Finnish Lapphund

Canis lupus

Last updated: October 26, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

The Finnish Lapphund was bred to herd reindeer!


Finnish Lapphund Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Finnish Lapphund Conservation Status

Finnish Lapphund Locations

Finnish Lapphund Locations

Finnish Lapphund Facts

Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Fun Fact
The Finnish Lapphund was bred to herd reindeer!
Most Distinctive Feature
Finnish Lapphund is that is has a strong startle reflex
Other Name(s)
Finnish Lapponian Dog, Lapinkoira, Suomenlapinkoira
Gestation Period
63 weeks
Alert, friendly, agile, busy, intelligent, dependent, and gentle.
Average Litter Size
  • Pack

Finnish Lapphund Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Cream
  • White-Brown
  • Multi-colored
  • Black-Brown
  • Blonde
Skin Type
Top Speed
30 mph
12-15 years
33-53 lbs.
Male, 18-21 inches. Female, 16-19 inches.
1-21 inches

Finnish Lapphund as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Cold climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1,000 to $2,000
Dog group
Male weight
18-21 lbs
Female weight
16-19 lbs

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The Sami bred the Finnish Lapphund to herd reindeer!


The Finnish Lapphund is an ancient hunting and herding dog bred by the Sami people in the Lapland region of Scandinavia. Remains of dogs from this area date back almost 7,000 years. The dogs traveled with this nomadic tribe, hunting reindeer. As they gave up their nomadic ways, the Sami began to use the Lapphund for herding.

Their historical proximity to their families makes “Lappies” crave company and attention, giving them a strong affectionate attachment to their owners. Though a little wary of strangers, they are excellent with families and children. Their tendency to bark makes them excellent watchdogs.

Finnish lapphund laying in the grass

The Finnish Lapphund was originally bred in Finland to herd reindeer.

© Didkovska

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Finnish Lapphund 

A lot of the things that make Finnish Lapphunds so great can also be their downfall. Many of these issues with the Lappy can be avoided with good ownership and maintenance.

The Finnish Lapphund is an affectionate, devoted dog that is great with families and children.Its identification with its family can make it wary of strangers. It isn’t typically aggressive, but it can take some time to warm up to strangers.
The Lapphund is a beautiful dog. Its luxurious fur coat and sparkling, attentive eyes can melt the heart of any dog lover.That luxurious coat requires a fair amount of upkeep; it sheds a lot, and an owner needs to brush it regularly.
Its devotion to family and its wariness with strangers makes it an excellent watchdog. The Lapphund, like many herding dogs, has a strong bark, which it uses to alert its family to an intruder.The Lappy’s strong desire to bark can be disruptive. An owner should train the dog early to know when it is appropriate to bark.

The Best Dog Food For a Finnish Lapphund

The Lapphund has modest food requirements for a dog with its size and energy levels. High-protein dry dog food with meat as its primary ingredient is suitable for this dog’s needs. We at A-Z Animals recommend Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult, Chicken & Barley Recipe, 15 lb. Bag
  • This dog food made with natural ingredients uses high quality, easy-to-digest ingredients to fuel the specific energy needs of your full-grown dog.
  • Helps maintain a beautiful skin and a healthy coat by providing a precise balance of omega-6 and vitamin E.
  • Supports lean muscle growth and maintenance in your adult dog with a premium source of high quality protein.

Check Amazon

Finnish Lapphund Size and Weight

The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized dog, though its bountiful fur coat makes it look larger. The male stands 18-21 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 33-53 lbs. Females are 16-19 inches tall and, like the males, also weigh 33-53 lbs.

Height (Male)18-21 inches
Height (Female)16-19 inches
Weight (Male)33-53 pounds
Weight (Female)33-53 pounds

Finnish Lapphund Common Health Issues

A generally healthy breed, the Lapphund can still be impacted by a few issues. Elbow and hip dysplasia are potential problems for the dog. A veterinarian can use X-ray machines to diagnose this issue. The Lapphund is also prone to progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts, which can result in blindness.

