Finnish Lapponian Dog

Other names: Finnish Lapphund, Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira

Finnish Lapponian Dog
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 : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Intelligent
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £600 and £900

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 3 : Nordic Watchdogs and Herders

Physical characteristics of the Finnish Lapponian Dog

Adult size

Female dog Between 16 and 19 in
Male dog Between 18 and 20 in


Female dog Between 40 and 44 lb
Male dog Between 42 and 46 lb

Coat colour

Various combinations of black, white, grey, sable, cream, tan, and brown. 

Type of coat

Double coat. Dense, thick. 

Eye colour

Yellow. Orange.


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



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


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


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


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


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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.  

Fearful / wary of strangers

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


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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

Tolerates solitude

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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. 

Easy to train / obedience

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


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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.

Tendency to run away

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Quite an adventurous and curious dog. Does have a tendency to go exploring. 


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These dogs are very prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviour. 

Greedy / Gluttony

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A small dog with a modest appetite. Not known for being greedy or gluttonous.

Guard dog

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An excellent watchdog. Keen, alert, and will quickly spot anything suspicious. A little dog that can make a big noise!

First dog

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A good choice for first-time dog owners. However, inexperienced handlers must familiarise themselves with reward-based training and socialisation methods. 


Finnish Lapponian Dog in a flat

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Small enough to live comfortably in a flat. Just make sure they get plenty of exercise and outdoor time.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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60 mins a day. They need long, interesting walks. Exercise should include high-energy games like fetch and catch.

Travelling / easy to transport

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Easy enough to transport by car, but it’s always worth exercising them before long journeys. A tired dog is much easier to transport.


Finnish Lapponian Dog and cats

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This all depends on training and socialisation. Without it, these herding dogs will torment any cats they come into contact with. 

Finnish Lapponian Dog and dogs

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The Finnish Lapphund is a real pack animal; they love the company of other dogs, and especially other Spitz breeds. 

Finnish Lapponian Dog and children

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The perfect family dog. An ideal companion for young children.

Finnish Lapponian Dog and the elderly

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A really good pet for elderly dog owners. The Lapphund has manageable exercise needs, is easy to handle, and has a calm, relaxed disposition.


The initial cost of buying a Finnish Lapphund puppy will be between £600 to £900. The average cost to keep and care for a Finnish Lapphund will be between £60 to £90 monthly.


Requires regular grooming, including a daily brush. This will keep their long coats clean and healthy. 


Like most double-coated breeds, the Finnish Lapphund sheds all year around, and especially during spring and autumn.

Nutrition of the Finnish Lapponian Dog

2 to 3 cups of high-quality dog food split over two daily meals.

Health of the Finnish Lapponian Dog

Life expectancy

A healthy dog with no breed specific health issues and an average life expectancy of 12-14 years, though some have lived up to 16 or 17 years.

Strong / robust

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A very strong and sturdy little dog. Well-built, compact, and robust.

Withstand heat

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Sheds during the warmer times of the year, but may still struggle during hot summers. Avoid walkies during the hottest parts of the day. 

Withstand cold

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Built for the cold. Their double coats are very insulating, waterproof, and windproof. Bred to work and thrive in sub-zero temperatures.

Tendency to put on weight

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No problems with obesity or extra weight. Any unexplained weight gain could be linked to an underlying medical issue. Speak to a vet for more advice.

Common illnesses

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!

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. 


Henrik, Vox, Shyla, Milly

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