Finnish Lapphund Dog Breed

Finnish Lapphund Lying in the Snow
iStock.com/Eerik
  • Other names:
  • Lapinkoira
  • Lapphund
  • Suomenlapinkoira
Overview

The Finnish Lapphund, or Lapinkoira, is a Nordic herding breed that is rarely found outside of its homeland. This beautiful breed is more than a fluffy coat and adorable face, they are hard-working, alert, intelligent, sporty and companionable. Lappies are great with kids and other dogs and can be good with cats. They make good watchdogs due to their alert and reserved personality, however, they are not aggressive. The long, weather resistant coat makes does shed and they need a medium amount of grooming upkeep. Fairly easy to train, they will take more work to exercise and need an active, outdoorsy owner. Luckily, the Finnish Lapphund is very hardy and often lives up to 14 years or more with no health concerns.

Finnish Lapphund Breed Details

Breed Specs
TypeLifespanHeightWeight
Purebred12-14 yrs.16-21 in.33-53 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Finnish Lapphund's ancestors may be nearly 7,000 years old! Originating in the Lapland area (Northern Finland, Sweden and Russia), these dogs were companions to the nomadic Sami people. As civilization changed their primary job began to be herding reindeer for their human companions. Although the first breed standard was accepted by the Finnish Kennel Club in 1945, the standard for the modern Finnish Lapphund wasn't revised until 1996. The AKC recognized the breed in 2011.

This breed is a great match for an owner or family that is active and outdoorsy. They do best in temperate to cold climates. Potential owners should note that this breed is not hypoallergenic; they are regular shedders that require weekly grooming maintenance. Consider the benefits and problems associated with owning a Lappie:

PROS

  • Great with children
  • Good with other dogs
  • Usually get along with cats
  • Natural herding abilities
  • Exercise buddy
  • Makes a good watchdog
  • Calm and gentle with the elderly and those with special needs
  • Can live indoors or out
  • Not difficult to train
  • Excels in agility, flyball and sports
  • Can live in very cold climates
  • Eye catching looks


CONS

  • Will chase small, furry creatures
  • Daily outdoor exercise necessary
  • Not hypoallergenic, heavy shedder
  • Reserved with strangers
  • Not suitable for very hot climates
  • Moderate grooming effort required

Finnish Lapphund Breed Description

Were here to give you the 101 on the Finnish Lapphund with basic information about the temperament, activity level and intelligence of the breed. These beautiful Spitz-type dogs are more than just an adorable face-- they are hardworking and intelligent. Originally bred for herding reindeer in freezing climates, they are very hardy and healthy dogs. Members of this breed have thick, weather resistant double coats with the outer layer being long, harsh, and of virtually any color! They are always alert and active, especially outdoors, but are submissive and calm inside. Lappies require moderate maintenance in all areas: their heavily shedding coats require weekly attention, they need daily outdoor exercise, and training requires patience and consistency.

Intelligence- This is an intelligent breed that is also thoughtful, submissive and fairly eager to please. Sounds like a breeze to train right? Maybe not-- they require patient owners that can break up training into multiple short sessions to keep their interest. A bored or lonely Lappie can get themselves into a lot of trouble-- chewing, destroying and excessive barking are a few such behaviors.

Kids, Strangers, Other Pets- Members of this breed are excellent family companions and great with other dogs. They should be socialized early around other, non canine pets but usually do well with cats. Lappies have a tendency to chase small, furry critters. They are alert watchdogs that don't warm up to strangers quickly, although they won't be aggressive either.

Exercise- Finnish Lapphunds are active and outdoorsy. They love accompanying you with any type of outdoor activity and are also said to be very good at agility training and flyball. The average owner should be prepared to give them a few long walks each day. A fenced yard is recommended.

Finnish Lapphund Coloring

There are many possible colors for a Finnish Lapphund. In fact, the AKC goes as far as to state that all colors are acceptable. Some of the most common colors include: white, cream, red, sable, brown, black and tan, wolf-sable. There should be a main color that covers all or the majority of the body with a secondary color on areas such as the face, chest, belly, legs, and tail; some may have markings around the eyes in a "spectacle" pattern.

Currently, the most popular color is the solid white Finnish Lapphund-- which is technically referred to as creme.

Finnish Lapphund Size

Although their bushy coats may make them appear shorter, the Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized dog. Males measure 18-21 inches at the shoulder with 19.5 being the "ideal", whereas females stand 16-19 inches (17.5 is ideal). Although the AKC doesn't specify a weight for the Finnish Lapphund, other authorities place them anywhere from 33-53 pounds. Functionality and hardiness is more important than a specific weight-- they should have strong bones and be well muscled.

Average Adult Height

16-21 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

33-53 lbs

Finnish Lapphund Variations

Members of this breed differ very little from one Lappie to the next. Most variation is within the coat coloration-- since they can officially be any color.

For those searching for Miniature Finnish Lapphunds you're out of luck. There is no such recognized variant for now. Beware of breeders that offer these smaller dogs since often times they utilize small runts that have more health issues. Also, very small Lappies may be a result of crossbreeding with other, smaller breeds; in this case you aren't getting a purebred Lappie.

Finnish Lapphund Temperament

The Finnish Lapphund temperament lends to a dog that is great all around. They are calm indoors and active outdoors. Members of this breed make loving playmates for children and are said to be exceptional companions for disabled persons as well as the elderly. These alert companions make good watchdogs but poor guard dogs due to their non aggressive natures.

Lappies are good with other dogs, however, they don't usually back down when challenged. If they are socialized from puppy age they can even get along well with other cats. Their instinct to chase small, furry critter remains high so it's bet to have them on leash when not in an enclosed area. Finally, the Finnish Lapphund responds to training very well; most owners agree they are smart, thoughtful and submissive.

Finnish Lapphund Photos

Below are pictures of the Finnish Lapphund dog breed.

Black & White Finnish Lapphund
Finnish Lapphund Lying in the Snow
Finnish Lapphund Resting Outside
Finnish Lapphund Having Fun Outside
Finnish Lapphund Head

Finnish Lapphund Health

The Finnish Lapphund is a very healthy breed. Most will live 12-14 years with few health concerns and many will even surpass this age! There are a few conditions to take note of-- joint issues hip and elbow dysplasia are common in the breed. They are also prone to a few eye diseases including Progressive Retinal Atrophy and cataracts. Ask the breeders you are considering if they offer proof of genetic testing for the eyes and hips.