Finnish Lapphund Temperament

Lappies are affectionate and gentle and also alert, curious, and agile. They bond well with their families, fit in with the family’s day-to-day life, are good companions for outdoor activities, and they are good with children. Not aggressive, they tend to run away from danger and confrontation.

How To Take Care of a Finnish Lapphund  

Finnish Lapphund Maintenance And Grooming 

The beautiful double coat of the Finnish Lapphund requires a great deal of attention. Brush the coat weekly to remove dead hair, reduce matting, and wash only when necessary. When grooming the dog, do not shave its coat.

Clean the ears regularly to avoid wax and debris buildup. Also, trim the nails regularly and brush the dog’s teeth at least three times weekly to reduce dental issues.

Finnish Lapphund Training 

Finnish Lapphund in field, facing the camera

Finnish Lapphunds are peaceful dogs who need a long, brisk walk every day to stay healthy and happy.


The Finnish Lapphund is intelligent and enjoys work, so they enjoy training sessions as long as they are fun and engaging. If they’re not having fun, they can be a bit distractible due to their hunting drive. They don’t respond well to rough or harsh handling, as their submissive nature causes them to withdraw and hold themselves back.

Recall training is a good idea to offset their hunting and herding instincts and reduce their propensity to run off. Additionally, socializing and training them to be quiet on command will keep them from being a nuisance. Lappies can also be trained as support dogs for the elderly or those with disabilities.

Finnish Lapphund Exercise

Lappies should have at least an hour of daily activity, which can include a mix of walking, play, agility, or obedience training. A fenced-in yard is ideal for giving them room to investigate and play. They can handle more than an hour of activity and enjoy running alongside a bike or a jogger, but they shouldn’t be this active until they mature out of the puppy stage. Finally, don’t exercise a Finnish Lapphund in the heat; they are more accustomed to cooler temperatures.

Finnish Lapphund Puppies 

Puppies should be exposed to other puppies, people, and social situations starting when they are about seven weeks old to ensure they are well-adjusted. Socialization will also make it easier to train them to be quiet on command and to avoid excessive barking.

Finnish Lapphund Puppy

Finnish Lapphunds have, on average, four puppies in each litter.

©Popova Valeriya/

Finnish Lapphunds And Children

The Finnish Lapphund is a loving, playful dog and enjoys time with children. The Sami trained them to be with the family, and the dogs do quite well with kids, especially when they’ve been raised around them.

That being said, a dog should never be left unsupervised with small children, mainly because small children don’t know how to read the dog’s social cues. Aggressive pulling and tugging can cause even the most loving family dog to snap at a child. Also, a house full of small children can trigger the Lappy’s barking and herding instincts, creating a chaotic environment.

Dogs Similar to the Finnish Lapphund

  • Finnish Spitz: Like the Finnish Spitz, the Lapphund is also a Spitz (German for pointed), a kind of dog with pointed ears and nose and a tail that curls over the dog’s back. Most of these dogs originate within the Arctic circle and Siberia.
  • Icelandic Sheepdog: The Norse brought their version of the famous Scandinavian Spitz-type dog to Iceland about 1,100 years ago. Like the Lappy, the Icelandic Sheepdog is a fun-loving family dog.

Popular Names for Finnish Lapphunds

A few popular names for Finnish Laphund include:

  • Jani
  • Esa
  • Niko
  • Leif
  • Odin
  • Lumi
  • Aurora
  • Nelli
  • Thora
  • Riika

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

Finnish Lapphund FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is a Finnish Lapphund a good dog?

The Finish Lapphund is an excellent family dog, is not aggressive, and is good with children.

Do Finnish Lapphunds bark a lot?

Yes. Due to their history of herding dogs, barking is in their nature.

Is the Finnish Lapphund rare?

Though they are well known in Finland, they are otherwise rare in the rest of the world.

Are Finnish Lapphunds good family dogs?

Yes! As ancient hunting and then herding dogs, the Lapphund spent cold evenings curled up with their families to keep warm. They truly love being with their families.

Finnish Lapphund is that is has a strong startle reflex

The Lapphund does not typically have a strong doggy odor.

Is the Finnish Lapphund hypoallergenic?


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