Finnish Lapphund Breed Information and Buying advice

Finnish Lapphund

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Finnish Lapphund?

Quick Finnish Lapphund Facts

Average Size of Adult
Medium (3/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
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Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Pastoral (3/8)
No (2/2)

Finnish Lapphund (Lapinkoira)


The Finnish Lapphund is a spitz type dog that was traditionally used in Northern Finland to guard and herd reindeer. In addition to being excellent working dogs, the Finnish Lapphund makes wonderful companions too. Finnish Lapphunds are hard working, friendly and gentle. They are well suited to cold climates with a thick and impressive double coat. 

Physical Appearance 

Finnish Lapphunds are medium in size with a strong build and lots of fur. Finnish Lapphunds have a broad head with a slightly rounded forehead and a soft expression. Their muzzles are short and the Finnish Lapphunds nose matches their coat colour. Their medium-sized ears can be erect or semi-erect and they flicker when the Finnish Lapphund is on alert. 

The long neck of the Finnish Lapphund is covered in a mane of hair. Finnish Lapphunds have muscular bodies with a well defined chest. The long tail of the Finnish Lapphund is also covered in hair and is carried curved either to one side or over the dog’s back. When resting the Finnish Lapphund will hold their tail down. 

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Finnish Lapphund is their coat. They have a profile coat which includes a straight outer coat and a short, dense undercoat. The Finnish Lapphund comes in many colours including black, brown, cream, red, sable, tricolour and white. 

How big do Finnish Lapphund dogs get?

  • Height - Males: 46 - 52cm, Females: 41 - 47cm

  • Weight - Males: 15 - 24kg, Females: 15 - 24kg

Character Traits

Finnish Lapphunds are high energy dogs that are loyal, faithful and eager to please. Although they tend to bond strongly with one person Finnish Lapphunds remain loyal and affectionate to all members of the family. Their intelligence and willingness to please makes Finnish Lapphunds easy to train and love to play. The Finnish Lapphund is a people-orientated breed and is a dependable watchdog that will alert you to strangers.  

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs intelligent? Yes

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs affectionate? Yes

Do Finnish Lapphund dogs have high or low energy levels? High energy levels

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs loyal? Yes

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs playful? Yes

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs aggressive? No

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs easy to train? Yes, they are very easy to train.

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs good guard dogs? Yes, they are natural watchdogs as they are always alert and aware of their surroundings. A Finnish Lapphund is quick to alert their owner of something they are suspicious of.

Ability to Socialise 

The Finnish Lapphund is a friendly dog breed with a social nature. They are gentle and patient with children and get on well with other dogs. Due to the high prey drive of the Finnish Lapphund they have a tendency to chase animals that are smaller than them or run away from them. This means they should be kept away from smaller pets and care should be taken when walking a Finnish Lapphund in areas where there is wildlife or livestock. Finnish Lapphund are not good with strangers, they are not aggressive but they are wary and will bark at people they don’t know. This is one of the traits that makes them an excellent watchdog. 

Do Finnish Lapphund dogs get along with other pets? No, the high prey drive of the Finnish Lapphund means there is a high risk that they will see smaller pets as prey. 

Do Finnish Lapphund dogs get along with other dogs? Yes, they are friendly and get on well with other dogs. 

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs good with kids? Yes, Finnish Lapphund are excellent with children of all ages.

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs good with strangers? They tend to be wary of strangers and will keep their distance and bark.

Lifestyle Suitability

Finnish Lapphunds are best suited to homes where their owners are active and will be with them all the time. The loveable and obedient nature of the Finnish Lapphund make them an excellent breed choice for first time owners. Finnish Lapphunds are lively dogs but are happy to live in an apartment as long as they get regular exercise. However, they do tend to bark a lot and are sensitive to loud noises so are better suited to homes in quiet areas. These dogs are best suited to cold climates as they do not handle hot weather well. 

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs good for first-time owners? Yes, they are ideal for first-time owners. Finnish Lapphunds are people-orientated, gentle and friendly. 

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs hypoallergenic? No

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs prone to drooling? No

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs a good breed for apartment living? Yes, they are highly adaptable and as long as they get enough physical and mental stimulation are happy living in an apartment. 

Do  Finnish Lapphund dogs shed a lot? Yes, they shed heavily throughout the year.

Do  Finnish Lapphund dogs bark a lot? Yes, these dogs often like the sound of their own voices. 

Can Finnish Lapphund dogs be left alone at home? No, Finnish Lapphunds can suffer from separation anxiety. 

Can Finnish Lapphund dogs handle the heat? No, they are better suited to cold climates.

Can Finnish Lapphund dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes, they are well adapted to handle cold weather.

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs sensitive to loud noises? Yes

General Health & Health Issues

The average lifespan of a Finnish Lapphund is between 12 - 14 years and is considered one of Finland’s the healthiest breeds. They are generally healthy and rarely suffer from allergies, ear or eye inflammations or eczema. However, Finnish Lapphunds are known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues including: 

Elbow dysplasia - this condition is when one or both elbows develop abnormally causing pain and swelling. This is often hereditary and can be treated with pain relief, physiotherapy, weight control, exercise control and sometimes surgery. 

