Swedish Lapphund Breed Information and Buying advice

Swedish Lapphund

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Swedish Lapphund?

Quick Swedish Lapphund Facts

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

Swedish Lapphund


The Swedish Lapphund is a popular working dog that has been used for centuries to help nomadic tribes herd reindeer. The breed is known for being intelligent, loyal and extremely patient. In Sweden and neighbouring countries, the Swedish Lapphund is a popular family dog thanks to their affectionate and friendly nature. Lapphunds are known for being great with children and are easy to train. The Swedish Lapphund is a typical spitz-type dog, they are beautiful medium-sized dogs with thick, fluffy, dark-coloured hair. 

Physical Appearance 

The Swedish Lapphund is medium in size with a rectangular shaped body and a wedge-shaped head. The Lapps' muzzles are around a third of the length of their heads. The breed has dark brown eyes that are nicely set apart, a dark nose and short, pointed ears that are set apart and stand erect. Swedish Lapphunds also have a ruff around their neck.

The Swedish Lapphund’s body is longer than it is tall and the breed has a deep chest, strong back and straight front legs. The Lapps have compact oval-shaped paws with strong dark pads and nails. When on the move, the Swedish Lapphund looks light on their feet and can cover a lot of ground quickly. The tail of a Swedish Lapphund is long and busy, it is carried curled over their back when active and dropped down during rest. 

The coat of the Swedish Lapphund is long, straight and dense. Their fur is extremely weather-resistant and can be black or brown in colour. The Swedish Lapphund’s fluffy coat sheds seasonally.  

How big do Swedish Lapphund dogs get? 

  • Height - Males: 45 - 51cm. Females 45 - 48cm.

  • Weight - Males: 19 - 21kg. Females: 19 - 21kg.

Character Traits

If you’re looking for a family dog that is affectionate, active and intelligent, the Swedish Lapphund is a wonderful choice. This beautiful dog loves nothing more than to be around their family, they are great with children and are fast learners. Swedish Lapphunds are quick-witted, receptive and intelligent, they are naturally protective so also make excellent watchdogs. The Swedish Lapphund has an abundance of energy so they best suit a family that loves to hike and go on long, interesting walks each day. 

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs intelligent? Yes.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs affectionate? Yes.

Do Swedish Lapphund dogs have high or low energy levels? High energy levels (5/5).

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs loyal? Yes.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs playful? Yes.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs aggressive? No.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs easy to train? Yes.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs good guard dogs? Yes, they are natural watchdogs.

Ability to Socialise 

The Swedish Lapphund is a faithful companion that is patient, kind and great around children. Lapps are social and get along with other dogs well. The breed will also get along well with any animals they know and have grown up around. However, when it comes to smaller animals that they do not know, the Swedish Lapphund may chase them. The Swedish Lapphund is not at all aggressive but is naturally suspicious of strangers and will keep their distance while barking. 

Do Swedish Lapphund dogs get along with other pets? They get on well with pets they have grown up with but are likely to chase other small animals as they have a high prey drive. 

Do Swedish Lapphund dogs get along with other dogs? Yes.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs good with kids? Yes (5/5).

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs good with strangers? They tend to bark at strangers.

Lifestyle Suitability

Swedish Lapphunds are adaptable dogs that thrive in a family environment as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. This means they are just as happy to live in an apartment as they are to live in the countryside. Although, Swedish Lapphunds do also need access to a secure garden where they can roam and play. Swedish Lapphunds are known for barking a lot but this can be avoided with training. As Swedish Lapphunds form strong ties with their family they hate being left on their own and are much better suited to a household where someone is always at home with them.  

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs good for first-time owners? Yes.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs hypoallergenic? No.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs prone to drooling? No. 

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs a good breed for apartment living? Yes, as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. 

Do  Swedish Lapphund dogs shed a lot? They shed moderately throughout the year with an increase in Spring and Autumn. 

Do  Swedish Lapphund dogs bark a lot? Yes, they are known to be barkers. 

Can Swedish Lapphund dogs be left alone at home? No.

Can Swedish Lapphund dogs handle the heat? No, they can’t handle extreme heat well. 

Can Swedish Lapphund dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes, their coats are weather resistant and can withstand harsh winters.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs sensitive to loud noises? Not particularly. 

General Health & Health Issues

The Swedish Lapphund is generally healthy and has an average life expectancy of 9 - 15 years. Although robust, there are a few conditions that seem to affect the Swedish Lapphund breed including:

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia -  Swedish Lapphunds can suffer from hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Both conditions are painful and impact the hip/ elbow joints causing swelling and stiffness. Dogs with these conditions have less interest in walks and tend to have difficulty moving around, there are multiple treatment options and surgery can help in severe cases. 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy - This is a genetically inherited disease that develops slowly and eventually leads to blindness. This condition is not curable but many dogs adapt well to losing their vision. 

  • Glycogen Storage Disease - Type II is often seen in the Swedish Lapphund, symptoms include vomiting, muscle weakness and cardiac abnormalities. A DNA test can detect the disease. This is often fatal and there is little a vet can do to help reverse the condition. 

