The Finnish Lapphund was first recognized in 1945 by the Finnish Kennel Club and only recently accepted as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 2011, but this breed was well developed and distinguished as early as 3,000 years ago in the Arctic, northern Scandinavia. The Finnish Lapphund is little known to the rest of the world but well loved in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Used primarily for herding reindeer, the Finnish Lapphund is a medium size dog with a long thick double coat that requires weekly brushing to maintain. This breed is not aggressive but can be protective of its herd and family and will not back down if challenged.
The Finnish Lapphund has a long history in the world despite that this breed is little known outside of its native region of Scandinavia. Even more remarkable is that this breed falls within its own subfamily, having developed in an isolated region of the world anywhere between 3,000 and 482 years ago. The Finnish Lapphund springs from the ancient line of northern Spitz, but at some point in its history, this breed was selectively cross-bred with the female wolf in the region known as Lappland. The Finnish Lapphund gains its name from the region where it first developed and is widely known throughout Finland, Sweden, and Norway as a superior herder and loving companion. The breed was developed by the Sami people, who were indigenous nomads living in the region and most noted for their reindeer herding. The Finnish Lapphund has a remarkable bark, a high pitched squeak, that communicates to the reindeer population its authority as a herder without fear of predation. The high pitched squeak defines the Finnish Lapphund as having the "friendliest bark" among canines. Over time, this natural herder also made his way into the homes of people, and today the Finnish Lapphund is a favored family dog in colder climates. This breed was first recognized by the Finnish Kennel Club in 1945 as the Lappish Herder and was officially accepted by the American Kennel Club in the herding group as the Finnish Lapphund in 2011. Today, 11 Finnish Lapphunds are known to live in the United States whereas the majority of this breed thrives in the Arctic Circle region.
Known as Lappies for short, the Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized dog with a thick double coat. Unlike their Swedish close-cousins, the Finnish Lapphunds come in a variety of colors and markings, but the majority of their coat is a single color. Their undercoat is short and thick but very soft making the outer coat stand on end. The Finnish Lapphund's head is as broad as it is long, conveying strength yet with soft, kind eyes. The ears are set far apart, are small to medium-sized, and triangular. The eyes are dark colored and oval-shaped. The Finnish Lapphund's muzzle is broad and straight and slightly shorter than the length of the head. The jaw is strong with a scissor bite and tight lips. The forelegs of the Finnish Lapphund are strong and straight ending in well-arches, oval-shaped feet with thick pads. The hindquarters and also strong and straight as viewed from behind but are set at a slight angle from the side and end in well-arches, thick-padded oval feet.
Because of the double coat, Finnish Lapphunds require weekly brushing. It is especially important to brush behind their ears, under their armpits, and the groin area to prevent matting. Thankfully, the Finnish Lapphund does not have a "doggy" odor, and you should only bathe and shampoo your Lappie as needed. The Finnish Lapphund is a natural herder and needs daily exercise. Small yards that don't allow for roaming are not ideal so urban and apartment living is far from ideal for your Lappie. The Finnish Lapphund developed in the Arctic Circle and is accustomed to colder climates. Their thick double coat does not make them well suited for warm climates. Finnish Lapphunds don't require special diets, but as a dog owner, you should watch for any signs of allergies or sensitivities in your dog. As a medium-sized dog, 1.5 to 2 cups of dry food, divided into two daily meals is sufficient for a Lappie, but the quantity of food depends on your dog's activity levels, age, and metabolism. You should consult with your veterinarian to develop a nutrition plan suited to your Finnish Lapphund.