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Lapponian Herder
Updated on August 16, 2022
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Lapponian Herder

The Lapponian Herder is a lesser-known breed that is known for its fun-loving personality and independence.

They are also called:

  • the Lapp reindeer dog
  • Lapland reindeer dog,
  • Lapponian Herder Lapinporokoira

They are smart dogs that are easy to train because they love to please their humans. They're a high-energy herding breed, so they aren't the right breed for all families. But if you have time to train and room to run, the Lapponian Herder is a great choice of dog.

Lapponian Herder 2

Aside from being known to herd reindeer, Lapponian Herders are sporting dogs.

They love to work, and as their breed name indicates, they are great herders. Like many other dogs of working breeds, if you provide them with the direction, activity, and leadership they need, they make fantastic, well-behaved dogs.

Fail to train them correctly or provide them with enough physical stimulation, and you could have your hands full with an anxious, difficult-to-handle dog. 

The breed originally came from the Arctic region of Lapland, which includes parts of Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. They were reindeer herding dogs that are believed to have evolved from prehistoric dogs.

A large portion of the breed was lost during World War II, but breeders in Finland and Sweden recreated the breed and several other similar dogs.

Breed standards began to stabilize in the 1950s and 1960s. After some co-mingling with other herders, the Finnish Kennel Club recognized the Lapponian Herder as an independent breed in 1966. It wasn't until 2017 that the American Kennel Club recognized Lapponian Herders.


Lapponian Herders are relatively easy to train.

They are energetic and hard-working, but they love to make their owners happy.

The breed loves participating in agility, rally, dock diving, and herding trials. If you don't have a traditional reason to have your LH herd, you can get your dog active through recreational or competition activities that include herding.

These dogs are very smart and loyal

They have an independent nature but tend to form very close bonds with their immediate family.

Like most breeds, you should begin training your Lapponian Herder as early as possible. Early socialization when they are young makes for a friendlier, less anxious dog.

The breed tends to be dominant over smaller animals and try to herd them, but you can cut down on this instinct with proper training when young.

The Lapponian Herder responds well to positive reinforcement in training, such as treats and praise. They usually do well in organized obedience classes, and the time spent around other people and animals at a young age is good for them.

Using a gentle, consistent, and fun training approach almost always results in a well-behaved LH dog.

Lapponian Herders will herd, no matter how much training you do. It's an instinct, and the best you can do is manage it. You can discourage the instinct when they are young by keeping them leashed.

If you have a fenced yard and prefer not to use the leash, interrupt herding behavior by giving them a command when they crouch and give chase to other animals or people. 

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Lapponian Herders are friendly and make great family dogs.

They are an active breed and get along well with young children but will try to herd them when they are playing. This behavior could include barking or nipping at the legs of kids.

The breed is territorial and will be wary of strangers but is friendly with known people.

They bore easily and need activities to keep them occupied. They'll get noisy or destructive if they don't have enough physical and/or mental stimulation.

These dogs are not overly active but do need to burn off their supply of energy every day, or they'll get restless.

Appearance & Care

Lapponian Herders have a tail that curls over their backs and an inquisitive facial expression.

As a short-coated dog, the Lapponian is a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming, but their medium-length fur does need a weekly brushing. They are seasonal shedders and need daily grooming during these phases.

Baths are usually only needed during shedding season or when they've gotten into something outside. They are not a hypoallergenic breed.


This is a medium-sized dog breed with muscular bodies and smaller bones.

As Spitz-type dogs, they have a medium-length dense coat that is suitable to their original Arctic climate. Coat colors can be black, dark brown, or dark grey with a lighter colored undercoat.

Most have black noses and lips and black-rimmed eyes. Most have brown eyes. Their expressions will be some variation of alert and lively or devoted based on their gender.


Weekly brushing is required most of the time, with daily brushing needed during shedding season. This helps keep the coat in good condition and allows new hair growth. Brushing also spreads the naturally occurring oils through the hair to keep it shiny and dirt-resistant. Nails should be monitored for clipping based on how often your dog is walked on concrete.

This breed requires minimal grooming efforts, but it's important to keep their coats brushed. Grooming is a great opportunity to bond with your pet and should be enjoyable for both of you. Done regularly, brushing should only take a few minutes. If it's been a while since your pet was brushed, it could take up to an hour to brush through the tangles and/or matting.


Unlike other dog breeds, the Lapponian Herder is still thought about as primitive. Because it has been kept healthy, there are no distinguished health issues associated with this breed. 

However, despite being cared for throughout the ages, there are some health conditions to look out for. These include: 

A Lapponian Herder’s life span averages 12 to 14 years.


High-quality dog food is enough for Lapponian Herders. It will ensure a balanced diet. You may mix it with water, canned food, or broth. 

Lapponian Herders might like cooked eggs, vegetables, fruits, and cottage cheese. However, these foods should not be more than 10% of their daily food allowance. 

Avoid giving Lapponian Herders table scraps because doing so may cause vitamin and mineral imbalances and teeth and bone problems. Remember not to overfeed them because it can lead to obesity, worsening their predisposition for hip dysplasia.

How Do I Know If I Have a Lapponian Herder?

The only way to know for sure if your dog is a Lapponian Herder is a DNA test.

If you haven't purchased your dog from a reputable breeder, it might be a good idea to use a dog DNA test to learn more about his ancestry. This way, you'll identify if Lapponian Herder is his breed or one of the breeds in your dog's lineage.

You might assume you have a Lapponian Herder or other breed based on your dog's appearance or disposition. If your dog looks like a Lapponian Herder and has herding tendencies, there's a chance there's LH blood in him, but you can only know for sure with a DNA test.

One of the main reasons an experienced dog owner wants to determine a dog's breed or mix is adjusting training. They also want to maintain the qualities of that particular breed.

Many dog owners see herding behavior in their dog without understanding its instinct to behave this way.

They might assume their dog isn't good around children or other animals, when in fact, he's great with both but has a natural drive to herd them. If you recognize the unique qualities of a certain breed, you can adjust your training techniques to accommodate or deter these behaviors.

Lapponian Herders are fantastic dogs for families that can provide them with exercise, mental stimulation, and consistent training. They are loyal and eager to please, and if incorporated into a family in the right way, become a friend for life.

For more information about your Lapponian Herder, two kennel clubs, the Finnish Kennel Club and United Kennel Club (UKC), are valuable resources. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has the breed standards for the Lapponian Herder.

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  1. “Lapponian Herder Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club,
  2. “Lapponian Herder | Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.”,
Kelly Jamrozy
Kelly Jamrozy
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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