(aka: Lapland Spitz, Lapinkoira)
Swedish Lapphund Description
Swedish Lapphunds are a medium sized dog with profuse fur and a spitz-type tail. Their tails curl over the back like all the nordic-spitz tails do. They were developed thousands of years ago in the Scandinavian land of the Sami people. These people cultivated a breed that would herd and guard their precious reindeer. The Swedish Lapphund developed right along side the Finnish Lapphund, and both are from the same stock. They are muscular, rectangular-shaped dogs, appearing in the typical spitz fashion. Their natural prick ears are alert to sounds and their foxy muzzle was once often used for barking to let the reindeer know that they are a friend.
Swedish Lapphunds have a double coat in which the outer coat is curly and dense while the under coat is long and straight. The coat is very long around the neck, at the backs of the legs and on the tail. The Swedish Lapphund comes in colors of black, brown or bear brown, with the occasional dash of white. Although cute and cuddly, the Swedish Lapphund has developed a barking habit due to its previous use. Lapphunds were supposed to bark all the time in order to differentiate themselves from silent, threatening animals that might've come around the reindeer. Therefore, they do bark a lot and potential owners should be warned. intelligent, trainable and friendly, the Swedish Lapphund is a rare find, literally!
The Swedish Lapphund has an appealing demeanor. They are intelligent, trainable and very friendly. Lapphunds can be stubborn in training, however. They are well known for barking, as was their previous employment. Training is required if they are to be taken into the public. The Swedish Lapphund very much enjoys a cool climate and the outdoors. They love to work and demand vigorous exercise mentally and physically. They do not like to be walked on a leash and will learn better if they are not trained on one. The are affectionate, well disciplined and faithful dogs. Kind, patient, lively and alert are characteristics of this breed.
A daily brush is essential to maintain the Swedish Lapphund's lovely, shiny coat. It is a double coat and the undercoat is shed twice a year. The coat is semi waterproof so dirt will brush off when the coat is dry.
The Swedish Lapphund is the oldest of the native Swedish breeds with a history dating back thousands of years. Believed to be descended from the ancient Nordic spitz, it is one of the oldest known breeds in existence today. An early working companion of the Sámi people of Lappland (northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and north western Russia), the Swedish Lapphund first served as a hunting partner and family guardian. As the nomadic lifestyle of the Sámi gradually evolved from hunting to the keeping of reindeer herds, so too did the role of the lappie as a valuable herding dog helping the Sámi to manage and control their herds. A characteristic of the herding lappie is the use of his vocal talents. It is believed the Sámi favored the barking lappies for two reasons - predators were deterred from coming too close and the reindeer knew the barking four legged creature was friend, not foe. The herding instinct is still alive and well in the modern day lappie.
A Swedish Lapphund named Halli became the first registered dog of the Swedish Kennel Club and in 1903 was officially acknowledged as a breed of its own by the Swedish Kennel Club. Today the Swedish Lapphund is known as the national breed of Sweden and was officially recognized as a breed by the Federation Clinologique Internationale (FCI) in 1944. By the 1960s there were several breeders in Sweden actively working towards the preservation of the breed. There are approximately 1200 Swedish Lapphunds in the world - the majority in Sweden.
Lappland Spitz are easily trained. Although they can be quite stubborn and think their own way is better, it is not difficult to change their mind if they are trained correctly. They should be trained from puppyhood, and they do best if leashes are not used.
Like most rare breeds, they have been so isolated and under-bred that they carry almost no genetic defects. There have only been a couple of diseases that have occassionally been seen in the Swedish Lapphund, and they are epilepsy and hip dysplasia.