Breed Type: Spitz
Country of Origin: Finland
Size: Medium
Also known as: Lappies
Males: Height:  46-52cm Weight: 20-21 kg
Females: Height: 40-46cm Weight: 19-20 kg
Exercise Requirements: High
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 10-15 Years
Best Suited as: Working Dog, Family Pet

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized breed hailing from the Spitz family and is resilient and easy-going. Initially bred for herding reindeer, this dog acts like a herding dog but has the look of a northern dog. Due to the freezing temperatures of the Arctic Circle, the breed has a thick, dense coat, allowing it to withstand extremely cold temperatures. This breed remains popular in Finland, but is rare otherwise.

The Finnish Lapphund is a strong, medium sized dog that is somewhat longer than it is high at the withers. The most notable characteristic of the Finnish Lapphund is its abundant double coat. Made to work outdoors in freezing temperatures, their waterproof coat keeps them warm and cozy during any job. The outer coat is long and coarse but the undercoat is soft and fluffy. The Finnish Lapphund comes in many different combinations of coat colors, although a single color should dominate. The most common colors are white, black, blonde, red, brown, sable and wolf-sable. One of the most popular color combinations is black and tan (black body with tan legs and face).

Many Finnish Lapphunds exhibit a sweet expressive face due to their very distinctive facial markings. One of the most unusual facial markings is called “eyeglasses “, because a ring of lighter colored hair around the eyes makes these dogs look like they are wearing glasses. The breed standard calls for the Finnish Lapphunds to have dark, oval shaped eyes that are as dark as possible. Those that have a lighter shade coat are allowed to have lighter eyes, however.

The Finnish Lapphund is a friendly, adaptable, intelligent and sociable dog that works hard but that can also be very affectionate. They love to learn and are easy to train. This breed can perform very well in dog sports such as fly ball and agility skills trials. They also make exceptionally good pet therapy dogs.

This breed makes a good watchdog because they are vigilant, barking at unfamiliar things and people. They also make incredible outdoor companions, especially in colder climates. This dog will gladly accompany their owners on walks and runs. They love being a part of family activities and play well with children. Finnish Lapphunds a good natured and make good pets for all different kinds of families.

The first Finnish Lapphunds, were hunting dogs, found in Lapland, and were used by the “Sami”, a group of nomadic people, in Lapland. Over time, the Sami culture became more sedentary and kept herds of reindeer. The Finnish Lapphund adapted well from their life as hunters to a life of herding. They were typically long in body, rectangular, with long hair and a straight tail that was the ideal shape for the task. Over time, and with the invention of the snowmobile, their role as herders became less important. This did not keep them from becoming popular pets with a more easy-going life style, however.

Norwegians and Swedes were among the first to consider standardizing the dogs of Lapland. Unfortunately, during the post war years, the breed deteriorated due to a widespread distemper outbreak and nearly became extinct. In the 1950’s, a standard for the Lappish Herder (which it was called at that time) was developed by the Finnish Kennel Association.  In the 1960s, the various Finnish kennel associations were unified, and many of the breeds were reassessed, including the Finnish Lapphund. This resulted in the formal distinction of two different breeds: the Lapponian herder, with a shorter coat, and the longer coated Finnish Lapphund.

In 1989, the breed was introduced in the United Kingdom, and is represented by the Finnish Lapphund Club of Great Britain. It was introduced to Australia and Canada in 1995, and is accepted by the New Zealand Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club. Today, they remain very popular family pets in many areas of Scandinavia.

Care and Grooming
Despite the Finnish Lapphunds profuse fur, most owners find that they require only a small amount of grooming (about once a week). An owner should spend most of her time concentrating around the ears, the tail and long feathers on the legs and under the tail.  While no trimming is required, some owners prefer to trim around the feet and under their paw pads. Most find that a wire brush is ideal to remove the loose hairs from the thick undercoat of this breed during molting.

Exercise is a definite must for this breed. This guy needs a substantial amount exercise and a long run or a hike through the woods are two of many good options.

In general, the Finnish Lapphund is a healthy breed and is known as one of the healthiest breeds in Finland. Although not commonly occurring, the Finnish Lapphund is predisposed to some health issues. These issues include sensitivity to dewormers and drugs, hip dysplasia, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Suitability as a Pet
Adopt a Finnish Lapphund and you will have a loyal dog for life. While interacting with people, this breed is calm, friendly, and unusually submissive. Very sociable, this dog gets along extremely well with children of all ages and in normal circumstances can take a great deal from them. It also does very well with other household pets, such as cats and dogs.

The Finnish Lapphund, while alert and watchful, is too gentle to defend your property. They are more likely to flee from threatening situations than to stay and fight. Because of your Finnish Lapphunds thick winter coat, they do not easily tolerate the heat. When exercising, make sure they have plenty of cold water to drink.


Finnish Lapphunds are far from being couch potatoes, and do best with an active family that will take them along on any athletic adventure. Besides physical stimulation, the Finnish Lapphund also needs quality mental stimulation. They are clever and are easily bored without enough activities. Many owners get their dog involved in agility trials and games like fly ball. They also easily learn tricks and enjoy playing special games.

Finnish Lapphund Organisations in Australia
Finnish Lapphund Club of Victoria

Finnish Lapphund Organisations in the UK
Finnish Lapphund Club of Great Britain

Finnish Lapphund Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Finnish Lapphund
Finnish Lapphund Club of Victoria

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