Finnish Lapphunds, with their luscious coat, sweet spitz-like face, and profusely coated tail curving over the back, are instantly recognizable as Nordic dogs. Built for hard work in frigid temperatures north of the Arctic Circle, Lappies stand about 20 inches at the shoulder and are surprisingly powerful for their size, with well-developed muscles and substantial bone beneath a double coat that comes in many colors and patterns. Lappies are agile dogs of effortless movement, capable going from a trot to full gallop in a second flat.
The original Finnish Lapphunds were the helper dogs of a tribe of semi-nomadic people, the Sami, in Lapland (the northern region of Finland, Sweden and, in part, Russia). Around 1940, in Finland, interest in saving the breed began to grow. Dogs belonging to the original Sami people were collected with the intent of establishing a breeding program.
Few Lappies today in America have seen a reindeer, but they adapt well to other kinds of work, including obedience, agility, tracking therapy, and herding other types of livestock. When working, Finnish Lapphunds are agile, alert and noisy. While interacting with people, however, the breed is calm, friendly, and very submissive. Lappy puppies are adorable, but new owners should take care to remember that a small puppy grows up quickly and needs to learn good habits early on. Socialization, puppy classes and basic training will help him learn those habits.
Coat & Grooming: The coat does require a thorough weekly brushing to be kept in good condition. Lappies shed seasonally, but the fur can be easily controlled with regular brushing. Their double-coat makes them intolerant of the heat. Daily exercise is also necessary. Their nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.