By Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian)Dr. Sergey Uhanov Last updated: 19th October 2023

Swedish Lapphund


Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian) Dr. Sergey Uhanov
Last updated: 19th October 2023

The Swedish Lapphund, or Lappie, gets its name from the Lapland region comprising northern Sweden, Finland, Norway, and western Russia, where this ancient breed originated. It is lively, energetic, and intelligent, used for centuries as a hunter and guard dog. This member of the Spitz family has characteristic pointed ears, a scruffed collar, and a dark, shaggy coat. It is an affectionate and playful companion, always eager to be with its family.

Quick Information

Other namesLappie, Swedish Lappie, Svensk Lapphund
CoatLong, dense, straight, and weatherproof double-coat
ColorBlack, brown, or bear-brown with white markings allowed on the chest, feet, and tail
Breed typePurebred
Group Spitz, Herding
Life expectancy12 – 14 years
Height16 – 20 inches
Weight30 – 45 pounds
Litter Size4-6 puppies
Behavioral Characteristics Affectionate, lively, kind, versatile, and energetic
Good with children Yes
Barking Tendency High; they are vocal dogs
Climate compatibilityModerate; prefers colder climates
Apartment compatibilityModerate; they like being indoors but need outdoor playtime
Do they shedThey shed moderately throughout the year, with heavy seasonal shedding
Are they hypoallergenicNo
How much do they cost$1,500 – $2,000
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationFCI, UKA, AKC, SKC

History and Origin

The Swedish Lapphund is one of the oldest dog breeds, with evidence dating back nearly seven thousand years. It is believed to have descended from the ancient Arctic wolf. Initially used as a guarding and hunting dog by the Sami tribe of Lapland, it evolved into herding reindeer. Its loud bark was preferred, as it alerted the presence of predators and was familiar to the herds of reindeer. It was the first breed to be included by the Swedish Kennel Club in 1893. By the mid-20th century, numbers declined, almost resulting in extinction. However, dedicated breeding programs saved the species, and in 1944, the FCI officially recognized it, followed by the UKC in 2006. Still, it is a relatively rare breed, with only a couple thousand registered worldwide.

Temperament and Personality

These dogs are playful, loving, and social. Like most Lappies, they have an “off switch,” content to laze indoors after burning off their energy. Their hunting instincts can make them independent and stubborn, leading to guardedness and excessive barking. However, they are eager to please, making training easy for experienced owners. They are friendly and get along well with children and other dogs. Their abilities as guard gods and watchdogs are well-documented. Incredibly attached to their families, these pets should not be left alone for long to avoid separation anxiety. They desire always to remain close to their master and love being part of family time. They are highly adaptable and can thrive both indoors and outdoors, provided they receive adequate exercise and attention.



This medium-to-high-energy breed requires daily hour-long physical and mental workouts to stay fit and healthy. It loves to run around, hike, and play when out but can also relax indoors. Camping and long car rides are great ways to include your pet in family activities. It is not bothered by bad weather, so be prepared to go on long walks, be it rain or sunshine. Exercise in the morning or after sunset during summer to avoid overheating. Puzzles, toys, and tricks are recommended to provide mental stimulation. It excels in sports such as obedience, rally, tracking, and agility trials. Also, it finds use as a search and rescue dog.


Brush their coats thoroughly a few times a week to keep them clean. Bathe them only when necessary. You might prefer using a broom or vacuum to manage their seasonal shedding or “blowing coat.”  Some also get their pets professionally groomed during this period. Avoid shaving their hair unless medically advised. Check the ears for infections, trim their nails, and brush their teeth regularly.

Health Problems

Despite generally being a healthy breed, they can suffer from hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and diabetes mellitus. Buying from responsible breeders can help eliminate the risk for most of these ailments.


The diet should be fixed, considering a medium-sized, high-energy dog. Choose high-quality food, either homemade or store-bought. Give your dog treats in moderation and split meals into two feedings to prevent obesity. Avoid giving them sugar. You can give them natural chews like pig ears and beef skin.


Though primarily working dogs, they make excellent companions and family dogs with the correct training and socialization.

Socialization: They do well with reward-based training, such as play, praise, and treats. However, they are independent, free-spirited, and may not always respond to commands. They get bored quickly, so keep sessions short and avoid repetition. Their hunting instincts may cause them to run off while playing, so ensure outdoor areas are fenced. Puppy kindergarten is a fantastic option for starting socialization early in life.

Obedience: Training a recall is vital to avoid them chasing after scents while outside. Clicker training is an excellent method for encouraging good behavior in your pet.

Interesting Facts

  • It is Sweden’s national dog and one of the nine breeds native to it.
  • It is said to be Santa Claus’s favorite dog in its country for its prowess at guarding reindeer.


1. What is the difference between the Swedish and Finnish Lapphund?

Despite having the same ancestors, they differ primarily in size and color. The Finnish Lapphund is comparatively smaller, lives slightly longer, and comes in more colors.

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