Finnish lapphund

Finnish lapphund.
Finnish lapphund.

The Finnish Lapphund is a hardy, easy going, medium-size breed of Spitz type. Traditionally it has been used for herding reindeer. Although it is one of the most popular dog breeds in its native country, Finland, it is not very numerous outside of the Nordic countries.


Genetically, the breed falls into a haplogroup sub-clade called d1 by researchers, and it is only found in Scandinavia. It is the result of a female wolf-male dog hybridization that has occurred post-domestication.[4][5] The northern Scandinavian subclade d2 originated 480-3,000 years before present and is found in all Sami-related breeds: Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund, Lapponian Herder, Jamthund and Norwegian Elkhound. The maternal wolf sequence that contributed to them has not been matched across Eurasia[6] and its branch is phylogenetically rooted in the same sequence as the 33,000 year-old Altai dog (not a direct ancestor).[7]

The breed has its origins as a reindeer herder of the Sami people. The Sami are an indigenous people residing in areas now divided between Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Russia. [1] Traditionally, reindeer herding has been very important for the Sami people, and they are still involved in herding today. The Sami have used herding dogs for centuries, and these dogs were typically long in body, somewhat rectangular in shape, with long hair and a straight tail that would curl up over the back when the dog was moving.[1] Finnish Lapphunds are the most similar to the long haired dogs developed by the Sami people in order to assist them with herding, often favored as winter herders for the reindeer. [2]

Norwegians and Swedes were among the first to consider standardizing the dogs of Lapland prior to World War II.[3] In the post-war years, the dogs of Lapland were at serious risk due to distemper outbreak. [4] Swedish Lapphund breeders today believe that their breed, and other Lapphund breeds, were in serious danger of extinction. [5] A standard for the related Swedish Lapphund was adopted in 1944 in FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), and the Finnish Lapphund standard soon followed.

In Finland, the first breed standards were set in 1945 by the Finnish Kennel Club, who called the breed the Lappish Herder, also known as Kukonharjunlainen. It is believed that these dogs were the result of a cross between the Karelian Bear Dog and the reindeer dogs, and had short hair. In the 1950s the Finnish Kennel Association (the second major kennel association in Finland) created the first breed standard for the Lapponian herder. Acceptable colors for this breed were black, bear-brown and white.[1]

In the 1960s, the various Finnish kennel associations were unified, and in 1966 the breeds were reassessed. This resulted in the formal definition of two breeds: the Lapponian herder with a shorter coat was defined in 1966, and the longer coated Finnish Lapphund was defined in 1967.[1]

At about the same time, technology-enabled changes in the lifestyle of the Sami herders. Previously, the longer-haired dogs were generally preferred for herding, but with the advent of snowmobiles, the preference started to change in favour of the shorter haired Lapponian herder.[1] However, popularity did not die for the longer-haired breed, which was ranked the sixth most popular companion animal in Finland, ahead of the Finnish Spitz (ranked ten), and the Karelian Bear Dog (ranked 17). [6]

The first American litter was born in 1988. In 1994, the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club(UKC), the second largest kennel club in America, in the Northern Group. [7] The breed was accepted into the AKC Miscellaneous Group on July 1, 2009 with hopes of full breed recognition in 2011.[8] The Finnish Lapphund Club of America (FLCA) is the parent organization in the United States.

The breed was first introduced to the United Kingdom in 1989 and is represented by the Finnish Lapphund Club of Great Britain. It was introduced to Australia and Canada in 1995 and is accepted by the New Zealand Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club. In Canada, its parent club is the Finnish Lapphund Club of Canada. (Wikipedia)

A list of all the dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club:

























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