The Finnish Laphund is descended from the spitz type reindeer herding and watchdogs, that accompanied the Sami people of Lapland, for centuries. General appearance is that of a sturdy, well boned, long coated dog of slightly under medium size. Though the Lapphund fits the general description of a spitz breed, it should be noted by show exhibitors and judges that the square proportions and upright carriage of other spitz, such as the Samoyed, is incorrect for the Lapphund. The body length should be slightly greater than height at withers and tail carriage, though curved over the back or side in movement, may hang low in stance. The FCI standard also allows for tipped ear carriage.
A feature of this breed, is the wide variety of coat colour shades and patterns that occur, most commonly black, brown, red, cream, black and tan, brown and tan, sable and wolf sable, all with or without white markings. Less common colours are white, brindle and blue and possibly others, in fact the only major colour gene that doesnít occur in the breed, seems to be merle. All these colours are allowed by the standard, provided the main colour dominates and markings do not occur on the body area.
In Finland, the breed is now popular as a companion, show and working dog. Outside itís homeland the breed is not plentiful and here in the UK, a small band of dedicated owners and breeders, work to promote this delightful and versatile breed. Our population is about 150 (at time of writing, 11/99).
The Finnish Lapphund is truly a multi-purpose dog. He is active, willing and quick to learn and competes successfully in obedience and agility. Here in the UK we have one enthusiastic owner competing in working trials with her Lapphund. They are also suitable for competent children to train (under supervision). We have one young lady owner who qualified with her young Lapphund, for the Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze Award, at the age of 9 years. The Lapphund also adapts well to less active family life and is suited to town or country living provided he is properly trained and exercised. He is not though, the breed for couch potato families and can be noisy if left untrained and ignored.
The coat, though profuse, requires surprisingly little attention. No trimming is required and a thorough brushing once a week is all that is necessary to keep it in order. Extra grooming will be required during moulting, which is normally twice a year. They do not moult constantly as some breeds tend to do.
As in most breeds, hereditary diseases do occur and these are mainly - Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Cataracts and Hip Dysplasia. All breeding stock should be eye tested and hip scored and prospective owners are strongly advised to ask to see evidence of this before purchasing a puppy.
The Lapphund is generally a long lived healthy dog, with a calm, friendly temperament, suitable as a companion or hobby dog.