Other names: Lapland Reindeer Dog, Reindeer Herder, Lapinporokoira, Lapsk vallhund
The Lapponian herder is a rare breed of dog unique to Finland. It is one of three Scandinavian Lapphund types that are descended from a dog used by the Sami people for herding and guarding reindeer. This particular breed is thought to have come about as a result of a union between a female wolf and male dog after domestication.
Key facts about the Lapponian Herder
Origins and history
The ancient Sami tribes of Scandinavia have bred Spitz-type dogs for herding and flock protection for centuries. Most reindeer dogs were lost to the villainy of the Nazi occupation. Following the war local breeders attempted to recreate the original Sami reindeer dog. The breed enjoyed a resurgence of numbers in the 1950s and 60s and its popularity continues to this day.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 3 : Nordic Watchdogs and Herders
Physical characteristics of the Lapponian Herder
Female : Between 17 and 19 in
Male : Between 19 and 21 in
Female : Between 55 and 60 lb
Male : Between 55 and 60 lb
The medium to long coat is usually black in different shades, sometimes seen of grey or dark brown.
Type of coat
Double coated: the topcoat is straight and harsh and the undercoat is fine and dense.
This dog is longer in body than it is high at the withers. It is a strong and muscular dog perfectly adapted to Arctic weather. The ears are abundantly feathered and stand small and pricked. The dog’s gait is effortless and lilting.
Good to know
It is not wise to try to force the Lapponian to interact with new visitors. The dog will be painfully shy to begin with and will ‘meet and greet’ when it is ready. Patience on behalf of the owner will ensure a meeting between the dog and new people takes place without a hitch.
An affectionate and even-tempered dog is the well-socialised Lapponian.
This is a playful and energetic dog that does not shy from boisterous play. Play may be interspersed with periods of docile inaction.
A calm dog, yet alert and fully aware of its surroundings; the Lapponian is not quick to fright.
An intelligent dog, the Lapponian enjoys exercise and obeys commands; it has a great desire to please its owner.
The Lapponian is a herding dog rather than a hunter. It is not likely to exhibit predatory behaviour but it is known to be aggressive towards other dogs and animals.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Lapponians tend to be very wary of new people and take some time to warm to a visitor in their home.
The Lapponian can be wilful and dominant, but its love of praise and family love dampens any desire it may have to take command of the household.
Behaviour of the Lapponian Herder
The Lapponian does not tolerate solitude particularly well.
Easy to train / obedience
Firmness, patience and confidence are needed of a trainer for this dog. The Lapponian will respond well to training that is consistent and forthright. Draconian measures will cause this dog to become withdrawn and aggressive.
This dog tends to bark regularly, especially when it feels threatened.