Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Swedish Lapphund
Average Cost to keep/care for a Swedish Lapphund
The Swedish Lapphund has always been highly prized in Scandinavian countries for being an excellent working dog. They are loyal, courageous and intelligent having helped nomadic tribes herd reindeer for centuries. Today, this attractive Nordic spitz-type dog is still an extremely popular companion and family pet in their native Sweden and other northern countries thanks to their kind natures and the fact they are so amenable to being trained and they are still used to herd reindeer.
There is evidence of Swedish Lapphunds being around for 7000 years with skeletal remains having been found of very similar looking dogs that date back centuries. They were originally bred to herd and guard herds of reindeer for the Sami nomadic people, a job they proved to be extremely good at. As such, Swedish Lapphunds have always been highly prized in many Scandinavian countries other than their native Sweden.
Over the years, the Lapp as these charming dogs are often called for short, have become a popular choice both as a companion and family pet, thanks to their affectionate, kind and intelligent natures. Today, the breed is recognised by The Kennel Club and more Lapphunds are now seen in the showring where they have certainly made their mark than ever before.
Height at the withers: Males 45 - 51 cm, Females 45 - 48 cm
Average weight: Males 19 - 21 kg, Females 19 - 21 kg
The Swedish Lapphund is a medium size dog that boasts having quite a rectangular shape body. They also have tremendously weather resistant coats which they needed as protection from the harsher winters in their native Sweden. They are a Spitz-type dog with wedge-shaped heads that are slightly longer than broad. Their occiput is quite prominent and dogs have well defined stops with their muzzles being around a third of the length of their heads. Lapps have strong looking forefaces without any trace of snipiness. Noses are as dark as possible with dogs having straight bridges.
A Lapp's eyes are set nicely apart being round and a dark brown in colour with dogs always having a keen expression in them. The rims are well pigmented and their ears are set well apart being erect, short and pointed. A Lapp's ears are always very mobile as they listen to what is going on around them and are broader and a little more rounded at the base. The Lapp has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Lips are close fitting being well pigmented as is a dog's palate. They have powerful, moderately long necks with no evidence of any dewlap. Front legs are straight with dogs having close fitting elbows and nicely sloping, well laid back shoulders.
A Lapp's body is a little longer than it is tall at the wither with dogs having deep chests that drop to the elbow and they have well-developed forechests. Their backs are well muscled and level with dogs having short, broad loins and long broad muscular, slightly sloping croups. Ribcages are oval and long. Lapps have strong back, well-muscled back legs with low set hocks and their feet are oval shaped, compact and strong with firm, black pads and nails. A Lapp's tail is set high and long being covered in dense, bushy hair. Dogs carry their tails curled over their backs when on the move, but dropped down when resting.
When it comes to their coat, the Swedish Lapphund boasts an extremely weather resistant coat where the hair stands away from their bodies. The hair on a dog's head and on the front of their legs is short whereas it is longer on the rest of their bodies which includes on the brisket, thighs and tail. Dogs have a ruff around their necks and their undercoats are finely curled and dense. The accepted breed colours under The Kennel Club are as follows:
Under the breed standard solid colours are preferred although dogs can have a white mark on their chests, they can have white feet and a white tip to their tails.
The Swedish Lapphund is renowned for being an intelligent, quick witted and exceptionally patient dog. They form extremely strong bonds with their families and therefore hate being left on their own even for shorter periods of time. They are kind natured, lively and alert which means they need to be kept busy both mentally and physically to be truly happy, well-balanced dogs.
They become very protective of their owners and their property and as such are well known for being excellent watch dogs always letting an owner know when there are any strangers about. They adore being involved in everything that goes on in their environment, but can be a little vocal which is a trait that needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young so it does not turn into a real problem. They are best suited to people who are familiar with the needs of this intelligent and active dog and therefore they are not a good choice for first time owners. They are also best suited to homes where at least one person remains at home when everyone else is out so they are never left on their own. Lapps hate being left to their own devices and suffer from separation anxiety when they are which can lead to them developing some unwanted destructive behaviours.
It's important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Swedish Lapp is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
The Swedish Lapphund is a smart dog and a fast learner. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. As such, their training must begin early and it should be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what's expected of them. Lapps are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things and spending time with their owners.
The key to successfully training a Swedish Lapphund is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions short which helps dogs stay focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored. They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved, making sure not to give too many food rewards because they are prone to putting on weight far too easily which could have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
Swedish Lapphunds are known to be very good around children thanks to their gentle, placid natures. However, any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone being knocked over and hurt, especially when dogs are still young.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Lapp might decide to chase off any other cats they encounter in their travels. Care should be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Swedish Lapphund is between 9 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Lapp is known to be a robust and healthy breed, although because there are so few dogs in the country more time is needed to find out if they suffer from any genetic and hereditary health disorders. With this said, in their native Sweden, there have been reports of some Lapps suffering from the following conditions which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these charming dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Lapps 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.
The Swedish Lapphund boasts having a short, close lying coat and as such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. However, they do need to be brushed a few times a week because they shed steadily throughout the year. With this said, like most other breeds the tend to shed the most during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from 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 builds up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Swedish Lapphund is an energetic, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need at least 2 hour's exercise a day and more if possible with as much off the lead time in a safe environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Lapp would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Swedish 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 eaters, but this does not mean they can be given 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 Swedish Lapphund, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything from £400 to £550 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Swedish Lapphund in northern England would be £28.81 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £83.88 a month (quote as of March, 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Lapp and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Swedish Lapphund would be between £60 to £120 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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