Although the 2nd World War destroyed a large part
of Lapland and its dogs, a good number were saved and the Finnish Clubs continue
to strive to maintain the Finnish Lapphund to the type depicted in the pictures
from the old standards and the stories of reindeer herding. The breed standard
of the Lapphund was confirmed in 1975 and subsequently revised in 1982 and
1987. The standard has now undergone its final fine tuning to meet FCI
requirements and was reissued by the FCI 12/3/99. (Note; the Interim Standard
issued by the UK Kennel Club does differ from the FCI Standard on a number of
One should never forget that the Lapphund is one of the most
perfect products of nature and a part of the Finnish tradition worth taking care
of. Heavy work in austere life conditions has made our Lapphunds healthy,
modest farm-hands, content with very little and excellent companions for the
whole family. They do everything that they can for their master and dinner
plate! Therefore the contentedness and the lovely smile of the Lapphund is
readiest when they are allowed to act according to the orders and instruction of
In the past our domestic herding dog has been called a Lapp
herd dog, Lapp Spitz dog and a Lapp hound but since 1993 the breed has been
called the Finnish Lapphund (Suomenlapinkoira) originating from the longhaired
dogs used for reindeer herding in Lapland. It is still to some extent used as a
shepherd dog for herding reindeer, cattle and sheep but the majority of
Lapphunds serve as pet dogs and watch dogs for country houses and more densely
populated areas, i.e. yard dogs.
According to the registrations of the Finnish Kennel Club the
breed is amongst the top fifteen (2010 top 5) most favoured breeds in
Finland. The popularity of the Lapphund is based on its health, character,
conformation and variety of colouring. For a family keen on outdoor life and
exercise this dog is an excellent all year round companion for all weathers.
The variety and combination of colours are as much part of
the attraction of this breed as are the dazzling good looks which prove
immensely popular in Finland not only for showing but also as a family dog. One
of the National Dogs of Finland, the Lapphund is of medium size, strongly built
and capable of a days work herding reindeer. Characteristics and temperament
are accurately summarised in the Breed Standard which states; tendency to
herd, intelligent, brave, calm, faithful; suitable as a companion and watch dog.
Only those fortunate to be owners will know just how typical
that description is of the breed.
The breed works in Lapland to this day as a herder of
reindeer. It is described by the Lapps as a galloping dog and works alongside
the Lapponian Herder, a trotting dog. Between them the two breeds are said to
work herds ideally - their styles perfectly complimenting each other.
Written information on the Lapphund is scarce, most of the
information, we are told, is written in obscure Lapplandic dialects which even
the Finns have trouble interpreting. We do know that the breed is still strong
in Lapland and the Finns, when they wish to introduce new stock, travel north to
select from the working packs.
The breed is a medium sized heavy coated spitz type herding
breed, being used to herd reindeer by the Lap farmers in the cold northern parts
of Finland, and the dogs in the UK, being direct descendents of true working
dogs, do show strong herding instincts given the opportunity.
As a working breed they are quick to learn and have potential
as obedience and agility dogs as well as having extremely loveable natures which
make them ideal family pets.
The breed integrates well with other breeds, the current UK
dogs have moved into homes with Toy breeds (Bichons and Cavaliers) and Working
breeds (Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, Australian Cattle Dog), to name but a
few - the Lapphund has proved they fit in well with them all.
One of the most commonly asked questions is; "do they bark?"
It would be wrong to say no, of course all breeds will bark given certain
stimuli, but it would be true to say that the Finnish Lapphund does not have the
characteristic excitable spitz yap. They will bark/yap when disturbed but are
not like some of their spitz relatives who can be seen barking for attention at
shows etc. Certainly being an intelligent breed the young pups can be quickly
taught when they are expected to bark and when not.
The Finnish Lapphund is a happy and lively breed and
certainly requires at least an average amount of exercise as one would expect
for a medium breed - it is too intelligent and keen to be busy to lead a totally
For a heavy coated breed the Finnish Lapphund requires
surprisingly little grooming. The outer coat is coarse and because of this does
not tend to matt or knot like some of the softer coated breeds. The thick
weatherproof undercoat helps keep out the rain and dirt.
Character & Differences Between the Sexes
As regards the character the Lapphund is calm, intelligent,
brave, self-reliant, faithful, willing to learn and kind to children.
The male dog is outstanding with his thick coat whilst the
hair of the bitch is a bit shorter and she tends to be more humble in character.
The breed has been very successful in obedience trials
including competing at a national level in Finland. The breed is ideal for dog
shows, herding, agility, tracking, searching and hunting - in fact anything you
Colour & Care of the Coat
All shades of colours are allowed. The most common colours
are different shades of black and brown, light and grey shades. In addition to
one main colour several dogs have light and or/tan colour markings. The thick
coat needs no other care except regular brushing.
The Lapphund is one of the healthiest breeds in Finland,
allergies, eczema, eye or ear inflammations are uncommon in the breed. There is
a small incidence of hereditary eye disease (PRA & HC), hip scores are good as
are patella checks. The stud services and subsequent whelpings are usually
Genuine domestic herding spitz type dogs
A good dog for homes, herding, watching and companionship
Intelligent and self-reliant
Appropriate for almost all dog hobbies
An outdoor dog which also enjoys/prefers being outdoors
A variety of coat colour shades and patterns are accepted
Introduction into the UK
The UK story starts in 1989 when Sue & Roger Dunger imported
the first Finnish Lapphund into the UK. Since her arrival there has been an
orderly progression in numbers with further imports and a controlled number of
litters being bred.
