogs with lots of stamina. Regular daily exercise is mandatory in order to keep your dog healthy in every way. It is necessary to take your Lapponian for a jog or hike at least once a day, but since this is a tireless working dog, it would be best to combine this with some games with a ball or frisbee in your yard. Speaking of the yard, a bigger wall (or fence) is needed around it since Lappie is a good climber, who is able to jump high and who likes to explore his surroundings. This dog can easily accommodate in every environment, even an urban area, but only if you have a lot of space for him to spend his excessive energy. In other words, this is not an appropriate dog for an apartment.
Physical Characteristics Of A Lapponian Dog
The Swedish Lapphund is a slightly smaller medium-sized dog, who is often maintaining a proud stance with his head up high. This is a strong and compact dog with muscular, well-postured body. Like other Nordic Spitz breeds, Lapp Dog has a weatherproof double coat with the dense and soft undercoat and a bit longer, stiff topcoat. The hair is longest on the neck (ruff), hindquarters, back of the front legs (feathers), and on the tail. With such coat, Lapponian Dog is perfectly adapted to harsh winter climates, but he can’t stand the excessive heat, so it would be wise to keep your dog in some cool space during warm summer days. This dog is easy to maintain. The grooming is required once a week, while during shedding periods, it is recommended at least once a day. The only allowed Swedish Lapphund colors are dark brown and black. Preferred are Lappies with solid colors, but those with a combination of these two colors are equally prized. Dogs with a small white mark on the chest and those with white feet are also acceptable.
The Swedish Lapphund has a typical wolf-like, wedge-shaped head with erect triangular ears and big dark-brown eyes. The pointy muzzle with the strong scissor-like jaws and the black rounded nose is cone-shaped. The neck is thick and strong. Lapp Dog has a long brushy tail, which he holds curved atop his straight long back. His chest is broad and deep, reaching the elbows. The front legs are strong and vertical. The hind legs are very powerful, well-boned, and muscular. The freeze resistant paws are well-furred with hard pads. Nails should be trimmed from time to time. Swedish Lapphund is slightly longer than tall at the withers. With such physical characteristics, it is quite evident that this is a very strong, powerful, hardy, and agile dog, capable of all sorts of escapades and crazy maneuvers. That’s why Lappies can easily cope with any terrain, doesn’t matter how rough it is, which makes them more than reliable workers and hunters as well as excellent sporting dogs.
Swedish Lapphund Dog Size And Weight
– Height between 17,5 and 20 inches (45–51 cm)
– Weight between 44 and 46 pounds (20-21 kg)
– Height between 15,5 and 18 inches (40–46 cm)
– Weight between 42 and 44 pounds (19-20 kg)
Great Competitor In Dog Sporting
The Swedish Lapphund‘s incredible mental and physical qualities make this dog an excellent competitor in the various sporting events and a noticeable presence in every confirmation show. This is a beautiful, resilient dog breed with huge strength and pliability, high intelligence, undisputed loyalty, insane persistence, and keen senses. Lapp Dog movement is light and swift, and his fantastic endurance allows him to deal with the most demanding tasks and to cross vast distances with ease. So, it is no coincidence that this dog has been ordinarily used in different dog sporting competitions. From usual flyball, tracking or dog obedience and agility trials to some dog working contests, herding or even heelwork to music, Swedish Lapphund has successfully proven his large capabilities numerous times. This is indeed a special dog, who will, with adequate training, achieve remarkable results in every sporting competition, no matter how hard it actually is.
Incredibly Versatile Working Dog
The Swedish Lapphund is a faithful dog of great working capacity, who is literally the human’s right hand. Once trained in obedience, which is not that hard, this dog is always ready to please his master – he will gladly and happily obey every command! This makes him an excellent helper for every suitable task you have in mind. So, if you’re maybe looking for a good hunting dog, no problem, Lappie can do the job. This dog has been used for centuries in the hunt on small (wood grouse and other forest birds) as well as the large game (moose, wild boar, bear, etc.). With superb senses of smell and sight, this bold, persistent, agile, and cunning dog can easily track down any game, which makes him extremely suitable for this task. But, maybe you’re looking for a herding dog? No problem, Lappie can do the job! Herding is definitely a job this dog is well known for. He is resourceful, smart, loud, and has a great sense of coordination, which makes things quite clear in this case.
The Swedish Lapphund has been regularly used as a watchdog as well as a guard dog. His protective nature, suspiciousness towards strangers, easy trainability, and inborn ability to bark indefinitely are the main reasons he is such a good dog for this. On top of that, Lappies are known to be reliable search and rescue dogs as well as army dogs. As you can clearly see, the list is quite long, which is not that surprising when we take into account all the qualities of this wonderful dog. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to come by one of these dogs. Lapp Dog is the Sweden’s National Treasure, their pride, and at the same time, their National Secret since this is an extremely rare breed. In fact, it is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. Today, there are only between 1.000-1.500 Swedish Lappies around the world with the majority of them residing in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia. So, if by some crazy luck you find yourself in a position to buy one of these, do it! Make yourself a happy man :)