The Swedish Lapphund is an ancient breed, historically used by the Sami people of Scandinavia for herding reindeer. These dogs are versatile and resilient, having adapted to the harsh arctic climate and rugged terrain. The Swedish Lapphund, also known as Svensk Lapphund or Lapponian Herder, is believed to have originated nearly 7000 years ago, with roots tracing back to the indigenous Sami people of Scandinavia. These nomadic tribes relied heavily on their dogs for herding and protecting their reindeer, a task that the Lapphund was perfectly suited to with its adaptability, resilience, and intelligence. Although originally used for hunting, the Lapphund eventually transitioned to a herding role. After the Second World War, the breed was nearly extinct but was saved through the dedicated efforts of breed enthusiasts. Today, it remains a somewhat rare breed, especially outside its native Sweden.
Swedish Lapphunds can be affected by cerebellar cortical degeneration, degenerative myelopathy,
diabetes mellitus, glycogen storage disease II, and spinal muscular atrophy. They may also suffer from eye conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy and multifocal retinopathy (CMR3). Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Known for their intelligence and trainability, Swedish Lapphunds are excellent working dogs. They are energetic, friendly, and loyal, making them good family pets. They are typically good with children and other animals if properly socialized. These dogs are also known for their alertness and can make good watchdogs. However, they require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to avoid becoming bored and potentially destructive.
The Swedish Lapphund has a distinct vocalization called "Lapphund song" or "Lappie song", which it historically used for herding. This "song" is a series of vocalizations that are unique to each dog and are used as a form of communication.
The breed is considered sacred by the Sami people and is often featured in their folklore and mythology.
The Swedish Lapphund is known for its "bear cub" appearance, with a thick, fluffy black coat, round ears, and expressive eyes.