The Finnish Lapphund is a medium-sized spitz type dog that hails of course from Finland, and while the breed is hugely popular across the Scandinavian countries, they are somewhat less common within the UK, albeit they are quickly growing a keen following!
Dogs of the breed are distinctive looking thanks to the typical spits traits of small, pointed ears, thick fur and a curled tail, and red-coated dogs of the breed look a lot like well-fed foxes! They are grouped within the pastoral category by The Kennel Club, which means that they have a working history in livestock herding and related work, a role that dogs of the breed are sometimes still used for today. However, they are also hugely popular pets, and their versatility and good temperaments mean that they can also be seen taking part in all sorts of canine sports too, such as agility, heelwork and flyball.
The history of the breed is also distinctive and interesting, and if you are considering buying or adopting a dog of the breed, finding out a little bit about their background and core traits is of course very important.
In this article, we will share five interesting facts about the Finnish Lapphund, which you might not already know about. Read on to learn more.
1. They are interesting on a genetic level
DNA testing of the Finnish Lapphund and back-tracing of their lineage has revealed a lot about the breed as a whole and its role in the modern world today, and this is really interesting in and of itself.
Mitochondrial DNA testing of the breed places them in a subclade known as d1, and this only occurs within dog breeds that originate from Northern Scandinavia. The d1 subclade can be traced back for over 3,000 years, and is shared by other breeds from the region, including the Swedish Lapphund and the Norwegian Elkhound. The d1 subclade itself has been pinpointed to have occurred as the result of a female wolf mating with a domesticated male dog, and this exact match has not been found anywhere else in Eurasia.
2. They were originally used for herding reindeer
When you learn that a dog belongs to a herding breed or type, the image of a flock of sheep or possibly cows is usually what comes to mind immediately-but the Lapphund’s working history actually involves herding reindeer, which comes with challenges of its own! Reindeer are of course large and rather flighty, which comes with its own challenges; the Lapphund is agile, adaptive and very fast on their feet, as well as having fast reflexes that are essential to avoid being trampled or kicked when herding.
3. They can be very vocal
Within a working herding role, the Finnish Lapphund needs to be fairly vocal in order to keen their herd moving and communicate back and forth with their handler and with other working dogs. This trait remains today, and the Finnish Lapphund is definitely one of the more barky dogs that you will encounter, which can potentially be problematic if they are continually making a noise!
This trait makes them very good watchdogs, as they will alert you quickly to the presence of someone approaching-however, this does not translate into the breed making for good guard dogs, as they are simply too personable and friendly, and will likely see a burglar or a prowler as someone new to play with!
4. They are extremely friendly
The Lapphund breed as a whole tends to be easy to get on with and understand, as they are very friendly, personable and keen to please. This makes them one of the easiest breeds to train, and they are widely considered as a good pick for the first time dog owner who is not that experienced with dogs.
They get on well with children and are open and easy to read, as well as being playful, loving and entertaining. They can sometimes be a little shy around strangers, but this is highly unlikely to manifest as aggression.
5. They are really smart
The Finnish Lapphund is one of the brightest breeds around, which makes them ideal for working roles and canine sport alike, and also makes them a pleasure to train. While many of the very intelligent dog breeds can sometimes be “too smart for their own good” and seek things to do that may well get them into hit water, this is not the case for the Lapphund, who really loves to learn, follow commands and work.
This does mean that they need to have lots of mental stimulation as well as physical exercise, and games that require them to think and adapt to new situations are a great pick. Agility is notably a sport that dogs of the breed tend to excel at, so if you are looking for a medium sized breed to get started with in canine spots, the Finnish Lapphund may well be the perfect pick!