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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Finnish Lapphund
Average Cost to keep/care for a Finnish Lapphund
Breed Specific Buying Advice
As their name suggests, the Finnish Lapphund originates from the harsh, northern lands of Scandinavia where the breed has always been highly prized not only in a work environment but in the home too. It is a Spitz type dog which was traditionally used for herding reindeer. They are known to be incredibly courageous and loyal going about their work very seriously.
While the Finnish Lapphund 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. As such, anyone wanting to share their home with a Finnish Lapphund would need to register their interest with breeders and go on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so.
Records show that the Finnish Lapphund is an ancient breed and a descendant of dogs that were around as far back as 7000 BC. They were originally used to guard and hunt alongside man, but their jobs eventually changed to herding reindeer for the Sami people. They had rougher coats and longer bodies in earlier times, but this changed as time marched on. Sadly, an epidemic of distemper in Finland along with the advent of the war had a dramatic effect on breed numbers which saw Finnish Lapphunds almost vanishing altogether. Thankfully, safeguards were put in place to rescue the breed although not all of them were successful.
The Finnish Kennel Association then developed a breed in the 1950’s which they called the “Lapponian Herder”. There were 3 clubs in Finland at the time with many different types of herding dogs having been developed, so in the sixties all the clubs got together to become the Finnish Kennel Club and all herding dogs were accepted on the register. In 1967, the club decided to separate all the breeds and it was then that the Finnish Lapphund was finally recognised as a unique breed in its own right with a breed standard being established.
It is worth noting that the reindeer farmers always favoured smoother coated dogs to that of longer coated herding dogs and in the 1970’s it was decided to promote longer coated Finnish Lapphunds are family pets. In 1975, the breed standard was revised and then again in 1993, a time when the breed’s name was changed to Suomenlapinkoira from Lapinkoira. During the 1980’s, the two breeds were to become more distinguishable with the Lapponian having a shorter coat, longer back and nice angulation whereas the Suomenlapinkoira had a longer coat and was shorter in the body showing less angulation and holding their tails that much higher.
The Finnish Lapphund was first imported to the UK by the Dungers in the early nineties and it is thanks to their efforts that the breed was promoted throughout the land. They imported more dogs during the nineties with an end goal being to establish a good breeding programme. However, even today the Finnish Lapphund remains relatively unknown in the UK and elsewhere in the world although they are still one of the most popular choices as both companions and family pets in Scandinavian countries
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. The accepted colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
It is worth noting that the accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration can differ from those set out in the breed standard which are as follows:
Dogs can have different coloured markings on their heads, necks, chests, legs, tails and on the underside of their bodies.
It is worth noting that the only colour that is not acceptable under the Kennel Club breed standard is as follows:
When a Finnish Lapphund moves, they take brisk, effortless and agile moderately long strides with the capacity to go easily from a trot to a gallop.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
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.
Finnish Lapphunds are a great choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times.
Although Finnish Lapphunds are social by nature they have a very high prey drive and will happily chase anything they spot in the distance or that tries to run away from them. As such, care should always be taken as to where and when a dog can run off the lead more especially when there is wildlife and/or livestock close by.
Finnish Lapphunds have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, a dog quickly learns what pleases an owner and how to get their own way when they want something.
Finnish Lapphunds are highly adaptable dogs and providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, they are just as happy living in an apartment as they would be living in a house in the country although like other dogs, they love being able to roam around in a well-fenced, secure back garden whenever possible.
Because Finnish Lapphunds form strong ties with their families they are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out, so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained.
Finnish Lapphunds are known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them. However, even with the gentlest and firmest training, it can prove impossible to prevent a Finnish Lapphund from barking because it is just in their nature to do so.
Most Finnish Lapphunds don’t like getting their feet wet and are not particularly fond of going above their elbows in water. However, some dogs like swimming and will happily get in the water. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a dog off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Because they are always on the alert, Finnish Lapphunds are natural watchdogs and are always quick off the mark when it comes to alerting an owner when strangers are about or when something they don’t like is going on in their environment. With this said, rarely would a dog show any sort of aggressive behaviour preferring to stand their ground and bark.
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.
Like all puppies, Finnish Lapphunds are incredibly cute when young and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in new homes. As soon as a puppy is nicely settled owners must start out as they mean to go on by laying down ground rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is expected of them. It helps establish a pecking order and who the alpha dog is in the household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
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:
It is worth noting the breed average COI for the Finnish Lapphund with the Kennel Club currently stands at 2.3%.
Finnish Lapphund puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different, and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
As with other breeds, a Finnish Lapphund may gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight, it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Finnish Lapphunds are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Finnish Lapphund breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions that are in place for all Kennel Club registered breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Finnish Lapphund.
It is mandatory for Kennel Club Assured Breeders to use the following tests on stud dogs and all other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club strongly advises that all breeders use the following scheme on stud dogs:
Breeders should also consider using the following test on stud dogs:
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.
Finnish Lapphund puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or, so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Finnish Lapphund puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out making them withdrawn, timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Finnish Lapphund puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Finnish Lapphunds need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Finnish Lapphund in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include looking at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older dogs need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Finnish Lapphunds don't need the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Finnish Lapphund puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Finnish Lapphund should be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 £21.45 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.92 a month (quote as of October 2018). 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 they have been neutered or spayed amongst other things.
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 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 healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Finnish Lapphund puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Finding Finnish Lapphunds in the UK can prove challenging which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Finnish Lapphunds there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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