Finnish Lapphund

Did you know?

Canines can come from a single lineage and, interestingly, a result of dog-wolf crossbreeding.

Not in the lab or through the hands of breeders but by natural occurrences.

According to a study, this genetic finding mostly:

occurred almost exclusively among Swedish/Finnish Sami reindeer-herding spitzes and some Swedish/Norwegian hunting spitzes

Genetically, the Finnish Lapphund is said to have a DNA of a wolf that can be traced to about 3,000 years ago.

What an interesting way to get to know a pooch, isn’t it?

Well, buckle up. I’ve got a handful of Lappie deets to show you. (Don’t miss this!)

Let’s go ahead and dive in, shall we?

Finnish Laphund Dog Breed Profile Infographics

Finnish Lapphund Dog Breed Profile: A Quick Glance

Popularized as Lappie by dog aficionados, the Finnish Lapphund is originally referred to as Lappari in its native land.

Are Lapphunds purebred dogs or mixed?

Do they hate strangers and children?

If you’ve got tons of other questions, well, scroll down a bit more to discover!

What is a Finnish Lapphund dog?

The Finnish Lapphund dog is a medium-sized, purebred canine from Finland that’s known as a tough reindeer herder from north of the Arctic Circle.

Easily recognized as Nordic dogs, what’s lying beneath the lush coat is a friendly and loving pooch to anyone — except for reindeer thieves!

So, get to know this dog from Finland with the following deets:

Weight 33 to 53 pounds
Height 17 to 20 inches
Lifespan 12 to 15 years
Coat Length Long
Texture & Density Coarse outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat
Color White, red, black, sable, wolf-sable, and brown
Pattern Solid or mixed
Suitable for Cold weather and low temperatures
Suitable Owner Profile New and experienced owners with an active lifestyle
Dog Breed Group Herding dog

finsk lapphund

Physical Traits of the Finnish Lapphund Dog

Lappie dogs are easily recognizable for their thick, lush coat, like the Siberian Husky.

What adds to the Lapphund’s most distinguishing features is its triangular and upright ears.

You can also notice some markings or patterns around their oval eyes, which are referred to as spectacles.

Characteristics of a Finnish Lapphund Dog

Want to reserve a spot for a Lappie dog at home?

Then, get to know them a bit more with this summary below:

Energy Level Medium
Activity Requirement Medium
Drooling Low
Shedding High
Affection Towards Owner High
Temperament with Kids High
Friendliness to Strangers High
Compatibility with Other Dogs Medium
Compatibility with Other Pets Medium
Trainability High
Barking Tendency High
Hypoallergenic No

finland lapphund

Living Conditions and Lifestyle of Finnish Lapphund Dogs

Are Finnish Lapphunds Good Apartment Dogs?

Finnish Lapphunds are less suitable for apartment living conditions.

Despite their medium size, Lappie dogs thrive well in large and open areas to help stimulate their mind and body.

As herding dogs, Lappies must burn their energy through exercise or daily walks regularly.

With this in mind, Finnish Lapphund dogs need active owners.

Can Finnish Lapphund Dogs Be Left Alone?

Finnish Lapphunds should not be left alone for a long period of time. 

Just like other social and intelligent dog breeds, Lappies can get separation anxiety, too.

They can become aggressive, destructive, and even depressed.

The Finnish Lapphund Dog Personality

Traits You’ll Love

Traits to Take Note Of

Very affectionate towards owners Prone to separation anxiety
Friendly around children and strangers High barking tendencies
Easily trainable Needs stimulating activities to burn energy
Friendly around dogs and other pets Suitable for cool temperatures

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting a Finnish Lapphund Dog

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs great family pets?

Finnish Lapphund dogs are great family pets because of their affection and loyalty to their owners.

They are naturally submissive to their hoomans and are eager to please, too.

Take note, however, that Finnish Lappie dogs are bred to herd reindeer. 

So, be sure to take them out for a stimulating activity regularly.

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs great pets for kids?

Finnish Lapphund dogs are great pets for kids due to their gentle temperament and warmheartedness.

