Breed Group: Herding
UKC group: Northern Breed
Average lifespan: 10 to 13 years
Average size: 33 to 53 pounds
Coat appearance: tight, harsh, medium length outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat
Coloration: Black, Brown, White
The Swedish lapphund has its origins among the ancient hunting tribes of northern Scandinavia, from the land that the Sámi people call Sapmi. In Sámi mythology it is said that the lapphund sought the post of worker amongst the Sámi people in exchange that it would always be well-treated. The lapphund has been used mainly for hunting and guarding. When the Sámi people started to keep domestic reindeer in the mid-18th century, the lapphund’s repertoire was expanded to include herding.
Hard work in the barren landscape of northern Scandinavia has created a very resilient breed. The shifting climate demands a weatherproof coat that is easy to maintain. The rough terrain and the varied work demand a dog with endurance, agility, intelligence and independence. The resulting Swedish lapphund is a well-rounded working dog, well suited both for work as a farm, hunting, and herding dog, and as a pet.
Typical Swedish Lapphunds are clever, gentle, and biddable dogs. In their native Sweden, they undergo an assessment of their temperament – known as mentalbeskrivning – which has allowed breeders to select dogs with the most desirable behavioural traits, while avoiding more negative ones, and this seems to have been quite a successful approach.
The Lapphund is generally tolerant and sociable with other dogs, and may accept cats if the two are raised together. Likewise, it is fond of children, but it is vital that this working breed is afforded plenty of exercise, as it can otherwise become excessively boisterous, especially when playing. The Lapphund has no tendency to be aggressive, but is aloof with strangers, and will respond to their approach with loud, enthusiastic barking.
Although the Swedish Lapphund is thought to be a relatively healthy breed, diabetes mellitus and progressive retinal atrophy are a few of the medical conditions that have been identified in the breed.And because they are so rare, popularity and overbreeding have yet to take a major toll on their health, it is advisable to ask the breeders about incidence of hip dysplasia and eye problems, since those are common in many different breeds.
Trim the nails as needed, usually every few weeks. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that could indicate an infection.
If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian. Start grooming your Lappie at an early age so he learns to accept it willingly.Brush the coat weekly to keep it clean and remove dead hair.
It is dog resistant to bad weather, which likes to live outdoors, in a colder climate with a loving and active family. It likes exercise, long walks and feels the need to burn its energy. It doesn’t run away from its master. It needs socialization and training.
Controlling this tendency to bark is perhaps the greatest challenge in training a Swedish Lapphund, for it is otherwise a dog that learns quickly and responds well to praise and positive reinforcement. Teaching a “silent” command is a really useful technique to curtail any nuisance barking, but it requires patience and rigorous consistency in training.
The other approach to managing this vocalisation is thorough socialisation, introducing the Lapphund to as many new people as possible during its formative months as a pup. While this will never completely eliminate this noisy instinctive behaviour, it is likely to make it a less frequent and persistent annoyance.
Naturally active little dogs, they should always be encouraged to remain so. They need to be taken on a daily walk.
The Lappie has a thick double coat that forms a ruff around the neck and is longer on the back of the legs and the tail. Brush the coat weekly to keep it clean and remove dead hair. During spring and fall shedding seasons, daily brushing will help keep excess hair under control.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every few weeks. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath. Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that could indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian. Start grooming your Lappie at an early age so he learns to accept it willingly.
Children and Other Pets
Swedish Lapphunds are known to be very good around children thanks to their gentle, placid natures. However, any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with someone being knocked over and hurt, especially when dogs are still young.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Lapp might decide to chase off any other cats they encounter in their travels. Care should be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets just to be on the safe side.
- The Lapphund comes from the far north and is intolerant of heat. Keep him indoors on hot or humid days.
- The Swedish Lapphund is the national breed of Sweden and was the first dog registered by the Swedish Kennel Club.
- The Swedish Lapphund was added to the Foundation Stock Service program in 2007.
- The Swedish Lapphund has been approved to compete in AKC Companion events since January 1, 2010.
- The Swedish Lapphund has been assigned the Herding Group designation.
- The Swedish Lapphund is an ancient breed, in existence for thousands of years. It is a natural breed believed to be a descendent of the ancient artic wolf.