By Jags Goldie Last updated: 27th October 2022

Lapponian Herder


Jags Goldie
Last updated: 27th October 2022

Lapponian Herder or the Reindeer Herder, as the name suggests, is a breed of medium-sized working dogs developed for herding and protecting reindeer. It is characterized by a muscular body that is slightly longer than its height, elongated, moderately wedge-shaped head, medium-length, pricked ears, oval-shaped, brown eyes, slightly tapering muzzle, deep chest, strong-boned, muscular limbs, and a low set tail with thick hairs.

Lapponian Herder Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesLapinporokoira (Finnish), Lapland Reindeer dog, Lapsk Vallhund (Swedish)
CoatMedium-length/long, straight, harsh outer coat, fine and dense undercoat
ColorDark gray, brown, black, head and lower areas of the body are light; white markings may occur
Breed TypePurebred
CategoryHerding, Watchdog, Spitz
Lifespan12-14 years
Weight55-65 lb
Height18-20 in
TemperamentFriendly, calm, docile, lively
Litter Size5-8 puppies
Good with ChildrenYes
BarkingExcessive when working
Country Originated inFinland
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationAKC (FSS), FCI, UKC

Video: Lapponian Herder (Reindeer Herder) Puppies


The indigenous Sami people of Scandinavia used Spitz type working dogs to herd their reindeer and protect them from predators. Such early herding dogs differed in their appearance from today’s Lapponians and were a landrace of herders. During the 1930s, the Finnish and Swedish dog enthusiasts started collecting important information about this landrace type. However, most of the herders disappeared after the Second World War.

To recreate the lost herders, breeders in Finland crossed some herding dogs with Karelian Bear Dogs, producing the short-coated Kukonharjulainen. Other breeders created the heavy-coated Lapponian Herder. More dogs were developed and added to the two groups depending on their appearance. In 1966, these reindeer herding dogs were separated into two varieties based on their coat length – one was named Lapinporokoira, and the other was called Lapphund.

Temperament and Behavior

The Lapponian is an affectionate family companion that is always willing to serve and please its owner. Being a lively breed, it loves to have a job to do. It is well-behaved with children and is patient around other pets in the household with which it was raised.

However, it can be dominant over small animals and try to drive them because of its instinctive tendency to herd. It is naturally alert and thus makes a good watchdog.



The Lapponian Herder may become destructive if it does not get plenty of regular activities. Aside from taking your dog for a long leashed walk, you can also let it run freely inside a fenced yard. You may also train your Lapinporokoira to participate in carting, mushing, flyball, agility, obedience, and herding events.


It does not need much grooming, but its double coat should occasionally be brushed using a firm bristle brush.

Health Problems

Although no health issues specific to the breed have been identified, some individuals may suffer from conditions affecting their bones, joints, hips, eyes, and ears.


Being a smart and obedient breed, the Lapponian Herder responds well to firm and consistent training.

Regular socializing up to an age of 16 weeks in different environments including outings with its people, puppy obedience classes, and frequent visits around places where it can meet new people, will ensure your Lapponian a positive view of the world.

Managing its herding behavior
If you do not intend to raise your Lapponian as a farm dog, you need to discourage its innate herding instinct. Note any stimuli which cause it to display herding behavior and observe any gestures it makes that show it is about to start driving its subject. Make sure to put the leash on and slacken it. Take your dog to a safe yard and expose it to the stimuli that will likely make it herd, such as a pet running past the dog. When it crouches down, a gesture that tells you it is about to start chasing, give the “come” command. If it responds to your instruction and comes toward you, you can then provide lots of treats and praises. If it ignores you, slightly tighten the leash to prevent it from chasing and say “no.”


Being a herder, it needs foods rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbs, including eggs, chicken breasts, tuna, lamb, veggies, and cooked grains. You may also give your Lapponian Herder, a quality dry food on a regular basis.

3 responses to “Lapponian Herder”

  1. Hannah Elmer says:

    I have a lappoinian herder puppy, hes such a sweetie! I love him to death, and he is very good. If i were more firm with him abt training and actualy knew how to train him, he could do awesome tricks. He lives on a small farm for now, but doesnt constantly try to take charge like our german shepard, hes very good and has only ever herded once, when he was very helpful. He has been trained to put logs in a sled while the humans do fyrewood, and its s cute. A human throws in a huge log, and he waddles over under the weight of a small stick and puts that in the sled next to the huge one. His coat is beautiful, and even in the dark his white facail markings are visible. the breed is adapted to cold temperatures, so they might not be the best pick if you live in Florida, but otherwise their great and I highly recommend this breed.

  2. Liina says:

    Lapponian herder isn’t exactly eager to please nor is it automatically that obedient like german shepherds and border collies. Lapponian herder is, and it should be, an independent working dog with a mind of it’s own! They are active and need lot exercise and enrichment but not hyper like border collies.
    It can be hard to motivate a lapponian herder but when you do, they’ll be the best dogs you’ve ever worked with! And only after that they’re obedient and willing to work with you (with you – not for you!) . They still may refuse since they aren’t that willing to serve and please,they need to be respected by their owners too. That’s why positive reinforcement methods with a consistent trainer is the best way to train your porokoira.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our subscribers list to get the latest news, and updates delivered directly in your inbox.