The original herding spitz of the Sami people, a semi-nomadic community that inhabited the Arctic North of Lapland, the Finnish Lapphund grew to great popularity as a companion dog throughout its homeland of Finland. Primarily bred for hunting reindeer and other cloven-footed animals, the need for the Lapphund quickly diminished with the development of the snowmobile. Known originally as the 'Lapponian Shepherd Dog,' the Finnish Lapphund falls within the 'pastoral' branch of canines, and was separated into two independent breeds by the Kennel Club in 1967, becoming the long-haired Finnish Lapphund and the short-haired Finnish Spitz.
A medium-sized breed possessing a proportionate head, body and legs, small high-set ears, a long muzzle and feathered tail. The Lapphund boasts a dense, double coat, rendering it suited to harsh Arctic climes, and is common in colour variations of black, sable, cream, tan, red, brown and wolf-sable. The breed is further characterised by its distinctive facial markings or 'spectacles,' where lighter colouration surrounds the eye. Solid black Lapphunds typically have tan colouring on the face and legs.
Herding large, powerfully built reindeer required agility, bravery and composure, and the Finnish Lapphund maintains these early traits today. A popular house pet in Finland and the surrounding Nordic countries, the breed is not particularly common elsewhere in the world. Its docile and friendly temperament makes this a great breed choice for families, compatible with children and other domestic animals, enthusiastic in exercise and play and devoted to its master. The average weight of a healthy Finnish Lapphund is 15-24 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-14 years when cared for accordingly.
Typically a healthy and long-lived breed, the Lapphund is susceptible to a progressive eye disease, known as Generalised Progressive Retinal Atrophy, as well as hereditary cataracts. Incidences of hip dysplasia are low in this breed compared with other breeds, and serious genetic illnesses are not seen.