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Finnish Lapphund

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Is the Finnish Lapphund right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Finsk Lapphund; Lapinkoira; Suomenlapinkoira

The basics:
The Finnish Lapphund was developed from ancient Spitz-type dogs by the semi-nomadic Sami people of Lapland to herd elk and raindeer. Like all herding group dogs, the breed is highly intelligent and responsive to training. Unlike some working dogs, though, it wasn't a guardian and tends to be naturally reserved toward strangers. They can be good therapy dogs, and many excel in agility or herding trials. Because of the thick coat, this breed is better in colder climates.

Although similar dogs appear in ancient cave paintings, the Finnish Lapphund was slow to receive official recognition. Indeed, the American Kennel Club (AKC) didn't recognize it until 2011.

Appearance / health:
Finnish Lapphunds are medium-sized dogs that are strongly built. The head is rather broad. The nose is usually black. The muzzle is strong, broad, and tapers slightly. The oval eyes are dark brown in color. The ears are either pricked (erect), or have folded tips, and are well furnished with hair inside. The furry tail is set rather high and is of medium length.

The Finnish Lapphund is naturally heavy coated, having a two layered coat, suitable for withstanding the extreme temperatures of its native Lapland. The Finnish Lapphund is one of only two breed permitted under law in Finland to be kennelled outside in Finnish winters, where temperatures can drop to minus 30C. However this thick coat is fairly easy to maintain, being harsh, and does not easily knot. A half an hour grooming per week should be ample to cope with the coat and keep the dog tidy. The breed should only require bathing when dirty - as excess bathing will strip the coat of the oils, but obviously if your dog rolls in something nasty (which they are inclined to do) you may need to consider a bath to keep it smelling sweet.

They require an hour of exercise everyday consisting of sprints, jogs, and long walks.

They are prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a disease in which the retina in the eye degenerates causing blindness. Hip dysplasia, a condition marked by abnormal hip formation, occurs in rare instances.

Behavior / temperament:
The breed is a strongly built medium sized bred ideally suited as an ACTIVE family's pet. It must be remembered that the breed is a working/herding breed and for this reason it has a bright mind, and needs simulation. In Finland the breed is very popular as a family pet - reaching number 8 in the registrations top 10 in Finland. The herding instinct should never be forgotten, and they are not usually 'safe' to let off the lead in the vicinity of livestock. But on the other hand they are very trainable, and can be taught to work to a high standard of obedience, agility or Search & Rescue.

Experienced trainers find that they are fast learners who can be trained easily. Early socialization coupled with firm, consistent training is essential for this breed.

Well-trained Finnish Lapphunds do not bark much.

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