Finnish Lapphund

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Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized breed of Spitz type, they are strongly built and thickly coated, originally developed from Finland for herding reindeer. Friendly and gentle, the breed retains a strong herding instinct. They are not very popular dogs except the Nordic countries.

Other Names Finnish Lapponian Dog, Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira
Color Black, Black and Tan, Blue, Brown, Fawn, Gray, Red, White
Height Males: 18-21 inches. Females: 16-20 inches.
Weight Males: 33-53 pounds. Females: 31-50 pounds.
Life Span 12-15 years
Personality Friendly, Alert, Agile
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #165
Groom Needs Weekly
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog
Family Dog Yes
Litter Size 3-7

Finnish Lapphund Pictures

Finnish Lapphund Video


The Finnish Lapphund is a fast-thinking animal, with a prominent nose and lavish coat. They are built for strength and cold weather conditions. The tail is carried well up toward the back and they have a set of pricked ears sitting on either side of the head. A Finnish Lapphund is intelligent and agile, being a typical member of the Herding Group. They come in a double coat– short, fluffy undercoat covered by a longer topcoat. This is a good adaption to the cold in the Arctic, for a dog given to labor in the winter. Originally, they were bred to herd reindeers. They come in a wide variety of colors and markings, common amongst which are black, sable, crème, brown and wolf-sable.

As medium-sized dogs, male varieties stand somewhere between 18 and 21 inches at the shoulder, where the females, usually smaller, measure around 15-19 inches from shoulder to paw. Full-grown Finnish Lapphunds weigh in the range of 30-50 pounds, both sex varieties inclusive. They have an average lifespan of 11-15 years.

Living with Finnish Lapphund

Same as all Spitz breeds, the Lapphund has a thick, profuse coat that sheds seasonally and requires regular brushing to keep flying fur under control. Brush the Lapphund’s double coat every week to keep it clean and remove dead hair. And daily brushing is required to keep excess hair under control during the shedding seasons in spring and fall. An occasional bath is usually sufficient as they don’t have a doggie odor. 

Check and clean the dog’s ears weekly for redness or a bad odor that may indicate infections. And brush the teeth at least two or three times a week to keep fresh breath and prevent gum disease. Besides, trim the nails regularly, usually every few weeks.

The Finnish Lapphunds exercise needs are moderate depending on age and if there are other dogs in the household. They are calm dogs that don’t need too much exercise to keep them happy. Generally, a long, brisk walk every day is usually enough to keep the breed healthy and happy. The owner needs to know that Lapphunds are not active about their own exercise, so it is necessary to help them along. And as a herding breed, many of Lappies love to participating in herding trials, also, they are great candidates for other canine sports which they can excel include agility, obedience, rally, and tracking.

As with all working-type dogs, Finnish Lapphunds require a well-balanced diet fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients. Feeding the Finnish Lapphunds with a high-quality dog food should depend on the dog’s weight, size, age, and activity level. 

Some dogs are easy to get overweight, so you need to watch their calorie consumption and weight level all the time. Treats may be an important aid in training, but excessive intake can lead to obesity. Also, owners need to distinguish which human food is safe for dogs and which are not. If you have any problems with your dog’s weight or diet, just consult from your veterinarian.

Finnish Lapphunds are generally healthy dogs, but there are a few conditions the breed is prone to that are elbow, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA), cataracts, etc. 

Major concerns: none

Minor concerns: PRA, cataract

Occasionally seen: CHD

Suggested tests:

Hip Evaluation

Patella Evaluation

Elbow Evaluation

PRA Optigen DNA Test

Pompe’s Disease DNA Test

Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Degenerative Myelopathy DNA Test

Total Annual Cost: $2889

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

Finnish Lapphunds are very intelligent dogs that are eager to please. So, training this breed is an extremely pleasurable task. It is suggested to start early socialization and puppy training classes. Gently exposing the puppy to a wide variety of people, places, and situations between the ages of about 7 weeks and 4 months is helpful to keep the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. And as a pack dog, Lappy wants to be with his family, if the dog is regularly left for a long period, he may result in undesirable behaviors. Besides, they are great candidates for dog agility trials, including herding tasks and showmanship contests. 


Finnish Lapphunds are Nordic Spitz-type dogs associated with the Sami people who occupied the region which is now divided amongst Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The Sami people were breeders of reindeers, which they had taken seriously, even till date. These reindeers needed a captain to lead them to pasture and across fields, hence the fascination with herding dogs among the Sami people. The traditional dogs which were employed in these duties were a local breed of long-bodied dogs of rectangular build and long coats, which modern Lapphunds resemble strikingly. The local herding dogs  are believed by some to be ancestors of the Finnish Lapphunds, cross-bred to the Karelian Bear Dog. Although they are popular herding dogs in Finland, Finish Lapphunds are scarce outside their native home.

Before the Second World War had ended, the Swedes had made significant progress in the standardization of the dogs of Lapland. The standard for the Swedish type of Lapphunds was drafted in 1944. The following year, a breed standard for the Finnish Lapphunds was written by the Finnish Kennel Club, in which it was referred to as Kukonharjunlainen (the Lappish herder, alternatively). The breed was later improved and stabilized by crossing with an unrecognized breed. Later, in the 1950s, it was referred to as the Lapponian herder in a breed standard written by the Finnish Kennel Association. The distinction between the Finnish Lapphunds and the Lapponian herder took place in the 1960s, with the former being described as a longer-coated variety and the latter being shorter-coated.

The Finnish Lapphund was first littered in the U.S in 1988. It rose through the popularity ranks to be a well-recognized breed in America. It gained an AKC recognition in 2011.

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