They’re also naturally comfortable around other people, especially when trained or socialized at an early age.

As a general safety, however, be sure to supervise your children around animals at all times.

RELATED: The Benefits of Raising Your Children with Dogs

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs great around other pets?

Finnish Lapphund dogs are great around other dogs and pets, especially when socialized early.

With this Nordic dog’s gentle and calm nature, Lappies can welcome other pets with loving arms.

Do Finnish Lapphund dogs bark a lot?

As a reindeer herder, Finnish Lapphunds tend to bark a lot as a means to control the herd.

With this instinct in mind, Lappie dogs usually bark when meeting new people or animals.

But don’t worry; this demeanor is typically a friendly greeting from Lappie dogs that comes with an excited, wagging tail. 

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs hard to train?

Finnish Lapphund dogs are easily trainable, thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to please.

Take note, however, that Lappie dogs can get bored easily, too.

So, consider training them in short sessions and providing enough treats to help boost their attention.

Finland Lappie dog

The Finnish Lapphund Dog Breed: Grooming, Diet, and Health

Grooming a Finnish Lapphund Dog

Groom your Finnish Lapphund dog at least weekly to get rid of excess and loose fur using a good-quality de-shedding brush.

Especially in spring and fall, when Lappie dogs shed a lot, you’ll definitely need tools that’ll help you remove fur on your furniture or shirt, too.

Meanwhile, here are the grooming essentials for your Finnish Lapphund dogs:

Grooming Essentials


Bathing 2x per month or depending on exposure to dirt
Nail Trimming 1x per month
Ear Cleaning Weekly
Teerth Brushing Daily

The Finnish Lapphund Diet

As a general rule of thumb, the amount you feed your dogs must be proportionate to their size.

So, for your Lappie dogs at home, be sure not to overfeed them to avoid obesity-related diseases.

Much better if you seek your vet’s advice on what type of diet they need.

Your vets will balance their daily food requirements to the following criteria:

  • Weight
  • Energy level
  • Medical history

Also, be sure to slow down on giving your beloved furballs too much sweet treats.

Or, for a healthier approach, you can give fruit and veggie slices to your Lappie dogs occasionally.

The Health of a Finnish Lapphund Dog

The Finnish Lapphund dog can live a long, healthy life with a proper diet and adequate living conditions.

But purebred dogs can also inherit some genetic illnesses.

So, it’s best to take note of the following conditions for your awareness:

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Also known as CHD, canine hip dysplasia is a bone disorder in the ball and socket joint in the hip.

While CHD is common in small dogs, the Finnish Lapphund dog is also vulnerable to this condition, which is commonly caused by the following factors:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Improper nutrition
  • Bone formation process

If you suspect CHD in your Lappie dogs, watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Weakness
  • Hind leg pain
  • Difficulty moving

Meanwhile, veterinary experts make continuous efforts to look for treatments for CHD.

But, the following are known to relieve joint pain in dogs with CHD according to a study:

  • Fish oil
  • Green-lipped mussels
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan supplements

Note: Numerous studies confirm that maintaining a healthy body weight helps prevent or delay hip dysplasia in dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is the most common cause of blindness in dogs, according to a study.

Often occurring in small dog breeds, experts classify PRA as a genetically transmitted disease that targets the retina of the eyes.

For your reference, some early signs of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in dogs include:

Unfortunately, the cure for PRA isn’t widely available yet as of this writing. 

Experts today are looking into gene therapy as a remedy for both animals and humans, however.

The Finnish Lapphund Dog: A Glimpse of the Past

Origin Finland
Year 7,000 B.C.
Bred as Reindeer herder
Significant deets First developed by the indigenous and nomadic community called Sami that lives in the Arctic Circle in an area known as Lapland

Fact: Lapland spans Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, where the Finnish Lapphunds were developed by the Sami people.

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs rare?

Finnish Lapphund dogs are considered to be rare canine breeds.

According to Lindy Whitehouse, Ph.D. in Biology Dictionary, in 2020:

only 11 Finnish Lapphunds live in the United States, whereas most of this breed are found thriving in the Arctic circle.

