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Photo (c) Joanne Ross
Photo (c) Mark Treasure
The Finnish Lapphund differs enormously from other heavily coated breeds in which the glamorous appearance comes with a high price in grooming and maintenance. The Lapphund's coat is designed to protect the dogs during harsh northern winters and consists of a thick, felt-like undercoat with a long, heavy top coat. In contrast to other similarly coated breeds, only about 30 minutes a week is sufficient to keep the coat in top condition. They rarely need bathing, tend not to have a doggy smell (unless they have rolled in something unsavoury, that is!), and are more or less self-cleaning. They do love to get muddy, but when they dry the dirt just drops off.
One good brushing a week is usually plenty, paying particular attention to the softer fur around the ears and behind the legs which can sometimes mat if not combed regularly. Lapphunds don't tend to continually shed hair like some breeds, but rather the coat is "blown" all at once, once or twice a year. At this time more brushing is required to remove the enormous amount of undercoat the dogs lose.
Keskiyo (left) illustrates how much fur you can brush out every day during a moult.
Physically, the Finnish Lapphund is characterised by a long and thick double coat that does not continually shed but rather is “blown” at once in a regular annual or bi-annual moult. The male, in particular, has a luxurious mane of thick fur around his neck and shoulders. The females must be feminine and the males masculine, but they should retain a soft and gentle facial expression. He is slightly smaller than medium-sized and relatively strong for his size, both in build and in physical ability.
With other members of the spitz family, Finnish Lapphunds share the typical pricked ears and tail curled over the back. However, the Lapphund's ears may also be “tipped”, where the point is folded down, and the tail may hang loosely when he is standing at rest.