Finnish Lapphund – An Ancient Breed

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Have you ever heard about Finnish Lapphund, the famous breed from Finland? This breed is submissive toward people and a real attention seeker. Read on to discover more about Finnish Lapphund.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
17 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder
33 to 53 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Finnish Lapphund is one of the most skillful reindeer herders from north of the Arctic Circle. This breed is also considered to be the friendliest of all dogs.

The Finnish Lapphund comes with a beautiful and adorable coat, a spitz-like face, adn coated tail that curves over the back.

All in all, Finnish Lapphund has traits of Nordic dogs. They may not be large in size, but that won’t stop them from being extremely quick and agile.

This breed is often described as friendly, submissive (which means that they are easy to train), and a bit wary of strangers.

Finnish Lapphunds hate being left alone for long periods and will be miserable when neglected.

Their signature trait is a strong “startle reflex,” the result of centuries spent ducking the antlers of ornery reindeer.

They shed quite a bit, but it doesn’t stop them from being the first choice as household pets.

Quick Facts

Real name: Finnish Lapphund
Other names: Finnish Lapponian Dog (FCI name), Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira
Nickname: Finnish Lapponian Dog (FCI name), Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira
Origin: Finland
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 33-53 pounds
Height: 18-21 inches (male), 16-19 inches (female)
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Litter Size: 2 – 9 puppies
Color: A wide variety of colors and markings, but a single color should dominate
Coat: Longer, straight, and soft coat

Finnish Lapphund History

Lapland is a wide region of the Arctic Circle that takes in parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and northwestern Russia.

This region got its name from the Lapp people (also known as Sami) who inhabited this region for several thousand years.

The Sami people developed a coated spitz-type dog in ancient times, to help them hunt reindeer. Historians claim that the Sami people shifted from hunter-gathering to full-scale nomadism.

They moved in search of pasture land, lived in tents, and ate along the way by hunting and fishing. As this society that traveled in groups of five to six families, evolved so did their furry companion.

Finnish Lapphund Evolution

The Lapphund went from hunting reindeer to herding them while keeping their duties as hunting dogs, guardians, and close companions to humans. Lapphunds spent thousands of years keeping people and other dogs warm at night.

Plus, this is was the most effective way to keep everyone safe from the renderers. In their natural habitat, reindeers are stubborn and big animals that can do serious damage.

To keep property reindeer-free dogs had to be brave, independent, quick, and intelligent. These are qualities that can be found even today in Lapphund.

Lapland is still home to several hundred thousand reindeer and ts still possible to see the Finnish Lapphund, and its sister breed, the Swedish Lapphund, moving herds across the cold and frozen north.

Finnish Lapphund Physical Appearance

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized breed taht resembles the northern type dog. Even today they have a true character of the herding dog, and as such, they are alert, agile, and highly intelligent.

They were bred to work and live outside, which is why they have strong and thick coats, similar to coats that we can see in wolves today – this is why Finnish Lapphund is often described as a wolf-like breed. Since there weren’t intended to be guarding, they are submissive toward people.

Don’t let their softness fool you, because this breed is quite strong. Males are larger than females.

Overall, their expression is soft. Ears are set apart and may be erect or semi-erect. In dog shows, drop ears are considered to be a fault.

Eyes are oval in shape, the neck is medium in length, while the ribs are slightly arched.

Legs are set straight, and dewclaws may be removed. Nails are strong. The coat is double and specially designed for cold weather and harsh winters.

The outer coat is straight and short on the front part of the legs and head. The undercoat is soft and short with density varying with climate.

Finnish Lapphund Temperament

The Finnish Lapphund is often described as an all-around dog, eager to please. They are quick learners and love non-agressive training methods, as all dogs do.

They are not agressive toward people, children, or other dogs and are considered to be a wonderful companion breed. Although they are submissive, it doesn’t mean that they are shy – they still have to be trained to be well-behaved dogs.

Lappies should be taught from an early age to follow house rules, how to behave around visitors, and how to walk on a leash.

Since this breed is no stranger to harsh winters, expect long walks even when it’s snowing.

No matter how much your child loves being around dogs, there should always be supervised when children and dogs are together, even if your Finnish Lapphund is just a puppy.

Living With Finnish Lapphund

Finnish Lapphunds are great house pets. They are even suitable for city living as long as you provide enough exercise and outdoor time. They are very social dogs and like to be part of the family.

They want to be loved and prefer to be around their people. They are working dogs and love to be busy.

Provide enough training and exercise time to keep them physically and mentally stimulated and you won’t have issues with this breed. Plus, grooming this breed is easy so you won’t have to vacuum all day long.

Finnish Lapphund Grooming

The Finnish Lapphund has a double coat, which is why you should expect weekly brushing. During the shedding season, you should brush your Finnish Lapphund daily to minimize shedding.

Overall, this breed requires a small amount of grooming. During the grooming sessions, you shoudl focus on the area around the ears. No trimming is required.

Make sure that you have the right grooming tools. If you don’t have time to groom your Finnish Lapphund, think about hiring a professional groomer.

As with all breeds, you should check gums and teeth regularly, learn how to trim nails, and bath only when needed. This breed almost had no odor so no excessive bathing is really needed.

Finnish Lapphund Health

The Finnish Lapphund is a healthy breed, but there are a few conditions the breed is prone to. Two of these are elbow and hip dysplasia, conditions that can easily be detected with X-rays.

When working with serious breeders you will always know the right condition of dog’s health, because responsible breeders will always screen puppies for the most common medical issues.

As with all breeds, provide the best nutrition, mind parasite control, and react for any signs of infection.

Finnish Lapphunds can develop several types of eye disorders, which is why you should check their eyes regularly.

For any sign of trouble, contact your veterinarian. To keep your dog healthy and enable them to live longer, have regular veterinarian check-ups.

Finnish Lapphund Nutrition

Providing the best high-quality dog food is always a plus. Make sure that you know how much you should feed your dog, and which human foods are safe for your pooch.

Always choose food appropriate to your dog’s age. Puppies should never eat food for adults, and senior dogs should be fed only with food that would support their health and keep them agile longer.

Be careful when it comes to feeding your dog table scraps and use treats only as a reward. If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet or weight gain, check with your vet.

Finnish Lapphund Climate Considerations

The Finnish Lapphund will always choose colder days over hot summer nights. Since they have a correct double coat to keep them warm, they would often go outside and play in the snow.

Although they can spend hours outside in the cold, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like sleeping in the warm.

They will be a real couch potato that can keep your feet warm in winter.

If you live in an area with a hot climate make sure that Lappy has access to air-conditioning and a huge area with tiles, especially if you are based in an area with high humidity.

Be careful during summer, to avoid heatstroke and always enable easy access to dog bowl with fresh water.

The Bottom Line

The Finnish Lapphund is great with children. Make sure that you educate your children on how to behave around dogs, and not to disturb them when they are eating or just chilling in their crate.

This is not an agressive dog and usually doesn’t start a fight, but still be careful when introducing him to other dogs and pets.

They can even live happily with cats under the same roof. They may bark from to time when soemone approaching your home.

After all, they were bred to hunt and herd. They may bark when bored or in need of attention. If you are ready to deal with occasional barking, digging, and walks on cold days, the Finnish Lapphund might be for you.

Popular Finnish Lapphund Comparisons

Compare Dog Breeds: