Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Finnish Lapphund
Average Cost to keep/care for a Finnish Lapphund
As their name suggests, the Finnish Lapphund originates from the harsh, northern lands of Scandinavia. It is a Spitz type dog which was traditionally used for herding reindeer. While it remains a popular breed in Scandinavian countries, this delightful dog is not seen in other areas of the world which includes here in the UK even though they are a great choice as both companion dogs and family pets thanks to their loyal, kind and affectionate natures.
There are records of this type of dog that date as far back as 7000 BC showing they were kept by the people of Lapland, a vast northern region that included Finland, Sweden, Norway and various areas of northern Russia. During this time, they were called Lapland Dogs and they were introduced to the British Isles by the Normans.
An outbreak of distemper virtually wiped out all Finnish Lapphunds just before the outbreak of World War I, but thankfully breed enthusiasts saved them from extinction before setting a standard for the breed. The Finnish Kennel Club recognised the breed as unique in the 1940's and their name was established as the Finnish Lapphund in the nineties.
In 1945, The Kennel Club accepted the Finnish Lapphund as a breed in its own right at a time when these dogs were still called Lapponian Shepherd Dogs. Today, although still rarely seen here in the UK and elsewhere in the world, the Finnish Lapphund remains a very popular choice as both companion dogs and family pets in Scandinavia.
Height at the withers: Males 46 - 52 cm, Females 41 - 47 cm
Average weight: Males 15 - 24 kg, Females 15 - 24 kg
The Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized spitz-type dog that boasts an impressive collar of hair around their neck which together with their soft and kind expressions sets them apart from other spitz dogs. Their heads are quite broad which is one of the breed's defining features, but in females it is slightly more refined than their male counterparts. Their forehead is slightly rounded with a clearly defined stop.
Muzzles are short and straight tapering gently to a dog's nose which is dark in colour but matching a dog's coat as do the rims of their eyes which are oval in shape. Lapphunds always boast a kind, friendly and soft expression in them. Ears can be erect or semi-erect and medium in size being set well apart and broader at the base which dogs flicker continuously when alert. The Finnish Lapphund has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
Their necks are long and strong in appearance being well covered in a mane of dense hair. Shoulders are moderately laid back with dogs having well boned, straight and strong front legs. A Lapphund's body is firm and muscular with a nice level and broad back, Ribs are moderately sprung with dogs having a deep, long brisket and well defined forechest. Loins are short and well-muscled with their bellies being slightly tucked up. Their croups are moderately long and sloping but well defined.
Their hindquarters are well boned and powerful with dogs boasting muscular thighs and strong back legs. Their feet are covered in dense hair being oval in shape and well arched. Tails are moderately long and set high being profusely covered in long hair which dogs carry curved over their backs or to one side when they are on the move, but they hold it down when at rest.
When it comes to their coat, the Finnish Lapphund boasts having a profuse coat that consists of a coarser and straight outer coat that's a lot shorter on their heads and on the fronts of their legs. Their undercoat is much softer and dense with male Lapphunds having a more pronounce mane than their female counterparts. Accepted breed colours include the following:
Lapphunds are a good choice for first time owners because they are so eager and willing to please which makes it a lot easier to train them. They are known to be loyal and faithful by nature forming a very strong bond with one person. However, they are also friendly and affectionate towards everyone in a household. With this said, Lapphunds have a tendency to be a little wary and aloof around strangers, but rarely would one of these dogs show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards people they do not know just preferring to keep their distance.
They are highly intelligent as well as being high energy dogs which means they are a great choice for people who lead active, outdoor lives and want a canine companion by their side. Lapphunds need a ton of mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied because if they get too bored, they can develop some destructive behaviours around the home which can be hard to correct at a later date.
The Lapphund is a highly intelligent dog which makes they very easy to train. They excel when taking part in all sorts of canine sports which includes things like flyball and agility thanks the fact they are so eager and willing to work closely with their owners.
They are, however, known to be quite sensitive by nature and therefore Lapphunds do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or training methods. They do answer well to positive reinforcement and when they are treated with a firm yet always fair hand which always gets the best results with a Finnish Lapphund.
The Finnish Lapphund is known to be a friendly and affectionate dog around children of all ages and there is nothing they enjoy more than being part of a family. However, any interaction between children and a dog has to be supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous.
They are also known to get on well with other dogs thanks to their breeding, but care has to be taken when a Finnish Lapphund meets smaller animals and pets which includes cats because they prey drive might just get the better of them with disastrous results.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Finnish Lapphund is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Finnish Lapphund is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Finnish Lapphunds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Thanks to their dense, heavy coats, Finnish Lapphunds are quite high maintenance in the grooming department, especially as these dogs shed all year round. A daily brush is needed to get rid of any loose and dead hair. It will also prevent any knots and tangles from forming in a dog's coat.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
A Finnish Lapphund is a high energy dog and as such they need a minimum of an hour's exercise every single day. On top of this they need to be given a ton of mental stimulation every day for them to be truly happy, well-balanced and obedient character. However, due to their very thick and dense coats, care has to be taken when exercising one of these dogs when the weather is hot because they do feel the heat. Too much strenuous exercise in hot weather can result in a dog suffering heatstroke, a dangerous and life threatening condition.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, young puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.
If you get a Finnish Lapphund puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Finnish Lapphund, you may have to go on a waiting list because not many puppies are registered with The Kennel Club every year and you would need to pay upwards of £950 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring male a 3-year-old Lapphund in northern England would be £19.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Finnish Lapphund and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Finnish Lapphund would be between £60 to £90 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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