Lapponian Herder (Lapinporokoira)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black in different shades with greyish or brownish colour markings, with white markings
Hair length:
average, long
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • excellent guardian and herder
  • great family companion
  • needs a lot of exercise and space

The Lapponian Herder (Lapinporokoira in Finnish) is a rare Nordic herding dog that is today the only breed from the spitz-type family used for its original purpose – working and herding. This is a loyal, friendly, obedient and calm dog with a great stamina and is always eager to serve. Be careful not to confuse the Lapponian Herder with another Finnish breed - the Finnish Lapphund.

The Lapponian Herder is thought to be one of the most ancient Finnish breeds. It originated in the XVII century in Finland and is a descendant from the ancient Nordic spitzes. The first written descriptions of this breed were found the book «Lapponia» (1674), but it was already mentioned in early artefacts of the Sámi (indigenous people of northern Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland).

The Lapponian Herder was used for herding, guarding and driving reindeers and could work in the harshest climates being also a great companion. It was considered the same breed with Finnish Lapphund.

Only in the 1950s, when the breed was almost destroyed, the Finnish Kennel Club decided to start a program to save the Lapponian Herder and later recognised it as a separate breed. Sámi herdsmen and the Association for Reindeer Husbandry took very active part in this program helping to preserve the breed by crossing indigenous working dogs like the Finnish Lapphund, Australian Kelpie and some others.

Finally, the Reindeer Dog became an official breed when in December 1966 the Finnish Kennel Club released the standard for Lapinporokoira - The Lapponian Herder. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) approved the breed standard in 1967.

Today the Lapponian Herder still remains rare outside Finland and Sweden where is serves as a great herding, working, guuarding dog as well as a family companion.

The Lapponian Herder a very energetic, friendly, loyal and affectionate working breed. It loves pleasing its owner and forms strong bonds with its family. This people-oriented dog loves being involved in any activity with its family and makes a great companion. If you socialize your dog properly it will get along well with even small children.

The Lapponian Herder is alert and will be a good watchdog, though it barks too much. But it will make a poor guard dog as this breed is too friendly and tends to greet all guest with excitement baking, jumping and «hugging» which can sometimes lead to unwanted accidents as this is not a toy breed. Remember this when you start training your dog.

A properly socialized and trained Lapponian Herder will get on well with other dogs and animals. However, it is a herder by nature and is extremely quick so keep your dog on a leash as it can pose a threat to the small canine and non-canine animals.

Health Problems
The most common health problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• arthritis;
• von Willebrand's disease;
• chronic ear infections;
• eye problems;
• ingrown nails;
• skin allergies;
• gastric torsion.

The Lapponian Herder is easy to groom. Brush the dog's coarse and thick coat weekly and more often during the shedding season. Bathing can be done not more than once, maximum twice, per month.

The Lapponian Herder is a very intelligent breed always eager to please. So training won't be too difficult, you just have to choose the right method. Your dog will be able to learn various tricks and commands.

The Lapponian Herder will need a guidance from its owner who also must be patient, firm, confident and attentive leader. Your dog must trust you and respect you. Training must be consistent and combine repetitive tasks with positive reinforcement.

You have to remember some Lapponian Herder might be very independent. But in general, the properly trained and socialized dog will be very docile.

The Lapponian Herder is an extremely active breed that needs a lot of exercise and space. A long energetic daily walk is absolutely a must, but it won't be enough. Your dog will need a yard to run and play or a job to do.

This athletic breed can successfully participate in almost any dog sport and loves games like fetch. The Lapponian Herder can adapt to the city life, but is not suited for a hole-day indoor living and needs plenty of time outdoors. However, this breed is also not suited for a full-time outdoor living as it craved for human company.