549 – Finnish Lapphunds: Trainable, Lovable, Cuddly Dogs of the North


Finnish Lapphunds: Trainable, Lovable, Cuddly Dogs of the North

Linda Marden and Tori.

Host Laura Reeves kicks off Love the Breeds month talking with Linda Marden, who imported the first Finnish Lapphunds to the US and worked to have them recognized by the American Kennel Club.

“I very pointedly and purposely set out to import Finnish Lapphunds and get them recognized by AKC,” Marden said. “It took pretty close to 25 years to get it done. I couldn’t find anybody that would export one to the United States. Back then, we didn’t have Internet or anything like that. To them, sending a dog to the United States was basically the same as taking it out and shooting it… it was never going to come back to them. It wouldn’t be part of their gene pool because once they’re gone and registered in the United States … at that point, because we weren’t AKC recognized, we couldn’t send dogs back to them. So that line, as far as they were concerned, was lost. Getting a dog was really difficult.

Finnish Lapphunds are a medium-sized double coated Spitz-type breed.

“When I first started, I had a breed which had a very definite well-recorded history and we had multiple generations pedigrees. This was not in any way shape or form a created breed. Every dog I imported had at least a three-generation pedigree, which was an AKC requirement. We never had anything that wasn’t three generations, and they still made us wait until we had 400 dogs in the United States before we could even take another step forward. When I first started working on importing Lappies. It was before AKC had the foundation stock service. So, it instantly became much easier once that got started.

“Finnish Lapphunds obviously are from Finland. That type of breed is all over the northern part of Europe. So, what actual breed you get depends on where in northern Europe you are. So, the “Lapphund” part comes from Lappland, which was an area of Europe that was never a country but “pre-countries” it was recognized area. It covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. And Sammies came from also basically the same area, but it was Russia. So, it’s just the area you were in because these were nomadic people that are relatively isolated. So, the breeds that formed, formed because of the human isolation.

The breed comes in a wide array of colors, love to learn tricks and are very docile with people.

“All of those breeds were kept by the nomadic people and their primary job was to help herd the reindeer. Now, the dogs were multi-purpose. They were not exclusively bred as herding dogs. So, we see differences in their temperaments because of that. They were also used to occasionally pull sleds. They were alarm dogs. They hung out with the people. We all joke that we know exactly what a “three dog night” is. It’s really cold. The dogs lived very closely with their people, and you can see that in their temperaments. All of those breeds actually are exceedingly people oriented because they lived in the tents with the people.”

For more information on the breed: https://www.facebook.com/groups/finnishlappundclubofamerica


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