(aka: Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira)
One of the dog breeds that is native to Finland, the Finnish Lapphund is a hardy, muscular, medium-sized spitz-type dog with a friendly disposition, who is very keen to learn. It is one of the dogs that the nomadic people of Northern Scandinavia employed to hunt and herd reindeers.
The breed is relatively a well balanced dog of small to medium size with a strong base and muscle. The average female Lapphund is smaller from its male counterpart and character wise is more biddable. Males range in height from 46-52 cms (18-20.5 inches) while females range from 41-47 cms (16-18.5 inches). However, the breed standard specified that type is more important than the size. He is a genuine arctic spitz with long, straight and coarse coat, and a thick dense downy undercoat, commonly categorized as a "double coat. The harshness of its coat needs minimal maintenance and is quite water resistant. Features that proves valuable in the harsh climates of the Arctic. The ears which are small to medium sized are either pricked (erect), or have folded tips and are well furnished with hair inside.
Finnish Lapphund Temperament
The Finnish Lapphund is neither shy nor aggressive, quite intelligent,friendly toward people and other dogs. At the same time, he possesses an independent streak. Mild mannered and eager to please, he exhibits a strong sense of loyalty to its family. Sometimes, one wonders if he sees his family as reindeer herd, a flock to be tended. Being a working breed, his trainability and ability to learn is quite apparent, qualities that makes him suitable to excel in dogs sports.
The double coated dogs do shed at least once a year (twice or more for females). Maintenance of the coat is not labor and time intensive, regular brushing and occasional baths are fairly sufficient. Care should still be observed when combing out dead hair to avoid skin diseases.
The original Finnish Lapphunds were the helper dogs of a tribe of semi-nomadic people, the Sami, in Lapland (the northern region of Finland, Sweden and, in part, Russia). Over hundreds of years, the Sami culture evolved into a more sedentary existence, which revolved around the keeping of reindeer herds. At the same time, the dogs evolved from the hunter/protector dogs of a nomadic tribe, to the herding dogs needed to help maintain the reindeer. With the arrival of the snowmobile, the use of dogs became less and less necessary. Now dogs are rarely used on reindeer herds. The breed still retains a strong herding instinct, which has been demonstrated on sheep in this country.
Around 1940, in Finland, interest in saving the breed began to grow. Dogs belonging to the original Sami people were collected with the intent of establishing a breeding program. The first breed standard was accepted by the Finnish Kennel Club in 1945, with the breed being called the "Lapponian Shepherd Dog." This original standard included both a shorter coated dog and a longer coated dog. In 1967 the long coated dogs were given a separate standard, and called the Lapinkoira (which is translated as Finnish Lapphund), while the short-coated dogs were called the Lapinporokoira (which is translated as Lapponian Herder). The standard was revised in Finland in 1996 and an English translation was accepted by the Federation Cynologique Intemationale in 1999. The Finnish Lapphund has become very popular as a pet in Finland, and in 2000 was the eighth most popular breed in the country, with registrations of 704 puppies for the year.
The Finnish Lapphund must have early socialization and obedience training. Sessions that are short and varied are best as Finnish Lapphund's have a tendency to become bored easily. Training must be done with firmness, fairness, and consistency.
The Finnish Lapphund is one of the healthiest dog breeds. But like most purebreds some lines do carry genetic diseases. A small percentage of the Lapphunds have PRA or HC, and very few hip dysplasia cases are found. It is good practice that hips and eyes of dogs being planned for breeding are examined first and ensured that they are of good breeding quality.
It is widely acknowledged that the average life span is between 12-15, however based on experience a better estimate is 15-17 years.