Meet the Breed: The Finnish Lapphund



  • Height: 16"- 21”
  • Weight: 33-53 pounds
  • Historical function: Herding reindeer
  • Modern function: Herding, family companion
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized dog of the Northern Spitz-type dogs. They have a profuse double coat suitable for keeping them warm in cold climates. The tail is a corkscrew, curling proudly over the body. The ears are alert, extremely mobile, and upright. The face is teddy-bear like. Coat colors can include black, blond, brown, and tan, sable and wolf-sable, among other color and marking combinations. The most common coloring is black with tan legs, chest, and mask.

History of the Breed:

The Finnish Lapphund was initially a hunting dog with the nomadic Sami people who inhabited Finland, Sweden, Norway, and parts of Russia. As the Sami people gradually became more rooted by managing reindeer herds, the Finnish Lapphund adapted and became herding dogs. The breed became popular as a companion to the people in Nordic countries but still retains a strong herding instinct. This breed is rare outside of Finnland. 


The Finnish Lapphund is intelligent, quick to learn, gentle, and easy going, getting along with children and other dogs. As with most other herding breeds, this dog was bred to be an independent thinker, which means the dog may seem willful at times.

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to include this people-oriented dog in their daily activities.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog does best in cooler climates and with at least a medium-sized yard.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Although the coat is profuse, it is surprisingly easy to maintain with brushing. A medium shedder except during seasonal sheds where more brushing is required.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk with playtime in the yard.
  • Life expectancy: 14-16 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to eye problems and occasionally hip and elbow dysplasia.

Breed Club Links: Perfect Pairings: Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Slicker Brush

Have any stories about a Finnish Lapphund? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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