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Lapponian Herder Breed Description

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Breed Organization

United Kennel Club (UKC)

Native Country

Other Names
Lapland Reindeer Dog, Finnish Reindeer Herder, Lapinporokoira, Lapponian Vallhund

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years

Litter Size
No Litter Information Available

Breed Group
FCI-Nordic Watchdogs and Herders

General Description

The Lapinporokoira is a medium-sized dog, with medium length fur in a double coat. Ears are pricked. Color is generally black or dark grey or brown, and occasionally red brown, with a lighter shade on the head and lower parts of the body, often with white markings. Medium in build, height should be 51 cm (20 in) at the withers for males, 46 cm (18 in) for females. Males and females should look distinctly different. Weight is between 55–65 lb (25–29 kg), males usually heavier than females.

Breed Standard

Head: Moderate length, slightly domed skull. Distinct stop. Straight muzzle. Tight lips.
Ears: Fairly short. Held erect and forward.
Eyes: Fairly wide set. Dark color.
Body: Longer than tall. Dry, powerful neck. Deep, broad chest. Belly is slightly tucked up. Slightly sloped croup. Straight, strong back.
Tail: Moderate length, thick. Not curled, but instead hangs down in a curve.
Hair: Moderate length, straight, coarse, somewhat stand off. Thicker and longer on the neck, chest, and thighs. Soft, dense undercoat.
Coat: Shades of black with tan markings. White "double eyes" are common. Lighter coloring (grayish or brownish preferred) on the cheeks, underbody, and legs. White markings on the neck, chest, and legs are permissible.
Size: Dog: 49 to 55 cm (19-22 in).Bitch: 43 to 49 cm (17-19 in).
Weight: Approx. 25 kg (55 lb).


The Sami people of northern Europe used Spitz type herding dogs in managing their herds of reindeer for a very long time. Such dogs were not of modern breeds of documented heritage, and did not have a fixed appearance, but rather were a landrace type of herding dog. Although Swedish and Finnish dog fanciers began collecting information about the type in the 1930s, most of the dogs were lost as a result of World War II.

After the war, various breeders in Sweden and Finland began to try to recreate the lost reindeer herding dogs in their various forms. In Finland, the first was recognised as the Kukonharjulainen (a kennel name) by the Finnish Kennel Club. The breed was a few of the herding dogs crossed with black and white Karelian Bear Dogs, resulting in a short-coated dog. Other breeders with another kennel club in Finland created another breed, this one with a more heavy coat, called the Lapponian Herder. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, more dogs were collected, and assigned to one of the two varieties based on their appearance. Around the same time, the two kennel clubs merged, and all the Finnish reindeer dogs were placed in the same registry. In 1966, they were separated again, based on coat length. One breed was renamed Lapphund at that time, and the other was named Lapinporokoira (translated into English as the Lapponian Herder.)

The Lapinporokoira is recognised under Finnish sponsorship as Federation Cynologique Internationale in Group 5 Spitz and primitive types Section 3 Nordic Watchdogs and Herders. The stud book for the breed remains open. Exported to North America, it is recognized there by the United Kennel Club in the Herding group (the United Kennel Club places the Finnish Lapphund in the Northern Breed Group.) It is also recognized by various minor kennel clubs and internet based dog registry businesses, and promoted as a rare breed for those seeking a unique pet.


This energetic, calm dog makes a nice pet. He barks easily, making him a good guard dog. The temperament of individual dogs may vary.

The Lapland Reindeer Dog needs considerable space and exercise to burn off energy. Daily brushing is required.


The Lapponian Herder can participate in dog agility trials, carting, mushing, obedience, Rally obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Lapponian Herders exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.


No Health Information Available

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