Information about the Swedish Lapphund

The Swedish Lapphund is a breed of dog of the Spitz type from Sweden, one of three Lapphund breeds developed from a type of dog used by the Sami people for herding and guarding their reindeer. The expression “the black beauty of Norrland” is very often attributed to the Swedish lapphund, which is most likely one of Sweden’s oldest breeds. The Swedish name of the breed is Svensk lapphund.

The Swedish lapphund has its origins among the ancient hunting tribes of northern Scandinavia, from the land that the Sámi people call Sapmi.

One assumes that the lapphund followed the first Sámi, who migrated to Scandinavia in the neolithic era, about 9,000 BCE.

In Sámi mythology it is said that the lapphund sought the post of worker amongst the Sámi people in exchange that it would always be well-treated.

The lapphund has been used mainly for hunting and guarding, but studies have also shown that during the Stone Age, dogs were kept as pets. When the Sámi people started to keep domestic reindeer in the mid-18th century, the lapphund’s repertoire was expanded to include herding.

Historians and archaeologists have long agreed that the Swedish lapphund has an ancient ancestry, a belief supported by the fossil record. Advancing gene technology has also shown that the breed is old and carries some genetic origins unique or very rare among currently existing breeds.

Hard work in the barren landscape of northern Scandinavia has created a very resilient breed. 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.

Like all spitz dogs in general, the Swedish lapphund demands a stable upbringing and both regular mental as physical stimulation to perform at its best. As a working dog they show their versatility in a number of different fields. Many compete with success in such widely different disciplines as obedience, dog agility trials, working contest, freestyle/heelwork to music, Rally obedience, and blood tracking. The Swedish Lapphund can also participate in herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Lapphunds exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

The breed also has a number of certificated search and rescue dogs and army dogs. The Swedish lapphund is also a very multifaceted hunting dog, mainly used for hunting elk and forest birds, but also deer, wild boar and bear. It is also a skilled tracking dog in searching for wounded or killed game. In addition to their versatility as working animals, the breed is also extremely popular as a competitive show dog.

In Sweden dogs have their temperament tested by a system called mentalbeskrivning. Results for the Swedish lapphund show a curious, intrepid, and friendly breed which is playful and non-aggressive. They are easy trained, strong, and very devoted to their family. Early training is essential to prevent excessive barking.

The Swedish lapphund is a typical spitz. It is rectangularly built, slightly under medium size with a good carriage. It moves effortless with drive, light, springy and covering ground. Despite that they are gifted with a dense and long, shining coat, they are very easy to groom. Some brushings when the coat is shedding is enough to keep the coat in good condition.The special coat does not smell doggy and is cleans itself from dirt. So it is really easy maintained. The coat colour is black or bear brown, sometimes with white marks on tail, chest and feet. It has a profuse double coat with hair standing straight out from the body, undercoat is dense and very finely curled.