ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Lapponian Herder: A Finnish Beauty

Lapponian Herder standing on grass
John Walton
Written by John Walton

With so many dog breeds out there, how do you find the right breed for you? Firstly, you need to consider the kind of lifestyle that you have. Are you an active person that likes to exercise? Do you live in a family with children and would like a dog that can not only become your kids’ best friend but will also protect them? Say hello to the Lapponian Herder!

The Lapponian Herder is a large, high-energy breed with plenty of love to give its owners. They love playing with children and get along well with them, but they can be shy around strangers—a trait which makes them excellent watchdogs. But they offer much more than that.

In this article, you’re going to discover all that this friendly, energetic, and intelligent breed has to offer. We will discuss their history, care features, and most importantly, their personality.

Breed Characteristics

Lapponian Herder face

  • Adaptability: High

  • Trainability: Good; responds best to gentle training

  • Health and Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • All Around Friendliness: Good; but shy around strangers

  • Exercise Needs: High; needs daily exercise

Dog Breed GroupFoundation Stock Service
Height18 - 20 inches
Weight70 lbs
Lifespan10 - 14 years

The Lapponian Herder is a historically rich and interesting breed. Originally, the breed was used to herd and guard reindeer both in Russia and Scandinavia. They were such favorites of Finland that they were recognized as being one of Finland’s five national dog breeds.

Their history dates back to prehistoric times. The Lapponian Herder is believed to be developed by the Sami people—an indigenous group of Finno-Ugric people. The Sami people once lived in the Arctic regions of Russia and Scandinavia where the breed was founded.

The Lapponian Herder is a highly intelligent, energetic, and docile dog. Though they’re calm, they love agility and games which will stimulate their minds. In addition, they love physical activity as they were specifically bred as herders. Though they’re reserved towards strangers, once they get to know you, they’re very friendly and loving.

They do well with children. However, they’re not fans of sharing their home with other dominant dogs. If you do have other pets in the home, they’ll have to be submissive. However, with early training and socialization, Lapponian Herders will adapt to their environments.

The Lapponian Herder is a low-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. Minimal brushing is required, only to remove dead hairs. Bathing is also only required when they begin to smell. The fact that they are low-maintenance with grooming makes up for the physical maintenance you need to provide for them as they’ll need daily exercise.

See Also: Dogs for Lazy People

Main Highlights

Lapponian Herder near water

  • This breed is counted among the ranks of Finland’s national dogs.

  • What makes this breed different from the other Finnish breeds is that Lapponian Herders have shorter coats and do not hold their tails over their backs.

  • The Lapponian Herder was developed as a herding breed.

  • This breed was developed by the Sami people, an indigenous group of Finno-Ugric people.

  • The Lapponian Herder is a high-energy dog.

  • The Lapponian Herder is a friendly and calm breed especially around children.

  • They can be apprehensive around strangers.

  • The Lapponian Herder can be slightly dominating over other breeds, however, through training, this behavior can be curbed.

  • Lapponian Herders are talented herders and listen to those who treat them with respectful authority.

  • They were nicknamed “reindeer herders.”

Breed History

Lapponian Herder standing in field

It’s believed that the Lapponian Herder had evolved from dogs which were living in the northern parts of Scandinavia dating all the way back to the prehistoric times. Though the origins of this breed have been widely debated on, the main theory is that the Lapponian Herder is Spitz type of dog.

This one of the three dog breeds believed to be developed by the Sami people—an indigenous group of Finno-Ugric people who once lived in the Arctic regions of Russia and Scandinavia. Traditionally, the Lapponian Herder was used to manage reindeer.

The Lapponian Herder had no standards for appearance. They are hardy dogs that lasted through World War II. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, breeders from Finland and Sweden attempted to create new breeds from the traditional reindeer-herding breed. This is where the Finnish Lapphund and the Swedish Lapphund came into existence.

At some point in time, the Finnish Lapphund and the Lapponian Herder were considered the same breed. However, the Lapponian Herder became its own breed in October 1966. In many regions of Scandinavia, the breed is still used for herding and guarding reindeer. The Lapponian Herder was accepted to the Foundation Stock Service program in April 2017.

Size

Lapponian Herder walking in snow

The Lapponian Herder is a mid-sized breed. These dogs are typically longer than they are tall and are built with strong bones and muscles. Though they’re muscular, since they’re herding dogs, they’re not bulky but rather agile.

The head is somewhat long and pointed around the top with a slight convex. The muzzle is slightly shorter in size. Their tails are long and bushy, sitting low on their backs.

Their ideal height is 20 inches (51 cm) for males and 18 inches (46 cm) for women. Though they can weigh up to 70lbs, their weight doesn’t show as most of it is muscle.

Personality and Character

Lapponian Herder lying on ground

The Lapponian Herder is a very active and smart breed which loves to be given tasks as they’re traditionally used for herding. They do well with sports. If they don’t get enough exercise, they’re known to become a little destructive, so, if you have the time to invest in daily exercise, then this is a great breed for you.

