Finnish Lapphund Breed Magazine - Showsight

The Look Finnish Lapphunds are a northern breed, classified as working/herding Spitz. Th eir looks are characteristic of most northern breeds from ears to tail, with that distinctive silhouette including the tail over the back, etc. Similar to the Samoyed, but shorter in stature and with a slightly longer back, the Lappy comes in a rainbow of colors includ- ing black, brown, shades of cream from o ff -white to golden, as well as wolfsable and domino. Tan points may be present on face and legs or only on the legs. Many dogs have spectacles either with or without the tan pattern markings. Solid colors are also allowed. Th e only ‘frowned upon’ colors are brindle, piebald and saddle.

Lappies are longhaired and double coat- ed, and typically shed twice a year. Th ey should have a stocky, sturdy appearance, looking heavier than they actually are. Th eir profuse stando ff coat and comparatively heavy bone give them this look. Physically though, the Lappy should be quick and mobile, able to turn on a dime and change speed or direction in an instant. Finnish Lapphunds succeeded as rein- deer herders by dropping quickly to the ground in a reflexive response to a reindeer’s kick or turn and scoop. Consequently, the height of a Finnish Lapphund, as stipulated in the breed standard, is a ‘working height’ that would allow the dog to drop beneath the hooves or antlers of a reindeer. A taller

dog would not be as quick and would not be able to drop as low in an emergency. Natural selection would favor dogs that fit within the height range for this breed of 16"-19" for females and 18"-21" for males with the ideal height of a male at 19 ½ " and a female at 17 ½ ". Typical weight ranges are approximately 30-38 pounds for a female, and 37-45 pounds for a male, give or take a few pounds on either side. Health/Lifespan Th e health of the Finnish Lapphund is generally good with few issues. Th e inci- dence of problems is low; however, dogs used for breeding or companion/perfor- mance events should have OFA certification of Hips, Knees and Elbows. A responsible breeder should also have prospective breed- ing dogs examined by a canine ophthalmolo- gist for cataracts or other anomalies and also confirm the PRA gene status of prospective parents via the gene test available. With the PRA gene test, there is no excuse for produc- ing an a ff ected puppy. Finnish Lapphunds should easily live 12-15 years or a bit more. Personality/Temperament Th is breed is gentle, a ff ectionate, non- aggressive and very accepting of human domination. Th ey are described as sub- missive, which means that they are not inclined to challenge humans—it does not mean timid. Th ey are more into pleasing their owners than challenging them. Th ey do not have the same stubbornness asso- ciated with many Spitz breeds. Th e breed also is not inclined to dog aggression. In fact they seek out and enjoy the compan- ionship of other dogs, especially their own breed. Th e temperament of this breed is beyond reproach. Two males might clash briefly over a female in season but that is not common and the breed simply does not have a propensity for serious quarrels. Lappies are very interactive in their play. Th ey love to share toys, whether it is a stu ff ed toy or a stick in the backyard. We frequently see two, three, four or more Lappies all carrying the same large stick, trotting along in unison as they carry it. Th ey will actually stop, turn and o ff er the stick to another dog and slow so that it can catch up with them.

Left to right: Black & tan female “Quinn”, cream male “Lumi”, brown female “Suffeli” and black & tan female “Liika”—all are AKC Champions and “Liika” is an AKC Grand Champion.

“Dancer”—a 7-year-old wolfsable male imported from Finland.

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