Believed to have succeeded the first canine of the Sami people that migrated to the region in 9,000 BCE, the Swedish Lapphund, considered Sweden's oldest dog breed, originates from the early hunting tribes of northern Scandinavia and is a typical Nordic Spitz. The breed falls within the 'pastoral' branch of canines due to its heritage as a traditional herder and guard dog and is accustomed to working in extremely cold climes. Progressively kept as domestic pets in the Stone Age, the Swedish Lapphund was re-bred as a versatile working dog, capable of fearlessly herding the Sami people's reindeer and assisting in general farm work.
Low to the ground, the breed is compact and well-defined, with a black nose and lips. Further features include ovular eyes, a proportioned head, body and limbs and a squared jaw. Common in colour variations of grey, red, brown and black, usually with white markings. As a traditional working breed, the Swedish Lapphund is characterised by a rustic and hardy appearance, a dense double coat and a loud bark, exercised when marking its territory and warning of change or threat. There are approximately 1,200 Swedish Lapphund's in existence worldwide.
Possessing keen senses, vigilance, intelligence and instinct, the breed is amongst the most versatile and trainable, meaning it is widely utilised in policing and military work. Despite its loud bark, the Swedish Lapphund is an affectionate and loyal dog, making it the ideal breed choice for families. Its easy temperament has gained the breed wide regard, and its inherent working nature has applied it in modern-day farming, herding, hunting and tracking, search and rescue whilst being a highly sought domestic pet. The average Swedish Lapphund will weigh between 11-15 kg, with a life expectancy of roughly 12 years when shown appropriate care.
Generally a healthy and long-lived breed, the Swedish Lapphund is known to suffer with few genetic disorders, however there are a number of documented cases of diabetes mellitus in the breed, as well as progressive retinal atrophy and associated optical complaints. Because the breed is rare, a comprehensive idea of breed-specific ailments has not been determined.