Generally speaking, the Lapponian Herder is a very friendly and docile breed. Due to their relaxed personality, they do well in homes with children. Although, they can come off as dominant with other dogs. Thus, it’s important to train them to reduce this trait.

They’re extremely patient which is great during training, however, do not react well to tough training. A gentle hand is much more effective.

Around people they don’t know, they’re slightly reserved until they become more comfortable. This trait makes them ideal protectors of those they consider a part of their family and territory.

Health and Potential Problems

Lapponian Herder looking up

Typically, most breeds have genetic health conditions which run through their parents. The Lapponian Herder is different as they’re considered primeval.

With that said, the breed has basically no reoccurring or prominent health conditions that you need to be aware of. Through the decades, the Lapponian Herder has been kept in exceptional health and shape.

Of course, good and trustworthy breeders will have information on the parents, so you’ll be able to see if there are any underlying health conditions. Though, in general, many large breeds do suffer from these common conditions:

  • Ear Infections: occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle section of the ear. It can be cured with the use of antibiotics.

  • Hip Dysplasia: an abnormality in the hip joint when the socket does not fully cover the ball. This causes possible joint dislocation.

  • Von Willebrand Disease: a genetic disorder caused by a missing or defective clotting protein called von Willebrand.

You can diminish the risk of your dog contracting these diseases by routinely checking your dog and taking them to their required vet checkups.

See Also: Best Dog Vitamin

Care Features

Lapponian Herder staying in wood

The Lapponian Herder was bred as a herding dog, which means these dogs do best when asked to complete tasks. When it comes to exercise, it’s no different. The Lapponian Herder loves to be challenged through training and exercise. Thus, you need to have the time to invest in them as they’re high energy dogs.

The Lapponian Herder excels in agility, rally, obedience, barn hunt, search and rescue, and dock diving. They’re quite a talented breed as you can tell.

You need to provide them with a daily minimum of 30-minutes of physical activity. If not, the Lapponian Herder is known to become destructive as they become bored and restless. If you provide them with exercise, they’re typically docile and calm companions.

See Also: Agility Training for Dogs

Feeding Schedule

Regardless of the breed, it’s extremely important to invest in your dog’s food. As they’re going to be eating this food for the rest of their lives, you want to make sure it’s made with high-quality ingredients.

As the Lapponian Herder is an energetic breed and needs plenty of exercises, make sure the food is designed for highly active dogs. We recommend that you take your dog to the veterinarian for their expert opinion on the type of dog food your dog may need.

Also, depending on your dog’s age, the best type of food for him/her varies. Lastly, make sure that you supply your dog with a clean, fresh bowl of water which is available for them at all times.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

3 Lapponian Herder with different coats

The Lapponian Herder has Scandinavian and Russian roots, which means they’re equipped for the cold weather. They have medium-length fluffy double coats which provide them with protection against the elements.

Their coats usually come in black, brown, and dark grey with typically lighter coloring on their heads. Many Lapponian Herder dogs are seen with white markings as well.

The Lapponian Herder is a low-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. They need minimal attention as they’re designed to produce minimal shedding and odor. However, you will need to brush them on a weekly basis to remove any dead hairs as they do have a dense coat.

Regarding bathing, you only need to bathe them when they start to smell which will be around every 4 to 6 weeks.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Lapponian Herder does very well in households with children as they’re patient, docile, and calm. However, they don’t do well around those with a firm hand; thus, perhaps it’s best not to keep them around small children that can pull and tug at their hair, ears, or tail.

This doesn’t mean they’re bad around children; rather, they do better with children who are old enough to understand their actions.

The Lapponian Herder does well with other animals, however, needs to be trained and socialized from an early age. The Lapponian Herder is a dominant breed, thus, if you already have a dog at home, make sure it’s submissive rather than dominant. If you have two dominant dogs, it’s not going to work out well.

See Also: How to Introduce Dogs to Other Dogs

Wrap Up

Lapponian Herder looking to the right

The Lapponian Herder is an active, yet docile breed. They’re not aggressive towards other animals or children, however, are wary of strangers. When given tasks to complete or games to play, this is when their true colors show as they’re highly intelligent dogs.

Though they’re docile, they’re a highly-active breed, meaning they’ll need daily physical activity to stay mentally and physically fit. If they’re not taken out for walks or runs, they can become destructive as they grow restless and bored—two things you don’t want to happen with this breed.

The Lapponian Herder is a low-maintenance dog, however, does require some grooming. A weekly brushing will help remove any dead hairs from their coat, giving it a nice shine.

You will have to bathe them, however, only when they start to carry the “dog” odor, which usually translates to one bath per month. Thus, if you don’t like grooming or don’t have the time for it, then this breed is great for you.

Do you think that the Lapponian Herder breed for you? Let us know what you think in the comment section below! If you already have a Lapponian Herder, please share your experience about what living with a Lapponian Herder is like!

Do you live in a busy household with guests coming in and out frequently? Then the Lapponian Herder may not be the right breed for you. You need one of these most friendly dog breeds that can charm everyone they meet.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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