The original Finnish Lapphunds were the helper dogs of a tribe of semi-nomadic people, the Sami, in Lapland (the northern region of Finland, Sweden, and in part, Russia). Archeological digs in Lapland have unearthed remains of Lapponian dogs estimated as old as 7000 BC. There is even the existence of old cave drawings depicting this type of dog. Over hundreds of years, the originally nomadic Sami culture evolved into a more sedentary existence, which revolved around the keeping of reindeer herds. At the same time, the dogs evolved from the hunter/protector dogs of a nomadic tribe, into the herding dogs needed to help maintain the reindeer. Their job was to keep the herds together. With the arrival of the snowmobile, the use of dogs became less and less necessary. Now dogs are rarely used on reindeer herds. The breed still retains a strong herding instinct, which has been demonstrated on sheep in the United States and has been seen on our dogs that have earned their Herding Instinct Certifications.
The Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized breed that combines the look of the northern type dog with the temperament of the herding dog.They are intelligent, alert, agile, friendly and eager to learn. Developed to live and work outside, north of the Arctic Circle, the breed is strongly built and thickly coated. These dogs were never intended as guardians, and are particularly submissive towards people. Despite its strength, the Finnish Lapphund conveys a certain softness, particularly in expression. Males are recognizably masculine and females feminine.
Finnish Lapphunds were developed to herd reindeer, an animal that is not as fearful of dogs and wolves as many other herd animals. As a result, the breed has a temperament that reflects a basic need to both control, and get away from, these animals. When herding reindeer, the dogs are extremely active and noisy. They must be constantly on the watch, as a reindeer may turn and try to trample them at any moment. As a result, the breed has a very strong “startle reflex”, as well as being extremely agile and alert. However, they also recover quickly after startling, and will return to their work, exhibiting extreme courage. When interacting with people, Finnish Lapphunds are calm, friendly, and very submissive. At times, they may appear a little distant or aloof. This combination of submissiveness and reserve should not be misinterpreted as shyness. Although excited barking is typical, excessive sharpness and snarling are by no means acceptable, not even in males toward other males.
The ideal male stands 19.5 inches at the shoulder and the ideal female is 17.5 inches.
All colors are permitted, but the primary color (the color which covers the largest portion of the dog) must cover the body. A color which consists of bands of different colors on a single hair shaft (sable, wolfsable, or domino) is considered a single color. Secondary colors are allowed on the head, neck, chest, underside of the body, legs, and tail.
Learn more at the Finnish Lapphund Club of America.