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.
|Other Names||Lapinporokoira (Finnish), Lapland Reindeer dog, Lapsk Vallhund (Swedish)|
|Coat||Medium-length/long, straight, harsh outer coat, fine and dense undercoat|
|Color||Dark gray, brown, black, head and lower areas of the body are light; white markings may occur|
|Category||Herding, Watchdog, Spitz|
|Temperament||Friendly, calm, docile, lively|
|Litter Size||5-8 puppies|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Barking||Excessive when working|
|Country Originated in||Finland|
|Competitive Registration/Qualification Information||AKC (FSS), FCI, UKC|
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.
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.
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.