Swedish Lapphund

Canis lupus

Last updated: November 2, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

The Swedish Lapphund is Sweden's national dog!


Swedish Lapphund Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Swedish Lapphund Conservation Status

Swedish Lapphund Locations

Swedish Lapphund Locations

Swedish Lapphund Facts

Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Fun Fact
The Swedish Lapphund is Sweden's national dog!
Estimated Population Size
Gestation Period
63 days
Lively, alert, active, intelligent, and affectionate.
Litter Size
4-6 puppies
  • Pack
"The Black Beauty of Norrland"

Swedish Lapphund Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Black
  • White
Skin Type
12-14 years
30-45 lbs.
Males, 18-20 inches. Females, 16-18 inches.

Swedish 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
$1,500 to $2,000
Dog group
Male weight
30-45 lbs
Female weight
30-45 lbs

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The Sami people (formerly known as Lapps) bred the Swedish Lapphund to herd reindeer. This furry black (sometimes brown) dog is the oldest of Sweden‘s native dog breeds. It is a northern spitz breed with a distinctive, weather-proof double coat that repels dirt and water and sheds year-round. “Lappies,” as they are called, are comfortable in cold, arctic weather.

They are intelligent dogs that like to work and are very trainable. Lappies excel at herding trials, agility courses, rally work, and obedience trials. They like to run and make excellent companions for joggers or bikers.

Playful, active, affectionate, and lively, the Swedish Lapphund makes a great family dog. Historically, they spent time with the families that owned them, and the tribe revered them. They have a lot of energy and love to play outside, but at the end of the day, they like to settle in with their family.

Swedish Lapphund Fun Fact 

  • The Swedish Lapphund is Sweden’s national dog!

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Swedish Lapphund 

The Swedish Lapphund is great with families and gets along well with kids!The heavy coat of this Lapphund sheds constantly, especially during its two shedding seasons.
The Lappie is intelligent and highly trainable. The dog is suited to all sorts of competitive activities and enjoys mental stimulation.The Swedish Lapphund is naturally a very vocal dog and barks a lot. Owners should train the dog to be quiet on command and to recognize when it is appropriate to bark.
The vocal nature of the Lapphund makes it an excellent watchdog.The Lapphund has a great deal of energy and a need for mental stimulation. It will get into trouble if it’s not engaged.

The Best Dog Food for the Swedish Lapphund

The Swedish Lapphund tends to gain weight faster than other dogs. Dry dog food with meat as its primary ingredient is the best option. Care should be taken not to overfeed, given its tendency to gain weight. 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.

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Swedish Lapphund Size and Weight

The Swedish Lapphund is a small to medium-sized dog. The male is about 18-20 inches high at the shoulder and weighs 30-45 pounds. The female is slightly smaller at 16-18 inches at the shoulder and weighs 30-45 pounds.

Height (Male):18-20 inches
Height (Female):16-18 inches
Weight (Male):30-45 pounds
Weight (Female):30-45 pounds

Swedish Lapphund Common Health Issues

The Swedish Lapphund is a generally healthy breed. The rarity of the Lappie means that there have been fewer issues due to inbreeding. Some dogs, however, have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus and progressive retinal atrophy. There may be an increased likelihood of other eye disorders.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to ask the breeder whether the genetic line has a history of hip dysplasia. A reputable breeder will give you honest answers to questions about the dog’s genetic history. Also, ask for vaccination and screening records to evaluate the dog’s health.

Swedish Lapphund Temperament

The Swedish Lapphund is playful, lively, energetic, and an excellent companion and family dog. The Lappie is interested in being with the family, and it finds joy in work and interaction. It has a great deal of energy, and it enjoys playing with children.

How To Take Care of a Swedish Lapphund  

Maintenance and Grooming 

The Swedish Lapphund’s distinctive double coat sheds year-round and requires weekly brushing and an occasional bath. It also will go through a heavy shedding period once or twice a year, referred to as “blowing” its coat. During this time, it may be helpful to take the dog to a groomer to help with the additional hair. The coat should never be shaved.

