Finnish Lapphunds are a spitz-type breed believed to have been created by the Sami, an indigenous group who live in a region north of the Arctic Circle. This area comprised of the northern regions of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and parts of Russia is called Laphund, hence the breed's name. Originally, they were called the Lapponian Shepherd Dog and consisted of two varieties: short-haired and long-haired. In 1967, these coat varieties were deemed separate breeds with long-haired specimens becoming known as today's Finnish Lapphund. These thick-coated dogs were used primarily to herd reindeer but their purpose quickly declined in the late 1960s with the use of snowmobiles. Today, the Lappie is still popular among the Finnish as both herders and companions.
Sporting a thick and profuse coat, the Finnish Lapphund has the appearance of a typical northern breed. These medium-sized dogs are surprisingly muscular and strongly-built for their size which attests to their excellent herding abilities to deal with unruly reindeer. The Lappie's long and weather-resistant outercoat comes in an array of beautiful colors and insulates them from even the harshest conditions in the Arctic Circle. They have light or dark-colored eyes depending on the color of the coat and paired with their erect or semi-erect ears, these dogs have a soft expression that cannot be ignored. A distinctive characteristic of Nordic dogs, Lapphunds have a profusely coated tail that curls to sit on the lower back.
Although the Finnish Lapphund has strong characteristics, they have the sweet temperament that herding breeds are known for. Lapphunds are very sociable and can get along extremely well with children and other pets. Holding up to their herding breed classification, they are widely recognized for their intelligence and willingness to please. Lappies are submissive companions and do not respond well to overbearing training methods. A natural herding instinct does make these hard-working dogs have a tendency to bark but this habit can be diminished with proper training to teach them when it is okay to bark and when it is not. Do not be startled, Finnish Lapphunds have a "startle reflex" that allows them to jump out of the way of speedy reindeer. They are considered to be calm dogs with moderate exercise requirements, needing both mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis. The loving and devoted Lappie can make an excellent companion and an equally great herder for all types of families.