Those involved with the development of the breed to date have
been determined that there should be no immediate explosion in numbers as seen
in some other newly imported breeds. This has meant that our breed has had time
to settle, for hip scores and eye tests to be carried out and we now know, as
far as this is possible in a relatively short time, that the breed is both
healthy and sound. The average hip score is encouragingly low with the breed
mean score at 14 (range 9 - 35) from 23 dogs scored under the BVA scheme (at the
time of reporting); at the time of writing (July 2010) the mean is now 13 (range
6 - 40) from 138 dogs scored. A large proportion of the adult stock in the UK
has been eye tested clear but 2 cases of suspected PRA have been reported in
In 1991 the top bitch in the breed in Finland, SF MVA
Lecibsin Hissukka, was flown to the UK in whelp and her litter of five was born
in quarantine, Sue and Roger Dunger were responsible for this population
explosion! The puppies were released at 8 weeks of age and Hissukka was flown
home to Finland. Subsequent importation included a brown and tan dog; Staalon
Runne of Sulyka, a black and tan dog; Tsinghuan Poarka at Chelville, plus a
further three bitches (cream, red sable and wolf sable).
A slow and careful breeding programme then started and since
the first litter born in quarantine a further 29 litters had been produced up to
1999 - varying in size from 2 to 8 pups per litter. 1999 was yet another
exciting year for the introduction of new blood; the Finnish Champion SF MVA
Eetla came into quarantine and whelped a litter of 4 in the March. She was to
be joined later in the summer at the Chelville kennel by Staalon Kidda, an older
puppy bitch brought in under the Balai Directive. In the last 2 years further
imports have joined the UK population to further enhance the gene pool. As a
result of the carefully planned importations we have a number of distinct
breeding lines available in this country - the future looks interesting.
The Finnish Lapphund had originally been granted Import
Register Status by the Kennel Club which restricted the breed showing to
Matches, Exemption Shows plus Import Register Classes at open and championship
show level. The breed was not eligible to compete in breed classes, however
since the Irish Kennel Club did not operate an Import Register category the
breed was eligible to compete in breed classes, where scheduled, and in AVNSC
Pastoral classes and a number of Finnish Lapphunds have crossed the waters and
been awarded Green Stars.
The Finnish Lapphund Club of Great Britain was founded by a
small band of enthusiasts in May 1994 with the intention of protecting and
furthering the interest of the breed in the UK, in November 1995 the Club was
provisionally recognised by the Kennel Club.
At the time of writing the Club has over 100 members, a
number of whom do not yet own a Finnish Lapphund - it is not necessary to be an
owner of the breed to join us, we happily welcome anyone who is genuinely
interested in the breed and wishes to help the clubs aims.
As a club we have been actively involved in educating
interested parties about the breed, participating in The Meet The Imports Day
(organized by the Kooikerhunje Club), in the judges seminars organized by the
NWPB society and we have held our own seminars. We have also organized a number
of fun days & weekends where enthusiasts can meet and talk about the breed, take
part in activities with the Lapphunds and meet as examples of the breed as
possible at one time.
When the Club was formed the Founder Members set up a Code of
Ethics which forms part of the Rules of the Club and since the members are keen
to preserve health and type of this ancient breed a number of points are
considered important to bring to attention of anyone considering acquiring a
Prior to mating all stock must be tested under the BVA/KC
schemes for hereditary cataracts (HC), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA),persistent
hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV), persistent papillary membrane (PPH),
multifocal retinal dysplasia (MRD) and hip dysplasia (HD) i.e. a current annual
eye certificate must be held prior to mating as well as a Hip Dysplasia score.
Copies of the results should be made available to the Breed Health Co-ordinator
for public listing and reference.
The breeder should arrange for the Kennel Club registration
document to be available at the date of sale. The registration should be
endorsed "Progeny not for Registration" and this made clear to the purchaser who
must acknowledge this in writing prior to and again at time of sale. These
endorsements should only be lifted by the breeder once the dog has been tested
to an acceptable level.
The Finnish Lapphund was finally granted Rare Breed Status by
the Kennel Club on 1st April 2002.
Since then we have seen breed classes being scheduled at a
number of open and championship shows with a high degree of success with Finnish
Lapphunds being placed in groups and stake classes at both levels.
On 9 September 2009 the Kennel Club allocated the Finnish
Lapphund Championship Status 2011/2012
We are delighted with the news that the Finnish Lapphund has
been awarded Championship Status by the Kennel Club, with effect from 2011. Six
full sets of Championship Certificates and two singles will be on offer at the
Full Set Of Challenge
Finnish Lapphund Club of Great Britain (April)
Birmingham National (May)
Scottish Kennel Club (May)
National Working & Pastoral Breeds Dog Society (July)
Welsh Kennel Club (August)
Single Challenge Certificates
Southern Counties (June)
Richmond DSS (September)
FLCGB Chairman (1995 - 2010) Deceased