AKC Dog Breeds: Swedish Lapphund

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 16-20  inches  Weight: 40-45 pounds  Color: black or bear brown, or a combination of the two

The Swedish Lapphund was originally used for herding reindeer; today they are used mainly as companions or for sheepherding in their native country, as well as being seen in the show ring. The Swedish Lapphund is an ancient breed in existence for thousands of years. It is a natural breed believed to be a descendent of the ancient Artic wolf. In fact a 7,000 year old skeleton found in Norway closely resemble today's Lapphunds. The Swedish Lapphund was originally used for hunting and as a guardian by the Sami people of Lappland and later served as a herding dog of Sami reindeer. They are mostly used today as a companion dog although in some, the herding instinct is very strong. The breed is not common outside its home country of Sweden. However if you do get a Lapp, they can be a very independent but loyal companion and lover of the family. The Swedish Lapphund is one of the national breeds of Sweden and was the first dog registered (1893) by the Swedish Kennel Club. There are approximately 1200 Swedish Lapphunds in the world today with the majority found in Sweden. The Swedish Lapphund has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since April 2007.

General Appearance
Hard work in the barren landscape of northern Scandinavia has created a very resilient Swedish Lapphund. The shifting climate demands a weatherproof coat that is easy to maintain. The rough terrain and the varied work demand a dog with endurance, agility, intelligence and independence. The resulting Swedish Lapphund is a well-rounded working dog, well suited both for work as a farm, hunting, and herding dog, and as a pet. A typical spitz in stature, the Lapphund is rectangular in shape and has a substantial and weatherproof coat. The top coat is thick and wooly, the hairs of which should be erect and the undercoat dense and curly and made up of finer hairs. Their tails curl over the back like all the nordic-spitz tails do.

As all spitz type dogs, Swedish Lapphund like to please but also like to do things their own way! Gentle training is needed. The Swedish Lapphund is a friendly, outgoing and devoted dog. They are protective of their homes; no intruder will ever go unheard. Lapphunds get on extremely well with children, make good family pets and like to be included in all family activities. However if they are left to there own devices they can be very vocal, and if their minds are not exercised (similar to border collie) then they can be destructive and are known to enjoy digging. They are very tolerant of children. Although cute and cuddly, the Swedish Lapphund has developed a barking habit due to its previous use. Lapphunds were supposed to bark all the time in order to differentiate themselves from silent, threatening animals that might've come around the reindeer. Therefore, they do bark a lot and potential owners should be warned. intelligent, trainable and friendly, the Swedish Lapphund is a rare find, literally!


Grooming a Swedish Lapphund is very similar to a Samoyed as on appearance they look like a black miniature. A daily brush is essential to maintain a shiny coat and to maintain the bond between you and your friend. As with Samoyeds this breed has a double coat and the undercoat is shed twice a year. The coat appears semi waterproof and as such dirt will brush off when the coat is dry. The Lapphund has a lovely shiny coat and when groomed regularly is something to be proud of.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

There are so few Swedish Lapphund dogs in the country that there are not many documented problems. PRA has surfaced in their native Sweden and hip dysplasia has been reported there too. They have a life expectancy of  12-13 years.

Activity Level

The Swedish Lapphund needs excessive exercise in order to keep in shape. They are very physical dogs and require a great amount of hard work every day. Typically the Swedish Lapphund should be walked for 3 hours a day if they are kept in the city where no herding or guarding jobs are available.


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