Hip dysplasia - this is a painful condition that causes abnormal development of one or both hip joints. It is often inherited and usually affects medium - large breeds. Treatment includes weight control, pain relief and careful exercise. Some dogs may require surgery. 

Pompe Disease - this is a progressive disorder that causes glycogen to accumulate in the body causing the dog to develop a dilated esophagus and enlarged heart. Dogs can be diagnosed through testing, there is no treatment but supportive care can be offered. 

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) - this is a slowly developing disease that leads to blindness. The condition is inherited and cannot be cured. Many dogs are able to adapt well to blindness. 

Ivermectin sensitivity - Finnish Lapphunds have been seen to display a sensitivity to ivermectin, a common anti-parasitic drug. Screening can detect the mutated MDR1 gene so you know if your dog has this condition before drugs are administered. 

Hereditary Cataracts -  this is cloudiness in the eyes that reduces vision and eventually causes blindness. Cataracts can be removed if necessary but many dogs cope with them well so they do not require removal.

How long do Finnish Lapphund dogs live? 12 - 14 years

Exercise & Play Time

Finnish Lapphunds are energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise each day. A Finnish Lapphund needs at least an hour walk every day and also needs a lot of mental stimulation. Finnish Lapphunds like to spend time off lead but be aware of their high prey drive and only take them off lead if it is safe to do so. Leisurely walks are best for Finnish Lapphunds as they have thick coats and can overheat quickly. 

This breed gets bored easily so you can expect lots of playtime with your Finnish Lapphund. They also do well when participating in dog sports as Finnish Lapphunds like to learn new things and be challenged. 

How much exercise does a Finnish Lapphund dog need? At least 60 minutes per day

Do Finnish Lapphund dogs like water play? No, they rarely like water and swimming. 

Nutrition & Feeding

Finnish Lapphunds are healthy dogs that don’t have any specific dietary requirements. They do well when fed high-quality dry food. A Finnish Lapphund puppy needs between 175 - 315g of high-quality dry food per day, the actual amount depends on the age and build of the puppy. As this is only an estimate and every dog is unique it is important to have a personal dietary plan made to ensure your Finnish Lapphund is getting the nutrition they need. 

Are Finnish Lapphund dogs prone to weight gain? No

How much should I feed a Finnish Lapphund puppy? Between 175 - 315g of high quality dry food per day depending on the age and build of the puppy

How much should I feed an adult Finnish Lapphund dog? Between 195 - 320g of high quality dry food per day depending on the dog’s weight and activity level. 

Care & Maintenance

Grooming: Due to the thick coat and heavy shedding of the Finnish Lapphund they have high grooming needs. Finnish Lapphunds need to be brushed daily to remove dead hair and prevent knots from forming. Their ears and teeth should also be checked and cleaned on a regular basis and their nails need to be trimmed periodically. 

Emotional Care: The Finnish Lapphund doesn’t like to be left alone so they are best suited to families where someone will be at home with them. Finnish Lapphunds are full of energy and love to be busy, they are easy to train and eager to please so you’ll spend more time playing and having fun than training them. If the Finnish Lapphund doesn’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation they quickly become bored and this can lead to destructive behaviours.

History of the Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is an ancient breed that is believed to have descended from dogs that were around in 7000 BC. Originally these dogs would’ve been used for guarding and hunting but the role of the Finnish Lapphund shifted to herding reindeer. The breed was almost lost due to distemper in Finland and war. 

The Finnish Lapphund was recognised as a breed in 1967, before then the breed fell under the umbrella of a Finnish herding dog. The Finnish Lapphund was first seen in the UK in the 90s and although the breed remains relatively unknown in the UK they are around. Despite the Finnish Lapphund being largely unknown across the world they remain one of the most popular choices of dog breed across Scandinavian countries. 

Interesting Facts About Finnish Lapphund Dogs

  • The Finnish Lapphund was traditionally used for herding reindeer

  • The breed is able to withstand freezing temperatures thanks to their thick coat 

  • Finnish Lapphunds are rare in the UK but very popular in Finland 

  • The DNA of Finnish Lapphunds places them in the d1 subclade, something that only occurs in Northern Scandinavian dog breeds

Getting a Finnish Lapphund Puppy

Getting a dog is an exciting time, take a look at our buying guide for advice on finding and buying a puppy. It is easy to find dogs online but be aware of scams and make sure you buy your puppy from a responsible breeder. All the breeders on Puppies have been vetted to ensure they are responsible. Take a look at our Finnish Lapphund page to find puppies available in your area. 

How much does a Finnish Lapphund cost to buy? £1000 - £2000

How much does a Finnish Lapphund cost to feed?  £40 per month

How much does insurance for a Finnish Lapphund cost?  £20 - £45 per month depending on coverage

There may be long waiting lists for Finnish Lapphund puppies in the UK. An alternative option is to adopt a Finnish Lapphund in need. Speak to your local dog rescue centre or contact one of the associations below: 

Adopt a Finnish Lapphund with the Dogs Trust