The Swedish Lapphunds (Svensk lapphund) are mainly known as reindeer herders but they were originally used as hunting dogs.
The rearing of reindeer as a business is relatively new. Most probably it was the Sami tribes that long ago brought the dogs with them to the northern parts of Scandinavia.
The authentic Lapphund was facing extinction in the beginning of the 20th century. The number of true to type Lapphunds diminished and the breed was saved thanks to an honourable lady down in the County of Småland. She searched for survivors of the true Lapphunds and re-established the breed at her estate Torne during the 1940s and onwards.
As a matter of curiosity – the first dog ever to be registered with the Swedish Kennel Club in 1893 was a Lapphund. The drawing of him shows a black, long coated and very typical Lapphund, but with a stumpy tail!
The Swedish Lapphund, like so many other spitz breeds, are watchdogs as well as devoted family-dogs. The breed is robust and very hardy even when working up in the snowy mountains. It is easily trained and always eager to work.
The Lapphund is still used as a reindeer herder in some places but modern equipment like snowmobiles have reduced the need for dogs. The breed is nowadays mainly kept as a companion dog.
Appearance and size
The coat is profuse, standing out from the body and always black in colour. Nuances of a rusty or sunburned brownish colour is typical as is old undercoat becoming almost bear-brown when moulting.
The ideal height at the withers for males is 48 cm, the ideal for females is 43 cm. A variation of 3 cm is acceptable.
Breed registration statistics
Below you can find the registration statistics for the Swedish Lapphund in the Nordic countries from 1990 onwards.