Search Menu
Two Finnish Lapphund puppies sitting side by side outdoors.
animalinfo/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Unless you live in Finland or happen to have reindeer that need herding, you may not be familiar with the Finnish Lapphund. If you do know the breed, you know what wonderful family dogs they can be. Smart and eager to please, Lappies are naturally submissive with people and great with children.

Already one of the most popular breeds in Finland, they deserve the acclaim they’re gaining in the United States. So, what makes the Finnish Lapphund special?

1. They’re Beautiful Dogs

Although their voluminous coat makes them appear larger, Finnish Lapphunds are really medium-sized dogs, with males averaging 18-21 inches tall and females ranging from 16-19 inches. They have a straight or wavy coat with a soft, dense undercoat. They also have a sweet, soft expression that’s sure to win hearts.

2. This Is an Ancient Breed

The Finnish Lapphund originated with the Sami, a semi-nomadic people in Lapland who covered parts of Finland, Sweden, and Russia. Remains of Lapponian dogs date back to 7000 B.C.! As the Sami culture evolved into a less nomadic one, the dogs were used to herd reindeer.

3. Finnish Lapphunds Are Quick and Agile

Speaking of reindeer, those are tough animals with hooves that can be deadly. Although herding sheep or cows requires special skills, herding reindeer takes other distinct skills that are inherent in Lappies. The breed is quick, brave, and agile, with a strong startle reflex that served them well if a reindeer suddenly turned on them.

: David Woo ©American Kennel Club

4. They Tend to Bark

4. Another trait crucial to this herding dog is a tendency to bark. Finnish Lapphunds used barking to control the herd, and they are still barkers today.

On the one hand, this makes them very good watchdogs that will let you know if someone’s coming. On the other hand, teaching your Lappie when it’s OK to bark and when it isn’t is an important part of training.

5. They’re Sometimes Called a “Thinking Breed”

The Finnish Lapphund is sometimes referred to as a “thinking breed.” Although, as with most herders, they can be strong-willed, Lappies take to training and do well in dog sports. They also perform well as tracking dogs, therapy dogs, and in search and rescue.

6. They Weren’t Bred to Be Guardian Dogs

The Lappie is not a guardian dog. They’ll alert you to the presence of strangers, but they are not aggressive. In fact, they’re a devoted, sociable, and good-natured breed.


7. They Are a Distinct Dog Breed

Despite similarities in appearance to the Australian Shepherd, Samoyed, and Siberian Husky, the Finnish Lapphund is their own breed. They are calm, friendly, and attached to their human pack, yet with the intelligence, quickness, and courage of a dog used to working in tough Northern conditions. It’s no wonder the breed is becoming such a favorite!

Interested in adding one of these agile, alert, and friendly dogs to your family? Check out the AKC Marketplace for Finnish Lapphund pups. And if you’re looking for some adorable Lappie products, the AKC Shop has breed-specific items and more!

Related article: Why Are Some Dog Breeds Rare or Not as Popular?
Get Your Free AKC eBook

Selecting a Puppy

How do you know what breed is right for your family? How do you find a reputable breeder? What questions should you ask a breeder? Download this e-book for guidance on these questions and other important factors to consider when looking for a puppy.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download