Information About the Friendly and Outdoorsy Finnish Lapphund Dogs

Finnish Lapphund dog fact
Although Finnish Lapphund was developed to herd reindeer, it is a very friendly breed. While presenting information on physical characteristics and personality traits of these dogs, Buzzle explains why they are described as ideal outdoor companions.
Did You Know?
Finnish Lapphund, also known as Lapinkoira, has been used by the Sames (Laplanders) of Finland to herd reindeer perhaps from time immemorial.
Finnish Lapphunds were developed for herding, and to work and live outside in the areas that are located near the Arctic circle. They are medium-sized Spitz type dogs. They can withstand harsh conditions and extreme weather of Lapland and are considered as strong, ideal outdoor companions. They are intelligent, active, agile, and friendly. In Lapland culture, man and dog depend upon each other for their food. They are tied together by a bond of affection and loyalty. Even today, they are used for reindeer herding.

Finnish Lapphund is not the breed for everyone. These dogs love to be a part of a family. They consider the family as their 'pack'. But, if they are left on their own in the yard, they won't be well. They need continuous human interaction. However, they are not comfortable when confined to an apartment. Usually, they are not aggressive, but due to their herding instincts, they would like to chase anything, for example, squirrels. So, before choosing a Finnish Lapphund dog, one should collect basic information about his history, temperament, personality traits, and health problems, etc.
Physical Characteristics
Finnish Lapphund dog
  • Origin: Finland.
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years.
  • Height: Male: 46 to 52 centimeters (18 to 20 in) at the withers. Female: 41 to 47 centimeters (16 to 19 in) at the withers.
  • Weight: 33 to 53 lb (15 to 24 kilograms), may vary according to the size of the dog.
Coat and Color
Finnish Lapphund has a profuse coarse coat. Despite being a middle-sized breed, he appears larger because of the volume of his coat. These dogs come in various colors (for example, wolf gray, cream sable, black, brown, and wheaten) and patterns, but the black and brown (with or without tan markings) are quite common. Most of them have white markings on faces and legs.
A Finnish Lapphund is slightly longer than it is high at the withers. His outer coat consists of long, coarse hair that enables him to withstand extremely cold temperatures. The tail is also covered with thick long hair. The coat makes the dog waterproof. He sheds seasonally (once or twice a year), but the fur is easy-to-maintain. Regular (weekly) brushing helps maintain the coat. The undercoat is fluffy, firm, and thick. Because of the furry coats, they cannot tolerate heat. The coat should not be shaved during summer, as it protects the skin from direct heat. Puppies have soft coats and hence require more grooming.
General Appearance
The dog has a long and straight muzzle. When the dog is walking or running, the tail curves over the back. It may hang when the dog is standing. Males have a more profuse coat than females. Faces, especially eyes of these dogs give them a delightful and smart expression. Their soft and melting expression matches their calm and faithful nature. Lapphunds move their small but erect ears fast, to listen to the sounds.
Mane and Spectacles
Typical facial markings like 'spectacles' are characteristic of Finnish Lapphunds. They seem to wear spectacles, because they have a ring of lighter colored hair around their eyes. The spectacles of the Finnish Lapphund are larger and more prominent than those of their cousins, the Keeshond. Long and dense hair around the head and neck of the dog look like a mane.
Personality Traits and Temperament
The Lappie, as he's nicknamed, is a friendly, keen, fearless, robust, courageous, and intelligent dog. Some describe him as a noisy dog. As he retains strong herding instincts, he has a tendency to bark at unfamiliar things. He can be noisy when working, however, when interacting with people, he is friendly and quite submissive. While herding reindeer, barking helps him prove his identity, otherwise it would have been difficult to distinguish him from wolves.
Being a working dog, he is strong, sociable, alert, agile, and active. He is very curious too, so owners should watch him carefully. All these characteristics can be connected to his heritage as a herder of reindeer. He is a great watchdog and is suitable as an easy-going companion. This high-spirited dog would be gentle with other pets at home and would be kind to children as well. Females are humbler than males.
Exercise and Training
The Lappie can be trained easily. He learns quickly and willingly. Puppies need very early socialization. Obedience training should be a part of their routine. They get bored if the sessions are long and monotonous! Training sessions should be planned intelligently. The lessons should be entertaining too. They can be trained with different types of games and activities. You can teach them when to bark and when not. Firmness and consistency play an important role in training. They need a large enclosed yard or farm, as they like to wander, run to do a job. They don't like sedentary lifestyle. They are ideal for herding, hunting, search and rescue operations, dog shows, etc. The Lappie is considered as one of the best therapy dogs. However, he requires vigorous daily exercise to be fit and healthy. As he is very bold, agile, and fearless, he needs an equally strong and potent owner.
Common Health Problems
Although Finnish Lapphund is a pretty healthy breed, like other dogs, they are also susceptible to genetic disorders. They may develop cataracts as it is a hereditary eye problem. They may suffer from hip dysplasia or progressive retinal atrophy.
It can be concluded that Finnish Lapphunds are calm, friendly, and obedient, but they were developed as a watchdog, and hence they are alert and agile. With their untiring energy, they love to play and work outside. Not only in Scandinavia, but they are popular as family pets in other parts of the world as well.