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AKC Meet the Breeds: Finnish Lapphund

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-size breed that combines the look of the northern-type dog with the temperament of the herding dog. Developed north of the Arctic Circle to live and work outside, the breed has a thick, profuse coat, allowing it to withstand extremely cold temperatures. The breed has a soft, sweet, expressive face which can be likened to that of a teddy bear. Coat colors can include black, blond, brown, and tan, among other color and marking combinations.

A Look Back

The original Finnish Lapphunds were the helper dogs of a tribe of seminomadic people, the Sami, in Lapland (the northern region of Finland, Sweden, and, in part, Russia). Over hundreds of years, the Sami culture evolved into a more sedentary existence, which revolved around the keeping of reindeer herds. At the same time, the dogs evolved from hunters into herding dogs that helped maintain the reindeer. With the arrival of the snowmobile, the use of dogs became less and less necessary, but the breed still retains a strong herding instinct. They remain very popular as family pets in Scandinavia.

Right Breed for You?

When working, Finnish Lapphunds are agile, alert and noisy. While interacting with people, however, the breed is calm, friendly, and very submissive. Lappies shed seasonally, but the fur can be easily controlled with regular brushing. Their double-coat makes them intolerant of the heat. Daily exercise is also necessary.

  • Herding Group; AKC recognized in 2011.
  • Ranging in size from 16 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Reindeer herder; companion.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.

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