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Breed -

Around From 
Original Country/Kingdom 

Finnish Lapphund

Northern Nordic Region

Breed History

The original Finnish Lapphunds were the helper dogs of a tribe of semi-nomadic people, the Sami, in Lapland (the northern region of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and in part, Russia). Archeological digs in Lapland have unearthed remains of Lapponian dogs estimated as old as 7000 BC. There is even the existence of old cave drawings depicting this type of dog. Over hundreds of years, the originally nomadic Sami culture evolved into a more sedentary existence, which revolved around the keeping of reindeer herds. At the same time, the dogs evolved from the hunter/protector dogs of a nomadic tribe, into the herding dogs needed to help maintain the reindeer. Their job was to keep the herds together. With the arrival of the snowmobile, the use of dogs became less and less necessary. Now dogs are rarely used on reindeer herds. The breed still retains a strong herding instinct, which has been demonstrated on sheep in the United States and has been seen on our dogs that have earned their Herding Instinct Certifications.

Around 1940, in Finland, interest in saving the breed began to grow. Dogs belonging to the original Sami people were collected with the intent of establishing a breeding program. The first breed standard was accepted by the Finnish Kennel Club in 1945, with the breed being called the Lapponian Shepherd Dog. The original standard included both a shorter coated dog and a longer coated dog, which I have been told were often born in the same litters. In 1967, the long coated dogs were given a separate standard, and called the Lapinkoira, which is translated as Finnish Lapphund, while the short coated dogs were called the Lapinporokoira, which is translated as Lapponian Herder. The standard was revised in Finland in 1996 and an English translation was accepted by the FCI, Federation Cynologique Internationale in 1999. The Finnish Lapphund has become very popular as a pet in Finland, and in 2005 was the third most popular breed in the country, with registrations of over 1000 puppies for the year.

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