Finnish Lapphund

While this dog’s name may sound like he is a lap dog, the Finnish Lapphund gets his name is from Lapland, the area of Northern Finland from which these dogs hail. These tough Nordic dogs originally earned their keep herding reindeer.

They are one of the most sensitive and friendly breeds around, but make no mistake, this breed will not think twice about protecting his precious flock if he thinks you have ill intentions. But once you have gained his trust, he is one of the most loving and empathetic breeds around. Read on to learn more about the Finnish Lapphund.

Description of the Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is affectionately known as the “Lappy.” You can easily recognize him as a Nordic dog by his thick coat, spitzy face, and curled tail.

The Lappy originally hunted reindeer, but as time went on and the tribes these dogs worked with became nomads, this dog began herding the reindeer instead. They are quick and agile but also full of endurance and can work long days.

One of the signature elements of this breed is their fluffy coats. The topcoat is thick and harsh, able to withstand inclement weather, and the bottom coat is incredibly dense and soft, which is ideal for keeping in warmth on frigid arctic nights. They can come in any variety of colors but always have one predominant color that takes up most of the space on their bodies.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Finnish Lapphund is a generally healthy dog that lives an average of 12 – 15 years. They are prone to certain health conditions, though, so always work with a reputable breeder to get the healthiest puppy possible.

These sturdy, medium-sized dogs are compact and ideal for travelling, but also rugged and able to withstand pretty much anything. The males stand 18 – 21 inches tall, the females 16 – 19 inches tall, and they weigh 33 – 53 pounds.

Protective Ability

While the Lappy did start out as a hunter, they are very docile with humans and do not make good guard dog material. However, they are vigilant and wary of strangers so will be quick to start sounding the alarm when they hear someone approaching.

Just don’t expect any type of defense from this breed. After introductions are made, they will quickly warm up to strangers and become open and friendly.


This breed is intelligent and quick to learn. The key is finding the right motivation so that they will be excited to learn. Positive and rewards-based methods are always the best when training these dogs.

Treats are a great tool to use when working with your Finnish Lapphund. This will give them something to work for that they actually want. Your dog is smart, and he knows that it is better to get paid for his work! Just be careful to not overfeed as this breed can become overweight.

Games and canine sports can also be great ways to approach training with your dog. These will get them moving and mentally stimulated, which are both things your dog loves.

Make sure to begin socializing your puppy as soon as he comes home. They tend to be wary around strangers so exposing them to many different situations and people will help them grow into more open and well-mannered dogs.

Energy Level

The Finnish Lapphund breed enables them to withstand long and tough days in the field. They are very energetic and do everything with a smile. They just love to be around their family, and will be even happier if they get to do fun things like go for a walk or play fetch with you.

Sedentary families can also find a great companion in this breed. The Finnish Lapphund is often calm at home and as long as he gets enough daily exercise can make a great house pet.

What Living with a Finnish Lapphund is Like

This is an all-around kind breed.

Their love of family and great attitude towards children and other dogs makes them an ideal family pet. But, they are still a cherished work dog and make excellent herders. The Finnish Lapphund is sure to keep you active and on your toes. They love nothing more than to be on the move with their families.

Don’t expect a couch potato in this breed. They love to snuggle but require too much activity to be just housedogs.

Care of the Finnish Lapphund

The Lappy is adaptable and is forever happy as long as he gets enough exercise and time with his family. These dogs can live in everything from apartments to large farms if you meet these needs.

Environmental Needs

Natural cold weather champions, the Finnish Lapphund can withstand cold better than almost any other breed. Their thick fur is excellent at keeping in heat and keeping out cold and wet weather. Hot climates are more of a challenge for these dogs as they can easily overheat under all that fur. Be sure to limit time outside during hot weather and make sure they have a cool place to rest.

Exercise Needs

These active dogs need moderate to high daily exercise to stay fit and happy. Walking, running, games, hunting, you name it, these dogs are happy to do it.

But once you satisfy their exercise needs these dogs are more than happy to cuddle up with you. They love their families and always want to be close with those they love.

Shedding and Grooming

While the thick coat of the Lappy may look intimidating, it really doesn’t require as much maintenance as it would seem. A weekly brushing, daily during shedding season, should suffice to keep your dog’s coat healthy and free of loose hairs.

This breed sheds moderately.

Regularly trim your dog’s nails so they don’t cause him discomfort when he is walking.

Ideal Home Environment

These dogs do well in a loving home where they have plenty of companionship and exercise. They love kids and get along well with other dogs.

The Finnish Lapphund tends to be wary of strangers and will alert his family to those he is unfamiliar with. But they are often deferential to humans and will never cause a scene with strangers.

Health Concerns

Hip and elbow dysplasia are some of the most common issues that plague this breed. Working with a reputable breeder who checks his or her stock for these issues can help protect your pup from these problems. But always be prepared, as you dog can become sick at any time.

Other issues include patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, ear infections, Pompe’s disease, and degenerative myelopathy.

Behavior Problems

The Finnish Lapphund can be quick to follow his nose or ears. Be sure to keep him fenced in or on leash so that he can’t wander off.

The Lappy can become shy if not properly socialized. Begin socialization early to expose your dog to many different types of people, dogs, and situations early.