Life span: 12-14 Years
Height: 18 – 20 inches (male), 16 – 19 inches (female)
Weight: 33 – 55 lbs.
Commonly used for reindeer herding, the Finnish Lapphund is a Nordic dog of the Spritz type that is able to withstand the extremely cold temperatures of the Arctic Circle. Although the Lapphund only grows to 20” in height, it is exceptionally powerful, with a muscular build and strong bones. The Finnish Lapphund has an elongated nose and waterproof double coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. And while the Lapphund is a popular breed in the region of its origin – Finland, it remains relatively unknown throughout the rest of the world.
This relatively small breed has small ears that stand erect, and a medium sized tail that curls over its back. Its eyes are brown with a black nose. Their double coat is made up of a dense and short undercoat, and a long, soft undercoat, both straight. Coat colors include black, white, brown, light brown, and red, and although color combinations may vary, they are usually only one color.
Their ancestors begin with the northern Spitz, after which they were crossbred with female wolves from Lappland, hence their name. They are mostly known in Finland, Sweden and Norway, where their fame is that of a loving companion and great herder. They were created by nomads named the Sami people, who specialized in herding reindeer. Its high pitched bark lets the reindeer know it is not afraid of them, but that it is in charge. That same bark has also given it the friendliest bark popularity. It was accepted into the Finnish Kennel Club in 1945, but was not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 2011, and only around 11 dogs of this breed are known to live in the United States.
This friendly breed enjoys spending its time with people. It gets along well with children, other household pets, and even strangers. Due to this, however, they cannot be left alone for long periods of time or might develop destructive behavior. They are quick learners, but stubborn, and need moderate amounts of daily exercise. Yards should remain fenced, given that they will most likely run after any small animal that calls their attention, although they are not prone to escaping, but to wandering around instead and getting lost.
This breed is generally healthy, and the diseases it may suffer are few. These are:
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Hereditary Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
Their coat requires weekly brushing, except during shedding season, when it will require daily brushing. Baths should only be given occasionally, their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections and their teeth brushed. They are not as high energy, although they do require daily exercise, and so a calm walk should suffice. They cannot be left alone for long periods of time, or they might develop destructive behavior. Training can be difficult, as they tend to be independent. However, they are very intelligent and learn quickly.