Swedish Lapphund: Loyalty Champion

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Swedish Lapphund is one of the rarest dog breeds today. Read on to discover what makes this ancient breed so unique.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
16 to 20 inches
30 to 45 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 14 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?

Swedish Lapphund is often described as an intelligent and lively breed, which is extremely attentive and willing to work. Some dogs just love being busy, and the Swedish Lapphund is one of them.

Originally, the Swedish Lapphund was bred to herd, track and be useful in the reindeer trade. This breed is easy to train as long as you have dog experience.

This breed may not be the best option for first time dog owners but could be a great companion to those who have some dog experience.

Swedish Lapphunds can be great pets as long as you train them right and make the best possible surroundings for them to grow in.

Quick Facts

Real name: Swedish Lapphund
Other names: Svensk Lapphund
Origin: Sweden
Breed type: Hunting Dogs
Weight: 30-45 pounds
Height: 16-20 inches
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Litter Size: 4 – 6 puppies
Color: Black, liver, or black and liver, and there may be white patches on the chest, feet and tail.
Coat: Dense, long, and watetproof coat

Swedish Lapphund History

The Swedish Lapphund is an ancient breed. In fact, this breed is the oldest of the native Swedish breeds. Just like the Finnish Lapphund, the Swedish Lapphund was a crucial partner of the Sami people of Lappland.

Initially, the Sami people used the Swedish Lapphund as hunting dogs and later on as guarding dogs. All in, this breed was a true working partner. The main trait of this breed is the use of his vocal abilities.

It is believed the Sami favored the barking Lappies for two reasons: reindeers knew the barking, while others were too scared to come close to this dog. The herding instinct is still alive and well in the modern-day Lappie.

The breed almost extinct in the mid-20th century, but thanks to a true breeder who appreciate this breed they survive. Today, there are only between 1000-1200 Swedish Lapphunds worldwide, and the majority of them are in Sweden.

Swedish Lapphund Physical Appearance

The Swedish Lapphund is a versatile companion dog nowadays, often described as a typical Spitz dog of medium size. This breed has a rectangular body shape and alert nature with kind tendencies.

Skull is slightly longer than the broad, while the forehead is rounded and clearly defined. The nose is always in harmony with coat color, while the eyes are horizontal.

Ears are small and pricked, while the neck is of medium length. The whole body is well-balanced, strong, and muscular. The belly is slightly tucked up, while the tail is set high.

The coat is double, and the undercoat is dense. The short head is located on the head and on the front of the legs. The tail is long, dense, and bushy. The coat is weather resistant., while the color is usually solid black.

Swedish Lapphund Temperament

The Swedish Lapphund is an alert, lively, and loving dog, who loves spending time with his family, when not active outside. This breed is a great addition to any family since they thrive in family surroundings.

They are also great as watchdogs. With strangers this breed may be aloof and may bark, so adress this while a puppy.

You need to teach your Swedish Lapphund when it’s ok to bark, and when not.

This is an intelligent and active breed, so he will require regular exercise and additional training and playtime to keep his brain mentally stimulates.

If bored or left for too long this breed will try to entertain himself and may demonstrate some destructive behavior.

In some dogs separation anxiety is also a big issue when left alone for too long and too often.

Exercise your Swedish Lapphund between 20 to 30 minutes daily. He will also enjoy a good long walk, hiking, shorter running session, or playing fetch. If he needs extra exercise, think about dog sports, such as agility.

Swedish Lapphund Training

Just like with other breeds, Swedish Lapphunds react well only to positive reinforcement training techniques, such as play, praise, and rewards with treats. Still, this breed is independent, so don’t expect unquestioning obedience from them.

Keep training sessions short and fun to keep them engaged, and avoid boredom.

Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. If you are adopting an adult or a senior dog, you can still train him, it will just take longer time and more treats.

So, start training your dog as soon as you bring him home. With puppies, you need to follow the puppy vaccination schedule first and build from there.

Dogs discover the world by exploring new places, sounds, smells, places, and people. For dogs, a simple walk is never just a walk, but an opportunity to explore the world and learn.

Have the right training supplies, make a plan, and stick to it. Dogs love routine and with each training, they will progress. Since Swedish Lapphunds can be stubborn occasionally so arm yourself with patience, and a sense of humor.

Swedish Lapphund Exercise

As mentioned earlier, the Swedish Lapphund needs a minimum of between 20-30 minutes of exercise per day. This is a medium-high-energy breed and you will have to invest soem time into keeping this breed happy.

They do have an ‘off switch,’ but that doesn’t stop them to demand outdoor time, or being active and energetic. This is an intelligent and active breed that requires mental and physical exercise to prevent boredom.

This is definitely not a breed to be left alone for long periods, and when outdoors a leash is mandatory and a fenced yard if you have a backyard. As with most breeds, a bored Lappie will find his way into mischief.

Swedish Lapphund Health

The Swedish Lapphund is overall a healthy breed, but all dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just like people can inherit many diseases.

This is why you should always (if you are buying a dog) work only with a responsible breeder – becuase only responsible breeder will do their best to deliver you a healthy dog.

Plus, these breeders will always show you the dog’s parents, where puppies live, and even present you with medical documentation.

Responsible breeders always screen dogs for most common health issues, or in this case for hip dysplasia and PRA.

The Swedish Lapphund might also have issues with eyes and diabetes. They are rare, so it’s always a good idea to ask the breeder about the parent’s health history.

As soon as you get a dog, you should take it to your veterinarian for a full check-up.

Don’t forget that once you get the dog you are directly responsible for protecting your dog from one of the most common health problems: obesity.

Know how much you can feed your dog, and if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight, talk to your veterinarian.

Keeping your dog fit will extend his life.

Swedish Lapphund Nutrition

Dogs thrive on great food. Whenever you feed your dog with high-quality food you will see him eating faster because he enjoys the taste.

Any commercial high-quality food would do fine, and if you are thinking about raw food diet, talk to your veterinarian.

Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which you should be away from your dog’s reach.

Again: if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet, contact your veterinarian. Always provide your dog fresh and clean water at all times.

10 Fast Facts On Swedish Lapphund

  • Swedish Lapphund is the national dog of Sweden
  • They are native to Sweden
  • Swedish Lapphunds are descendant of ancient Spitz breeds
  • They have a waterproof coat
  • They love living inside, although they love a good run on the snow or a few hours
  • They are not fans of heat
  • Daily brushing is desirable
  • They have an unusual bark
  • They are rare
  • In 1999, a Swedish Lapphund was found in the middle of the road: the dog couldn’t understand English but knew all of the commands in Swedish

The Bottom Line

Today, the Swedish Lapphund is a true house pet, who enjoys the warmth of indoors.

This dog will always be happy to follow you on longer hikes or go for an early morning run, as long as you don’t over-push him.

If you are ready to train this breed right and make training sessions interesting and engaging, this breed might be for you.

If you don’t have any dog experience and you don’t have time to deal with daily brushing, you might think about getting another breed.

Before you get a dog, it’s crucial, to be honest about your time, financial state, and willingness to have a minimum of 15-years-old commitment.

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