Modern Finnish Lapphunds are descended from hardy, double-coated working dogs bred for hundreds of years as reindeer herders and watchdogs by the Sami people of Lapland in northern Scandanavia. These dogs were varied in type and length of coat, and as modern farming methods developed in the 1960s the shorter-coated dogs became more desirable. In the 1970s enthusiasts set out to preserve the longer-coated variety and developed the Finnish Lapphunds we have today.
From the original working stock grew two distinct breeds with separate Standards: Finnish Lapphunds and Lapponian Herders. Today, in addition to these two separate breeds, there are also two recognised types of Finnish Lapphund: suomenlapinkoira, the more square and stocky type we see in the show ring, and the paimensukuinen lapinkoira, a dog of rangier build known as the “working type” of Finnish Lapphund.
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In 1989 Roger and Sue Dunger (Sulyka) imported the first Finnish Lapphund into the UK , a black and tan bitch, Lecibsin Loru. She was followed by the top-winning Finnish bitch of the time, Multi Ch Lecibsin Hissukka, who was brought to the UK in whelp to Finnish Ch Fohrmans Hermanni. Five puppies were born in quarantine and she returned to Finland. One of these puppies, Sulyka Lecibsin Nilla, was mated to Loru and out of two litters produced two top-winning Lapphunds: Sulyka Valio 'is' Curdeleon and Sulyka Mischa at Elbereth, the grand-dam of both our Neka and Keskiyo.
Further importations followed in the mid-1990s, including a brown and tan dog, Staalon Runne of Sulyka, and a black and tan dog, Tsinghuan Poarka at Chelville. They were joined by three bitches; Shezadun Abjatar at Chelville, a cream colour, Kutrin Lumo at Chelville, red sable, and Lecibsin Hanka at Leemax, a wolf sable. By 2000 there had been two further bitch imports, Finnish Ch Eetla and Staalon Kidda, and breed numbers in the UK were just over 150. More imports have followed in recent years, and with the Pet Passport scheme facilitating overseas travel, many bitches have been mated abroad. At the beginning of 2011 there are more than 500 dogs registered with the population covering a broad spectrum of colours.
One of the many appealing features of the Finnish Lapphund is his wide range of colours and patterns. They may be solid black, brown or cream, with or without distinctive markings of white fur around the eyes known as “spectacles”. The black or brown may have tan points which can show as pale as white, giving the familiar tricolour pattern. Other colours seen in Lapphunds are sable in shades of red or cream and wolf sable. Less familiar, and certainly more rare in the UK, is the domino pattern appearing as a large amount of pale cream or white, particularly in the middle of the face. Infindigo Persikka Kuura illustrates the unusual domino colouring. The only restriction on acceptable colours in the breed is that the main colour must dominate, so the only colours not permitted by the Standard are brindle and saddle patterning.
Cream Finnish Lapphund Puppy
Finnish Lapphunds good and bad
Don't be confused - the Finnish Lapphund is the same as the Finnish Lapponian Dog. At the end of 2016, the Lapphund club of Finland, Lappalaiskoirat Ry, changed the English name of the Suomenlapinkoira from Finnish Lapphund to Finnish Lapponian Dog. At the moment in the UK we still say Finnish Lapphund, but Finnish Lapponian Dog is now used by the governing body of the international dog fancy, the FCI, as well as by other European countries, including Finland.
Pros and cons of owning a Finnish Lapphund