The Finnish Lapphund, or Lappie, originates from Finland and was used by the Sami people to drive reindeer across the frozen tundra. They would bark and drive the deer across water and land, similar to a sheepdog driving sheep. The exact origin of the breed is unknown, but Lapphund types have been around for thousands of years and were well suited to working the harsh conditions of the area. After World War II the numbers declined, but Finnish clubs worked hard to get the breed back on track. They are not that well known outside of the Scandinavian region, but are popular pets and still used as working dogs.
The Sames (Laplanders) say "Give the first bite [of your meal] to your dog and they will work harder for you"
The Lappie is brave, intelligent and loyal to it's master. They make great family pets and have a natural affinity with children, the elderly and people with disabilities and this makes them ideal therapy dogs; a job they relish in. They usually get along well with other dogs and cats within the home, but it helps if they are brought up with them. They are watchful and will sound the alarm when someone is at the door. In fact they have a tendency to bark at anything unfamiliar to them, so it is important to get them accustomed to new places, people and situations from a young age to give them the best start. They are usually friendly with strangers as long as they receive attention. Timidness is not a trait associated with the breed!
With their quick minds and intelligent ways, Lappies like to keep busy and will sometimes try and herd other dogs and small people. Training needs to be firm and consistent as they can have a stubborn streak. When they learn something it sticks with them and their recall and obedience is generally higher than many other breeds. Although, they are curious and can sometimes wander off in search of interesting smells. Like all breeds, keeping the training interesting makes for more fun and a better chance the dog will understand. They can tend to pull on the lead, so heel work should be started early. They will want to please you and do very well in competitions such as agility and obedience.
Lappies have medium to high exercise needs and make great jogging/running partners. They will walk for miles and rarely tire, so make ideal companions for hikers. Whatever you can do, they will follow and seem to enjoy the outdoor life and company of their master. They are lively when outdoors and usually good when meeting other dogs. Given enough exercise they are calm within the home.
Their thick outer coat rarely tangles and only needs occasional brushing. Their dense undercoat keeps them warm and dry.
Health wise, they rarely suffer any major concerns, although Progressive Retinal Atrophy is sometimes seen, as it Cataracts.
Finnish Lapphunds have an active and alert temperament. They make good watchdogs who will be quick to alert you to any visitor but they will welcome anyone happily. They are sociable and playful dogs who will do best when socialised in early puppyhood. Give them a good play session and a walk everyday if you want a happy companion! Start training early as the Finnish Lapphund can be quite self confident and if you wait too long you risk having a stubborn dog who thinks they know best.
Health problems that may affect Finnish Lapphunds include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness), cataracts and canine hip dysplasia (CHD).
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 12 - 14 years
- Weight: 15 - 24 kg
- Height: 16 - 20"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium - Double
- Grooming Requirements: Everyday
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Herding
- Size: Medium
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour
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