Brush the dog’s teeth weekly and inspect the ears for wax and debris buildup. Clean the ears regularly. Finally, trim the dog’s nails regularly, as well.


Lapphunds have a high need for activity and mental stimulation, so they enjoy activities where training is required. Begin their training as early as possible. Lappies are very good at agility, obedience, rally, and herding. They respond well to positive reinforcement, so keep the sessions short and incorporate praise and rewards.


The Lapphund has high energy resources and needs at least a 20-30 minute walk daily. It would also be helpful to incorporate a game of catch or other games in the backyard or at an enclosed park. Agility, obedience, rally, or herding drills can also help to burn off some energy. The Lappie also enjoys going along for a run or trotting alongside a bike. When the family settles down, the Swedish Lapphund can also sit and enjoy quiet time with the family.


Training for Swedish Lapphund puppies should begin as soon as they get home. They are very trainable but have a slight independent streak that can get them into trouble if they’re not trained early on. Continue their training by socializing them through a puppy kindergarten class at 10-12 weeks. If their vaccinations aren’t completed, socialize them at home with friends and family until they can begin classes.

Swedish Lapphund puppy

Socialization through a puppy kindergarten class should begin at about 10-12 weeks, vaccination depending.


Swedish Lapphund and Children

Swedish Lapphunds are playful and active and can play with children all day. Introduce the Lappie to children early, and of course, small children should never play unsupervised with a dog. Children should be trained to properly handle a dog from an early age and instructed to read cues from the dog’s behavior.

Dogs Similar to Swedish Lapphund

Finnish Lapphund: The Finnish Lapphund is closely related to the Swedish Lapphund. When the Sami tribe raised Lapphund to hunt reindeer, they roamed across the northern portions of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The Finnish and Swedish people developed their distinctive breeds from the line created by the Sami.

Samoyed: The Samoyed is also a spitz dog. It has a heavy white coat that keeps it warm in extreme Siberian winters. Historically, it herded reindeer and pulled sleds.

Lapponian herder: The Lapponian herder is another Sami reindeer dog. It was thought to be the same as the Finnish Lapphund until 1966. It is popular in Finland and Sweden.

Popular Names for Swedish Lapphund

  • Bear
  • Inky
  • Kuro
  • Midnight
  • Raven
  • Belle
  • Heidi
  • Cleopatra
  • Juno

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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.

Swedish Lapphund FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How rare is the Swedish Lapphund?

The Swedish Lapphund is somewhat rare, with numbers currently at about 1,200 dogs. Most of these are in Sweden.

Is the Swedish Lapphund hypoallergenic?

No, these dogs are not hypoallergenic.

Is the Swedish Lapphund the national dog of Sweden?

The Swedish Lapphund is the national breed of Sweden.

Do Swedish Lapphund shed?

Swedish Lapphund shed year-round. They shed extra heavily twice a year; this is known as “blowing” its coat.

Are Swedish Lapphunds good with other dogs?

Swedish Lapphunds are good with other dogs, especially if they are socialized with dogs from a young age.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. Vet Street, Available here: https://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/swedish-lapphund
  2. Wag Walking, Available here: https://wagwalking.com/name/swedish-lapphund-dog-names
  3. Dog Breed List, Available here: https://www.dogbreedslist.info/all-dog-breeds/swedish-lapphund.html
  4. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/swedish-lapphund/
  5. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_Lapphund
  6. The Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/search/breeds-a-to-z/breeds/pastoral/swedish-lapphund-imp/
  7. Norrland Kennel, Available here: https://www.norrlandkennel.com/about-3
  8. Breed Archive, Available here: https://swedishlapphund.breedarchive.com/home/index
  9. Purina, Available here: https://www.purina.co.uk/find-a-pet/dog-breeds/swedish-lapphund
  10. US Service Animals, Available here: https://usserviceanimals.org/blog/swedish-lapphund-breed-overview/
  11. SKK, Available here: https://www.skk.se/en/nku-home/nordic-dog-breeds/sweden/swedish-lapphund/
  12. Dog Pregnancy Calendar, Available here: https://dogpregnancycalendar.com/swedish-lapphund-pregnancy-week-by-week-calendar/

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