Finnish Lapphund Breed Guide

Finnish Lapphunds are a medium-sized breed with a thick, profuse coat that protects against extreme cold. The coat comes in a variety of colors, including black, brown, blonde, and tan, and it is shorter on the fronts of the legs and on the head than elsewhere on the body. These dogs have a long, straight, water-repellant outer coat and a soft and dense undercoat. They have dark, oval-shaped eyes, a broad and straight muzzle, and triangular-shaped ears. Finnish Lapphunds measure 16 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 33 to 53 pounds.

The breed's double coat makes it heat-intolerant. Care must be taken when exercising these dogs outdoors in hot climates, and signs of overheating should be taken seriously.

An active, alert, and noisy breed, the Finnish Lapphund is ideally suited for active, outdoorsy families with plenty of time to devote to their canine companions. These dogs are friendly and submissive, which means they do not make good guard dogs. They get along with children and most other animals, provided they are raised together.

Finnish Lapphunds shed severely. Having one of these dogs inside the home will likely result in an accumulation of hair on floors and furniture and along baseboards. It is also not uncommon to see balls of Lapphund hair floating down hallways or across rooms. People without time for frequent brushing and vacuuming should consider this before adopting or purchasing one of these dogs.

Finnish Lapphunds have a working personality and a home personality that are very different. When at work herding, these dogs are noisy, alert, and active. At home and when interacting with people, they are friendly, calm, and submissive. In general, they make great companion animals when given enough time, attention, and opportunity for activity.

These dogs are quite submissive toward people, and they are generally friendly and tolerant of children and other animals. They prefer to spend as much time with their human family members as possible, and enjoy activities that range from running and hiking to watching television on the couch. Because of their high activity needs, Finnish Lapphunds are not well suited to apartment life. They do best in homes with fenced yards and enjoy time to run and roam, but they are generally satisfied with regular walks. These dogs perform well in dog sports, such as flyball, agility, obedience, and rally.

These intelligent dogs need companionship and will quickly become bored and depressed if left alone for long periods or neglected. They love people and need regular mental and physical stimulation. If allowed to become bored or unhappy, Finnish Lapphunds may become destructive or noisy.

Finnish Lapphunds are a fairly healthy breed and do not suffer from many serious genetic conditions. However, these dogs are more prone than some other breeds to developing hip dysplasia and eye problems, including progressive retinal atrophy. This condition can lead to blindness.

The breed's double coat makes it heat-intolerant. Care must be taken when exercising these dogs outdoors in hot climates, and signs of overheating should be taken seriously. Ideally, time outdoors during the hot summer months should be kept to a minimum.

With proper veterinary care, a healthy and balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine vaccinations, Finnish Lapphunds can live a full and active life of 12 to 15 years.

Intelligent and eager to learn, Finnish Lapphunds are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement. However, these dogs are independent thinkers bred to make decisions on their own when working, which means they are unlikely to offer unquestioning obedience, regardless of the amount of training they receive. Fortunately, this is rarely a problem.

Although these dogs are not naturally shy or aggressive, early training and socialization can improve their tolerance for other animals. Early training can also help ensure these dogs know when to turn down the volume; Finnish Lapphunds can be very noisy when working, playing, or when they become bored or feel neglected. Providing opportunities for regular physical activity goes a long way toward preventing negative and destructive behaviors in these dogs.

Because of their intelligence and tendency to bore quickly, training sessions should be kept short. It's also essential to avoid too much repetition or the Finnish Lapphund may shut down during training.

Finnish Lapphunds are easy to groom and require very little extra care. However, these dogs shed seasonally and significantly. Regular brushing can help control loose hair and keep it from collecting along baseboards and in corners. Brushing two or three times weekly may be enough when shedding is minimal, but brushing should be increased to daily or twice-daily during spring and fall shedding seasons.

These dogs are more accepting of grooming when it is started at a young age. Because they require more frequent brushing than some other breeds, it's best to get them accustomed to the process from early in life. Fortunately, these dogs don't generally require trimming and they rarely need bathing. When a bath is necessary to remove a sticky or harmful substance from the coat, a gentle, canine shampoo will protect the skin from dryness and ensure coat manageability.

The nails need trimming every few weeks to prevent snagging and breaking, and the teeth need brushing regularly to keep cavities and gum disease at bay. Weekly ear cleanings and inspection are recommended. Signs of ear infection, such as odor, discharge, redness, and pain, should be reported to a veterinarian promptly.

The Finnish Lapphund was developed by the Sami, a semi-nomadic people, to herd reindeer in extreme temperatures. Once the snowmobile was invented, these dogs were no longer needed for herding purposes, but they retain their strong herding instincts to this day. According to some accounts, Finnish Lapphunds date back to 7,000 B.C.

This ancient Scandinavian breed remains popular in Finland. Finnish Lapphunds are now kept primarily as companion animals and are beloved for their friendly, submissive, and gentle natures.

These dogs are becoming increasingly popular in North America, although they are primarily found in colder areas. Care must be taken to keep these dogs cool, as they were not bred to tolerate warmer climates.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Finnish Lapphund in 2011.