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Finnish Lapphund Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Finnish Lapphund or “Lappie,” as they’re often referred to, you’re in luck! Because in this article, we’re going to take a few moments and discuss what it might be like to own one of these little guys.

And the first thing we want to get out of the way is…

Just because these guys are often called “Lappie” does not mean they’re great “lap dogs.” Now, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t necessarily “mind” sitting in your lap because they are SUPER friendly and affectionate; it’s just that these little “balls of energy” like to run around a lot and can weigh up to 53 pounds. And if you ask us, this isn’t a good combination to have to decide to jump on you while you’re sitting on the couch! That said, however, just because these guys aren’t great lap dogs doesn’t mean that they don’t have many other admirable qualities that will make them an ideal choice for many families; it just means that they may not be suitable for everyone!

This is why…

In this article, we want to focus on some of the pros and cons of owning a Finnish Lapphund so that if you ever get an opportunity to make one of these guys your own, you’ll know if it’s a good choice.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Finish Lapphund Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Finland

Original Purpose:  Hunting reindeer, herding livestock

Height:  16 to 21 inches

Weight:  33 to 53 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding Group

Lifespan:  12 to 15 Years

Origin of the Finnish Lapphund

While nobody knows when the Finnish Lapphund was originally “created,” it is fair to say that this is a pretty old dog breed dating back at least 1000 years. During this time, the Finnish Lapphund traveled and lived with the Sami or Lapp people, who occupied an area North of the Arctic Circle called Lapland. Hence, the Finnish Lapphund is not often called a “Lappie.”


This area, once called Lapland, makes up most of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and northwestern Russia, so we now refer to these guys as Finnish Lapphunds. This makes sense to us and gives us an idea of what “kind” of dog a Finnish Lapphund will be because it’s pretty safe to assume that if you were initially a dog that was bred to travel around with nomadic people living near the Artic Circle, chances are you’re going to be pretty tough!

And guess what?

Finnish Lapphund dogs are just that!  , not only were these heavily-coated Spitz-type dogs tough enough to survive the harsh arctic climate, but they were also used for hunting reindeer over the harsh weather of the barren tundra. Now, because the Sami people were nomadic, not much is known about how they transitioned from a hunting/gathering way of life to becoming full-scale nomadic people using reindeer as livestock rather than just hunting them, but what is known is that Sami people adapted, so too did the Finnish Lapphund because they too transitioned from being dogs used to track reindeer to dogs being used to herd them.

Which is not easy…

Task because reindeer are HARD to control and can cause much damage. Herding and maintaining them isn’t like herding and keeping sheep. It requires a lot of quickness, courage, and intelligence, all of which the Finnish Lapphund has in abundance. Then, in 1940, folks began to take an interest in this breed and wanted to ensure that it was preserved and that a “breed standard” was created so that the species could be “officially” recognized. During this time, the two “versions” of the Finnish Lapphund were divided into “separate” species, with the “long-haired” version becoming known as the Finnish Lapphund and the “short-haired” version becoming known as the Finland.

Eventually, as immigrants from Finland began coming to America, this breed slowly became more popular in the United States. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980s when the American Kennel Club started taking any notice of them, and even then, they weren’t “officially” recognized as a breed until 2011.

Physical Characteristics

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized dog breed with many of the physical characteristics of a Northern-type dog combined with the temperament of a herding dog, which means that this dog will be strongly built and have a profuse coat with pricked and highly mobile ears and distinctive markings on the nose.

Breed standards:

  • A male Finnish Lapphund is between 18 to 21 inches in height and weighs between 33 to 53 pounds
  • A female Finnish Lapphund is between 16 to 19 inches in height and weighs between 33 to 53 pounds

It’s also safe to say that these dogs will have a profuse double coat with a short yet fluffy undercoat and a long topcoat, making them highly resistant to extreme cold and water. Yet, I am not good at living in temperate climates like California, Nevada, Arizona, or Florida.

They can also…

He comes in various colors and has many different markings on his coat. Common colors include:

  • Black and tan,
  • Cream,
  • Red,
  • Black,
  • Sable,
  • Brown,
  • And wolf sable.

These will become a “matted mess” if not brushed frequently, so we recommend that any Finnish Lapphund owner brush their dog’s fur at least thrice weekly.

Personality and Temperament

The first thing you will want to know about the Finnish Lapphund dog breed is that they are an intelligent and active dog breed. Some owners even claim that these dogs think through their actions! The dogs will excel in herding, agility, and obedience trials and will be eager to learn any new tricks you can throw at them. As long as you keep these little guys active and provide plenty of activities to keep their bodies and minds busy, you shouldn’t have any problems with them.

That said, however…

If you’re looking for a dog that won’t mind spending all day in an apartment alone, this is not the “right” dog for you. This isn’t because the Finnish Lapphund is a “bad” dog; when you take a brilliant dog that requires a ton of exercise and lock it up in an apartment all day, that dog will find “things” to do.

Things that you’re not likely to approve of, like tearing apart a couch, eating all of your shoes, digging up carpet or your hardwood flooring, etc., we should mention that Finnish Lapphunds make good watchdogs as they are friendly and alert, which means that they also have a “tendency” to bark at unfamiliar things.


If you live in an apartment or have neighbors living very close to you, this may not be the best dog for you either because this could become a problem and isn’t always something you can train them to stop doing. But if you’re looking for a great outdoor companion animal with kids and loves getting wet, you must look long and hard to find a better dog to adopt. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet are pretty fond of these little guys and think anyone looking for a great family pet should put these guys on their “short list” of dog breeds to consider.

Potential Health Concerns

As a whole, the Finnish Lapphund dog breed is a pretty healthy dog breed with really only three “known” hereditary conditions that affect the Finnish Lapphunds, which are:

And while neither of these diseases is life-threatening, they can become quite expensive to treat, mainly if they recur.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always advise any new pet owner to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for their new loved one. If they ever become sick or injured in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of the cost of treatment.

For more information on who we “feel” currently offers some of the “best” pet insurance policies, check out our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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