Fortunately, Finnish Lapphunds are not impossible to find.

You might have to wait long and travel far to find a reputable breeder, though.

nordic dogs in finland

5 Interesting Facts About the Finnish Lapphund Dog

Already one of the most well-loved dog breeds in Finland, there are lots of reasons why you should, too.

So, what makes the Finnish Lapphund dog so special?

Well, read on to discover.

1. Lappie Dogs are Ancient Breeds

Categorized as a spitz breed, Finnish Lapphunds are known as ancient dogs.

With their roots coming from the diverse canine stock in Lapland, the remains of the Lappie dog’s relatives were found to exist 7,000 B.C. ago.

2. They Have Strong Startle Reflexes

You probably know by now that Finnish Lapphunds are badass herders.

But take note: Reindeer are technically tough and deadly because of their hooves.

Taking this fact into consideration, herding a group needs a special skill that, well, comes off as natural to Lappie dogs.

Referred to as startle reflexes, Finnish Lapphunds have the ability to respond quickly to sudden movements in their surrounding.

This amazing ability helps Lappies defend themselves from getting hurt by the reindeer’s sharp antlers.

3. Finnish Lapphunds are Often Referred to as the ‘Thinking Breeds’

Thanks to their intelligence and quick-wittedness, Finnish Lapphunds do well in training and working as a herder.

Thus, Lappies also need physical activities, too.

Besides the daily exercise, you might want to surround your Lappie pup with interactive toys to prevent it from getting bored.

4. They Have an Intriguing DNA, Study Reveals

Experts found that Finnish Lapphund dogs belong to a subclade (a genetic term for grouping) known as d1.

Note: A clade is a group of organisms believed to have evolved from a common ancestor.

The DNA testing on Finnish Lapphunds suggests that the d1 subclade resulted from the mating of a female wolf and a domesticated male.

This phenomenon hasn’t been found to be occurring anywhere else outside Europe.

Especially occurring in canine breeds from Scandinavia, this subclade can be traced to about 3,000 years ago.

It’s also found that this rare occurrence is shared by other breeds from the region, such as the Swedish Lapphund and the Norwegian Elkhound.

5. Lappies Have Snowshoe Feet

Well, humans do, too. Only, they're artificial.

Interestingly, Finnish Lapphund dogs have oval-shaped feet rather than round, like in most breeds.

Apart from its feet looking cute, the Lappie dog’s snowshoe helps their toes spread out to create a wider surface area.

This feature allows Lappie dogs to move quickly in the snow, especially while herding.

Another few things that help Lapphunds maneuver in the snow is the fur on their feet and in between their toes.

This characteristic helps prevent the build-up of snow on their feet.

30 Finnish Lapphund Dog Names to Try

Male Finnish Lapphund Dog Names and Their Meaning



Jani God is gracious
Mikko Which man is like God
Leif Beloved
Esa God delivers
Kirby From the church
Roscoe From the deer forest
Niko Victor of the people
Dallen A valley
Alvar Elf warrior
Gareth Gentle and watchful
Lukas From Lucania
Jalo Gracious and noble
Johan God is gracious
Odin Head god in Norse mythology
Kelby From the farm by the spring

Female Finnish Lapphund Dog Names and Their Meaning



Aurora Dawn
Thora Thunder
Alisa Great happiness
Inka Foremost one
Kirsi Believer
Liona The bright one
Lumi Light of life
Ava Sound or melody
Anna Favor or grace
Livy Kind one
Rika Peaceful ruler
Nelli Daughter of a champion
Jonna God is merciful
Veera Truth and faith
Elina Shining light, bright one

Finnish Lapphund dog personality

Before You Go…

Such a rare dog with interesting features, isn’t it?

Apart from its admirable herding skill, the Finnish Lapphund dog is yet another intriguing breed that has served the world’s ancestors ages ago.

Caring for one may be tricky due to their need for physical stimulation, but lying beneath that lush coat is a loving family pooch.

What’s your favorite fact about the Lappie dog?

Let us know in the comments below.

And oh, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to check out our hand-picked recommendations below, too!


Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.