Finnish Lapphund

"The Reindeer Herder"

Photo of Finnish Lapphund


Helpers to the semi-nomadic Sami people of Lapland, Lappies evolved along with the Sami from hunters to reindeer herders over hundreds of years. Around 1940, fanciers took note of the breed and began to adopt them from the Sami for breeding programs. Two breeds developed out of the program, including the long-haired Finnish Lapphunds, and their shorter-coated counterparts, the Lapponian Herder. By the year 2000, Finnish Lapphunds were the 8th most popular breed in Finland.


Despite being loud, alert and agile when on the chase, Lappies are calm, friendly and very submissive with people. Their friendly, gentle disposition makes them ideal dogs around small children and the elderly. They are active, weather-resistant dogs that will be happy to go walking and running with you, even in harsh weather conditions. While they would prefer a daily walk or run, they can get by on a game of ball on those days when it’s just not possible.


A northern breed, they have a fluffy double-coat that is water-repellant on the outside, and soft and dense underneath. They have sweet, expressive faces with triangular ears and a strong, broad muzzles. While the most common is black-and-tan, you can find Lappies in a variety of colors, including cream, black, brown, red, sable and wolf-sable, and some of them have ringed-eyes that give the impression of eyeglasses. They carry their fluffy tails over their backs or sides.


Thanks to their intelligence and non-aggressive nature, Lappies are capable of learning quickly if you’re consistent, but keep in mind they were bred to herd reindeer - who aren’t afraid of dogs - so they can be a little stubborn too. Teach good manners from a young age and your Lappie will be a wonderful companion for you and your children. As working dogs, they excel at obedience, herding and agility, but due to their gentleness, they also make good therapy dogs.

Grooming & Care

As a cold-proof northern breed, Lappies will blow their coats once or twice a year and leave a lot of hair in huge clumps. The rest of the time they are average shedders, and weekly brushing will keep them free from mats and tangles, and prevent skin diseases. While you may be tempted to shave them down in the summer, you would not be doing them any favors – that insulating undercoat keeps them cool in the summer as well as warm in the winter.

Health Concerns

These are generally healthy dogs, however, as with all breeds, their genetics can predispose them to a few conditions. Specifically, they may be prone to eye conditions such as Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy (GPRA) and hereditary cataracts.

Famous Finnish Lapphund

Rumor has it that Santa Claus has one to keep the reindeer in check, but no one knows for sure.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 5
Home 43
Children 49
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 61
Challenges Not heat tolerant; provide water and shade outdoors, and air conditioning in warm climates.
Height 16 to 21 inches
Weight 33 to 53 pounds
Life 12 to 15 years
Home Alone 20
With Kids 21
With Strangers 92
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

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