The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.
Swedish Lapphunds make wonderful family companions and thrive when included in all the activities of their human pack. This lively and intelligent medium-sized spitz is a versatile, playful and energetic pooch. Although generally considered a medium to high energy breed, it is capable of relaxing and chilling when appropriate, aka the Lappie “on/off” switch. Alert and friendly, they can also be independent-minded and stubborn. The breed retains its guarding and herding traits of alertness and attention-getting barking. The Swedish Lappie is eager to please, will work with you, and is suited for rally, agility, herding, scent work and other companion events.
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The Swedish Lapphund should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The Lappie has a medium-length, double coat that should be kept in good condition with weekly brushing and an occasional bath. Swedish Lappies undergo a heavy shedding of their undercoat at least once or twice per year, referred to as “blowing coat.” A groomer can be helpful at this time to deal with the large amount of fur that is shed. Under no circumstances should a Swedish Lapphund ever be shaved. The coat should always be maintained at its natural length year round.
Swedish Lapphunds are a medium-high-energy breed and benefit from daily exercise. They do have an “on/off” switch; that is to say, they are very energetic, alert, and active, but capable of settling down and relaxing. This is an intelligent and active breed requiring regular mental and physical exercise to prevent boredom. It is not a breed to be left alone for long periods, and when outdoors a fenced yard is a must. As with most breeds, a bored Lappie will find his way into mischief.
Swedish Lapphunds have an eager and curious nature, resulting in a high level of trainability. With the challenge of an independent mind and occasional stubborn streak, training a Lappie requires a light hand, patience, and a sense of humor. He is well-suited for herding, agility, obedience, and other canine sports.
Swedish Lapphunds are generally a healthy breed. Responsible breeders will test for hip dysplasia and PRA and will have health information readily available on their dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, prospective owners can gain the education they need to learn about specific health concerns within the breed.
Recommended Health Tests From Parent Club
The Swedish Lapphund is the oldest of the native Swedish breeds and is believed to be one of the most ancient breeds in existence today. It was an important partner of the Sami people of Lappland (northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia) initially as a hunting and guarding dog and later as a herding partner with the domestication of reindeer. A characteristic of the herding Lappie is the use of his vocal talents. It is believed the Sami favored the barking Lappies for two reasons: predators were deterred from coming too close and the reindeer knew the barking, four-legged creature was friend, not foe. The herding instinct is still alive and well in the modern day Lappie.
The breed was near extinction in the mid-20th century, but through the dedicated efforts of several breeders it was revived. Today, it still remains a very rare breed with an estimate of approximately 1000-1200 worldwide, the majority of which are in Sweden.