  • Hereditary Cataracts - This is the clouding of the lens which impairs the dog’s vision and can cause blindness. Cataracts need to be removed surgically. 

  • Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1) - Ivermectin Sensitivity -  Swedish Lapphunds can have MDR1 and often this is in the form of an ivermectin sensitivity meaning their body doesn’t process this medication as they should. Ivermectin is common in routine worming medication but when given to a dog with MDR1 it can cause neurotoxicity over time. Testing is available to find out if your dog has the MDR1 gene. 

  • Degenerative Myelopathy - This is an inherited condition that affects the nerves in the lower spine and gradually worsens over time. It can cause weak back legs, trouble walking and jumping, incontinence, collapse and leg paralysis. There is no cure for this and it is important to work with a vet to keep your dog happy and comfortable for as long as possible. 

How long do Swedish Lapphund dogs live? - 9 - 15 years

Exercise & Play Time

Historically, the Swedish Lapphund was used for herding reindeer so they would be very active. Even in family environments, the Swedish Lapphund needs at least 2 hours of exercise per day. This breed enjoys long, interesting walks and ideally they should spend lots of time off-lead. Swedish Lapphunds are social so will be happy to meet other dogs on their walks. As the Swedish Lapphund has a thick, weather-resistant coat and thrives in cold weather they will still want to be out and about in winter weather. Swedish Lapphunds are playful characters so access to a secure garden where they can play and burn off energy is appreciated too. 

How much exercise does a Swedish Lapphund dog need? At least 2 hours per day.

Do Swedish Lapphund dogs like water play? They like water during hot weather. 

Nutrition & Feeding

Swedish Lapphunds need to be fed nutritious, high-quality dry food. A Swedish Lapphund puppy will need between 185 - 300g of food each day depending on their age and build, this food should be split into 3 or 4 smaller portions and offered throughout the day. This is just an estimate, every dog is unique so it is important to have a personal dietary plan made. There are many factors that impact how much food each individual dog should consume in a day, for example, their size, weight and activity level.

Are Swedish Lapphund dogs prone to weight gain? Not particularly. 

How much should I feed a Swedish Lapphund puppy? Between 185 - 300g of high-quality dry food depending on the puppy’s age and build. 

How much should I feed an adult Swedish Lapphund dog? Between 200 - 305g of high-quality dry food depending on the dog’s weight and activity. 

Care & Maintenance

Grooming: The fluffy coat of the Swedish Lapphund needs to be brushed a few times a week to prevent knots and stay on top of their shedding. This shedding will increase in Spring and Autumn when daily brushing will be necessary to remove the dead hair. It’s important to check the Swedish Lapphund’s ears and teeth regularly too and clean them when necessary. 

Emotional Care: Swedish Lapphunds bond strongly with their family so don’t like being left alone. They are a high energy breed that needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation each day to keep them happy. If Swedish Lapphunds are left alone or don’t get enough exercise they can become bored and may begin to show destructive behaviours around the house as a way of relieving their stress and frustration.  

History of the Swedish Lapphund

The Swedish Lapphund is a highly prized herding dog that has been used in the north for centuries. The Lapphund was used by the Sami nomadic people to herd and guard reindeer. The Swedish Lapphund could be one of the oldest European breeds. 

Swedish Lapphunds were almost lost in the 1940s but breed enthusiasts kept the breed going. This has meant the Swedish Lapphund gene pool is very low and the breed remains rare today. Lapps are popular in Sweden and other Scandanavian countries but are lesser-known in the rest of the world. 

The Swedish army uses the Swedish Lapphund as search and rescue dogs; some Lapphunds have also been trained to hunt for truffles. The Swedish Lapphund is a versatile breed that has become a popular choice as a family pet. 

Interesting Facts About Swedish Lapphund Dogs

  • The Swedish Lapphund is one of Sweden’s national dogs.  

  • This is a very rare breed.

  • The Swedish Lapphund comes from Northern Scandinavia.

  • Their bark is unusually high-pitched. 

  • The Swedish Lapphund is a spitz breed.

Getting a Swedish Lapphund Puppy

If you’re ready for the next step, take a look at our buying guide for advice and information on finding and buying a puppy. There are many scams and bad practices out there so avoid these by staying informed and never pay a deposit without first meeting the puppy. Take a look at our Swedish Lapphund puppies page to find available puppies in your area. At Puppies, all of the breeders have been vetted to ensure they are responsible. 

How much does a Swedish Lapphund cost to buy? - £1,000 - £3000

How much does a Swedish Lapphund cost to feed? £30 per month

How much does insurance for a Swedish Lapphund cost? -  £50 per month

As Swedish Lapphunds are rare, you may have to join a waiting list before getting a puppy. An alternative option is to consider rescue and adoption. The following associations may be able to help you rehome a Swedish Lapphund:

Rehome a Swedish Lapphund with the Dogs Trust