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Finnish Lapphund

Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized dog with a robust build and coat designed to cope with the harsh, icy conditions of Lapland. A squarely built dog capable of galloping, they show the typical spitz features of pricked ears and plush tail that curls over the back.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Very vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 17 – 19kg
Height: 44 – 49cm
Colours:  The coat comes in all colours except merle, and Lapphunds usually display a
distinct light mask over the face that gives them a very attractive smiling appearance
Size: Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5


Keen to work with their owners, the Finnish Lapphund retains a strong herding instinct and is an instinctive hunter outdoors. At home they are alert yet calm, affectionate and loyal. Not as noisy as some spitz types, they will still require some effort put into training to stay quiet as they are naturally inclined to alert to anything they perceive as novel or suspicious.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Finland

Whilst it is clear from archaeological records that the region and people of Lapland have for centuries lived and worked alongside a medium sized arctic spitz type, exact details are unknown. Little written information exists and that which does is written in Laplandic dialect that is now almost impossible to translate. We do however know that the Lapphund worked with the semi-nomadic Sami people of Lapland (a region covering the north of Finland and bordering Sweden and Norway), herding reindeer and likely performing hunting, watchdog and guarding dog roles, as well as companion dog duties.

With the damage done to Lapland during the second world war, and then the invention of the snowmobile, Lapphunds are rarely used for reindeer herding today - although some still do. Built to gallop, the Finnish Lapphund often works alongside the shorter-legged Lapponian Herder, another native breed of the region. Recognised by the Finland Kennel Club in 1945, they were not included on the Import Register by the UK Kennel Club until the late 1980s.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Finnish Lapphunds

Training Finnish Lapphunds

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • These attractive smiling dogs are so clever and trainable, the breed club in the UK (Finnish Lapphund Club UK) runs versatility awards, where owners can submit evidence of their dog’s achievements both in the show ring and at activities such as flyball, agility, mountain rescue and more.
  • Through mitochondrial DNA testing, the Finnish Lapphund is known to be a part of the d1 subclade, which can be traced back over 3000 years. This subclade has been pinpointed to have occurred as a result of a female wolf mating with a domesticated male dog.
  • The Finnish Lapphund is also known as the ‘Lapinkoira’.
  • This breed is incredibly smart which makes them perfectly suited to working roles and sporting, however some owners report that they’re ‘too smart for their own good’.
  • Finnish Lapphund’s toes are spread out to act as a snowshoe and have fur on their feet and between their paw pads.

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