Swedish Lapphunds

The Swedish Lapphund was originally developed by a semi-nomadic people, the Sami of Lappland, to help them herd their reindeer. He is the oldest of Sweden’s nine native breeds and is the national dog. His history as a herding and flock guarding dog make him curious and intrepid, a true dog of the North. The Swedish Lapphund has a thick double coat in brown, black or black and brown, with or without white markings, prick ears, a wedge-shaped head, and a waving tail that curls over his back as he moves. He is a medium- size dog and weighs 33 to 53 pounds. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering bringing a Swedish Lapphund into your home.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

The Swedish Lapphund is lively, loving and alert, making him an excellent family companion and watchdog. He may be aloof towards people he doesn't know. Like most herding breeds and spitz dogs, he barks a lot. If you don't want him to annoy the neighbors, you'll need to teach him when it's okay to bark and when it's not.

The Lapphund is active and intelligent, so he requires daily exercise that will challenge him physically and mentally and prevent him from becoming destructive or noisy in an attempt to entertain himself. Plan to exercise him for 20 to 30 minutes at least once a day. He'll enjoy a long walk or run, going for a hike, or a vigorous game of fetch or flying disc. He performs well in dog sports such as agility, flyball, herding, obedience and rally, and is a sturdy and tireless playmate for kids. If the Lapphund is brought up with cats, he will get along just fine with them.

Swedish Lapphunds respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise and food rewards, but they are independent thinkers. Don't expect unquestioning obedience from them and you won't be disappointed. Keep training sessions short and fun so they don't get bored.

If the presence of Swedish Lapphund dust puppies would make you crazy, reconsider your decision to get this breed. He's not difficult to groom, but he does shed a lot of hair. Brush his double coat weekly to keep it clean and remove dead hair. During spring and fall shedding seasons, daily brushing will help to keep excess hair under control. In addition, trim his nails as needed, brush his teeth, and keep the ears clean to prevent infections.

Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Swedish Lapphund needs to live in the house. It's an unhappy Lapphund who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship. Remember, too, that the Lapphund comes from the far North and is intolerant of heat. Keep him indoors on hot or humid days.

This breed is little seen outside of Sweden and does not have a U. S. breed club. He is registered by the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service but is not yet recognized by that registry. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2006.

The Lapphund is extremely rare in the United States and it is unlikely that you will find one in a shelter.

Health Issues Common to Swedish Lapphunds

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

The Swedish Lapphund is thought to be a healthy breed, however. No specific diseases are said to be associated with them. Because they are so rare, popularity and overbreeding have yet to take a toll on their health, but it's a good idea to ask breeders about the incidence of hip dysplasia and eye problems since those are common in many different breeds.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia Very Low $1,500-$6,000

4 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Swedish Lapphund Puppy

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible.

Puppy or adult, take your Swedish Lapphund to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Swedish Lapphunds

Pet insurance for Swedish Lapphunds costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Swedish Lapphunds are somewhat more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance offers full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Swedish Lapphunds are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Swedish Lapphund is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.