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About the Finnish Lapphund


Origin & Purpose
The Finnish Lapphund traces its origin back to the dogs kept by the Lapp people used as reindeer herders and watchdogs in Finnish Scandinavia and in the northern parts of Russia. Over the years, as reindeer herding subsided, the dogs were effectively used on Sheep and Cattle. The breed name was changed from Lapponian Herder to Lapphund in 1967 and again changed in 1993 to FinnishLapphund. Today the breed is very popular in the whole of Finland, mainly as a house and hobbydog.

General Appearance
Smaller than medium sized, its conformation is strong for its size, slightly longer than the height at the withers. Long and thick coated with pricked ears.

Important Proportions – The depth of the body is slightly less than half of the height at the withers. The muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull. The skull is slightly longer than broad, the depth is the same as the breadth.

Keen, calm and willing to learn. Friendly and Faithful.

Ideal height for males at the withers - 49 cm (19 inches)
Ideal height for females at the withers - 44 cm (17 inches)

With a tolerance of +/- 3 cm (just over 1 inch)
Type is more important than size

Coat & Colour
- Tight overall without wrinkles. Hair – Profuse, the males especially have an abundant mane. The outer coat is long, straight and harsh. On the head and on the front of the legs, the coat is shorter. There must be a soft and dense undercoat

All colours are permitted. The basic colour must be dominant. Colours other than the basic colour can occur on head, neck, chest, underside of the body, on legs and tail


Head and Skull: strong in outline, rather broad. Skull: Broad, slightly convex. The forehead is rather domed. The frontal furrow is clearly defined. Stop: Clearly defined. Nose: Preferably black, yet harmonising with the coat colour. Muzzle: Strong, broad and straight; viewed from above and in profile, evenly tapering, but only slightly. Lips: Tight. Cheeks: The zygomatic arches are clearly marked (defined). Eyes: Dark brown in colour, yet harmonising with the coat colour. Oval shaped. The expression is soft and friendly. Ears: Medium sized. Carried erect or semi-erect, set rather far apart. Triangular in shape, rather broad at the base. Very mobile. Mouth: The jaws are strong. Scissor bite.

Medium in length, strong and covered with profuse hair

Powerful with strong bones. Viewed from the front straight and parallel. Shoulders: Slightly oblique. Upper Arm: As long as the shoulder blade. The angle between shoulder and upper arm is rather open. Elbows: Placed slightly lower than the lower edge of the ribcage, pointing straight backwards. Forearm: Rather strong, vertical. Carpus (Wrist): Flexible. Pastern: Of medium length, slightly sloping.  

Muscular and broad, only slightly marked (not prominent). Back: Strong and straight. Loins: Short and muscular. Croup: Of medium length, well developed, sloping onlyslightly. Chest: Deep, rather long, reaching almost to the elbows, not very broad. The ribs are slightly arched; the forechest clearly visible but not too pronounced. Underline: Slightlytucked up

Strong boned, powerful. Viewed from behind, straight and parallel. The angulation is clearlymarked but not too strongly. Upper Thigh: Of medium length, rather broad with well developed muscles. Stifles: Pointed forward, the angulation is clearly marked (well angulated). Hock Joint: Moderately low set; the angulation is clearly marked but not too strongly. (Moderate angulation). Metatarsus (Rear Pastern): Rather short, strong and vertical. Feet: Well arched, oval rather than round, covered with dense hair. The pads are elastic with the sides covered with dense hair. Rear dewclaws are not desirable

Set rather high, medium in length, covered with profuse and long hair. In movement the tail in curved over the back or side; at rest it may hang down.

Effortless. Changes easily from trot to gallop, which is the most natural style of movement. The legs move parallel. Agile and fast when working.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree

  • Males not masculine and females not feminine
  • Light head, insufficient stop
  • Dropped ears
  • Tail carriage continuously lower than the topline
  • Over angulated or too straight rear angulation
  • Lack of under coat. Flat coat. Curly outer coat
  • Basic colour indistinct Disqualification
  • Over or undershot mouth
  • Kinky tail

Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum


This is a very old breed which was originally kept by the Lapp people (Sami), who have long inhabited northern most Europe. Originally a nomadic people, they relied heavily on the herds of reindeer for food and clothing. The Finnish Lapphund (also called Lapinkoira or Soumenlapinkoira in Finland), were used to herd and guard the smaller group of reindeer the Sami kept separated from the main herd, and held close to their dwellings for domestic purposes (milking, transportation, and heavy draft work).

They are still used for reindeer herding, and being agile and quick have adapted well to working with sheep, cattle and other livestock on the farm. Because of their courageous and affectionate nature they make a natural alarm dog and a great family dog.

The breed first came to the United States in 1987.  Finnish Lapphunds can now compete in all sporting events with CKC and AKC ie. agility, Rally-O, Obedience, Herding, Tracking.  It is the hope that soon the breed will have full recognition with both registries.  Currently CKC welcomes Finnish Lapphunds as a “misc.” breed and are able to be shown in conformation for championship titles.  As of July 2011 Finnish Lapphunds were fully recognized in AKC. There are approximately 450 Finnish Lapphunds in the US and 150 in Canada

The Finnish Lapphund is medium size dog (male 18 to 20.5in, female 16 to 18.5in) heavily coated and very sturdily built. The male is expressive with a more prolific coat and the female’s coat is slightly shorter and her behavior a little more humble. All colors are permissible, but one color must dominate. They are one of only two breeds permitted to be kennelled outside during the winter months in Finland. The breed is capable of surviving the extreme cold of a harsh Finnish winter (therefore a great dog for Canada).

The Finnish Lapphund is very intelligent, versatile, willing and affectionate. It is very energetic, while remaining composed and adaptable. In addition to herding and hunting the FL has been successful in obedience, searching, tracking, therapy work and agility.


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