Swedish Lapphund Dog Breed

Black Swedish Lapphund
  • Other names:
  • Svensk Lapphund

The Swedish Lapphund is a medium-small sized Spitz-type dog. These dogs are versatile, and have served as hunting dogs, guard dogs, and herders in their long and storied history. Working in the Scandinavian tundra forged these dogs into a very strong and resilient breed. The Swedish Lapphund is renowned for its stamina, agility, intelligence and independence. Their weatherproof coat is easy to maintain, though they will naturally require a good deal of exercise to remain fit.

Swedish Lapphunds are nearly nonexistent outside of Scandinavia, but those lucky few who have discovered this breed know that this a fantastically well-rounded dog, well suited to be both a working dog and a loving pet.

Swedish Lapphund Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred12-14 yrs.16-20 in.35-55 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.

Below are basic details for the Swedish Lapphund. These details highlight the breed's average size/weight as well as the breed's best skills.

Swedish Lapphund Breed Description

Adult Lapphunds are between 16 and 20 inches tall and weigh 35-55 pounds. Their medium size gives them a nice balance between dexterity and strength, making them ideal for a number of roles. These are amiable dogs that enjoy being around people and love children. These traits make them ideal for families.

Due to their hunting instincts they may chase small animals, but if the dog is socialized at a young age this problem should be considerably mitigated. These dogs do not require a tremendous amount of brushing - a few times a week should be fine until shedding season, when daily brushing may be required. Their special coat is self-cleaning and will not smell rank. Some nail clipping will be necessary, and it is very important that these dogs get daily exercise.

Swedish Lapphund Breed History

The Swedish Lapphund has an extensive history. Its origins predate written language--historians estimate that it was first domesticated by the ancient hunting tribes of northern Scandinavia sometime around 9,000 BC. Since then, the Lapphund has been used for hunting, herding and guarding; studies have also indicated that these dogs were kept as pets even in the Stone Age.

Genetic studies have revealed that this breed has an ancestry and traits unique or very rare among extinct breeds. Despite this, the Swedish Lapphund is one of the rarest dog breeds today. A 2012 study found that only 1400 of these dogs exist in the world today, with most residing in Sweden, Finland and Norway. At the time of the study there were no more than 10 Swedish Lapphunds in the United States with verified pedigrees.

Swedish Lapphund Appearance

This is a medium-small sized dog with a rectangular build. Its face features a prominent dark nose, round, large brown eyes, and small, triangular ears that stand upright. The tail is bushy and carried over the back. The weather-resistant double coat is long, dense and soft. The topcoat hairs stick straight out from the Lapphund's body, while the undercoat is composed of dense, curly hair.

Swedish Lapphund Coloring

The most common coat colors for this breed are black, dark brown, liver, and black and liver intermixed. Some may have white spots on the chest and feet.

Swedish Lapphund Size

Adult Lapphunds are between 16 and 20 inches tall and should weigh between 35 to 55 pounds.

Average Adult Height

16-20 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

35-55 lbs

Swedish Lapphund Temperament

The Swedish Lapphund is described as alert, curious, fearless, and friendly, and non-aggressive. These dogs are very active, so expect a lot of playful behavior. They are bright dogs and should be trainable without much issue. In the past they were often trained to bark in order to scare off potential threats, so early training should be done to teach your pet to moderate its barking.

A well-trained Swedish Lapphund can excel in a variety of roles. They are natural hunters and herders, but today some of these dogs compete with success in dog shows, dog agility competitions, and even dog dancing contests. In Scandinavia Lapphunds are sometimes employed as search and rescue dogs and army dogs. There are few things that other dogs can do that this breed cannot.

Swedish Lapphund and Children

Lapphunds are very family friendly dogs. They will be a tireless playmate for children, and due to their compact size should not pose much of a safety threat.

Swedish Lapphund and Other Pets

These dogs are not aggressive and should have no problems making friends with other dogs. Owners have also reported that they live amicably among cats, though socialization at a young age is highly recommended. The Lapphund may have trouble adjusting to smaller animals like birds and ferrets due to its hunting instincts, though.

Swedish Lapphund and Strangers

Members of this breed can be protective of their household, and are often wary of strangers. Expect barking, especially if the dog has not been properly socialized.

Swedish Lapphund Photos

Below are pictures of the Swedish Lapphund dog breed.

Black Swedish Lapphund in Grass
Black Swedish Lapphund
Black Swedish Lapphund
Black Swedish Lapphund
Black Swedish Lapphund

Swedish Lapphund Maintenance

The Lapphund is a low to medium maintenance breed. Their coat is resilient and will not require a tremendous amount of brushing until shedding season. These dogs do however need a generous amount of exercise in order to stay happy and fit.

Grooming Requirements

These dogs will need to be brushed several times a week to keep its coat clean and to remove excess hairs. During spring and fall, the Lapphund will shed more and may require daily brushing to keep its hair under control. Be prepared to trim the dog's nails every month or so, especially if it does not spend a great deal of time outside.

Exercise Requirements

Given this breed's intelligence and work ethic, it should be no surprise that it requires daily exercise that challenges both his mind and body. Plan to exercise him for up to an hour at least once a day. The Lapphund is not limited to walking. These dogs are more than willing to catch a Frisbee, chase a thrown ball, and probably any other game you could think up.

Living Requirements

These dogs are happiest when they can spend their day outdoors, though they are not suitable to be outdoor-only dogs they would much rather curl up in the family home when it's time for bed. Because of their thick coats, the Swedish Lapphund is not a fan of the heat and should remain indoors during hot or humid weather. They can live in apartments if the owners are active and can commit to exercising the dog outside each day.

Temperature Range

They need to live in cold climates or be kept inside during hot weather.

Swedish Lapphund Health

The Swedish Lapphund is thought to be a rather healthy breed and has a life expectancy of 14 years. A few health issues have been identified in the breed, but they are not common. One of the easiest and most important things you can do to better the health of your Lapphund is to feed it properly and keep it at a healthy weight. Regular maintenance is required, as it is with any dog breed. Cleaning the Lapphund's ears and brushing its teeth will help keep him in top shape.

Below are common health issues to watch out for in the swedish lapphund dog breed.

  • Allergies
  • Ear Infections
  • Eye Infections

Swedish Lapphund Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Swedish Lapphund as a dog breed:

  • American Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club