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Finnish Lapponian Dog

Other names: Finnish Lapphund, Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira

Finnish Lapponian Dog

Traditionally used for herding reindeer, the Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized spitz breed. It's a close relative of many other Nordic hunting and herding dogs. Some people describe the Finnish Lapphund as a smaller, fluffier version of the Husky. This working dog loves to learn and often takes part in obedience and agility trials. These friendly and alert little animals are an ideal pet for families with small children.

Key facts about the Finnish Lapponian Dog

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

Origins and history

This breed was first developed by the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia. The Sami people lived in smaller tribes which sustained themselves through hunting, trading and herding wild stock. They used the Finnish Lapphund to help round up large herds of reindeers. But as such traditional ways of life were replaced by the spread of industrialisation, the Finnish Lapphund became more of a companion dog; today it's the 6th most popular companion dog in its native Finland. It's still relatively unknown outside of Northern Europe. The first American litter wasn't born until 1988. 

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 3 : Nordic Watchdogs and Herders

Physical characteristics of the Finnish Lapponian Dog

Adult size

Female : Between 16 and 19 in

Male : Between 18 and 20 in


Female : Between 40 and 44 lb

Male : Between 42 and 46 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



Medium-sized. Strongly built. Short sturdy legs. Deep chest covered by a thick plum of fur. Thick neck. Small head with a short muzzle. 

Good to know

Some Finnish Lapphunds are quite sensitive. They need a gentle, soft hand, but should never be spoilt. A spoilt Lapphund will become very demanding and disobedient.

They are easily startled by loud or unfamiliar noises. 

Owning a Finnish Lapphund is a long-term commitment. A significant number of them live up to 17 years of age. That’s about 84 years old in human years!


  • 66%


    Very affectionate. Slightly too big to be a lapdog, but they still enjoy lots of strokes and cuddles. 

  • 66%


    A high-energy dog. Prefers engaging games that provide both a physical and mental challenge.

  • 66%


    Generally very calm and relaxed. No issues with hyperactivity or behavioural problems. 

  • 100%


    Very high level of intelligence. Capable of understanding the most complex voice commands. Will get bored easily with the wrong kind of training

  • 66%


    More of a herding dog rather than a hunting dog. Still, they do have a tendency to chase cats and squirrels if they’re not socialised from an early age.  

  • 66%

    Fearful / wary of strangers

    Very friendly and social around strangers and new people. Naturally curious and confident.

  • 66%


    This dog has a strong independent streak. Will always understand voice and obedience commands, but might not always respond. 

    Behaviour of the Finnish Lapponian Dog

    • 33%

      Tolerates solitude

      Extended periods of solitude will have a profound effect on this dog's health. They’re social animals who need plenty of company. Bred to work and live alongside humans. 

    • 100%

      Easy to train / obedience

      Responds really well to reward-based training methods. Naturally intelligent. Strong work ethic. Loves to please its owner.

    • 100%


      Can be quite vocal, especially when they’re playing or working. Makes lots of noise if they haven’t seen you for a few hours.

    • 100%