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The Lapponian Herder is a rarity, a precious pearl full of Finnish cultural history. The Reindeer Dog, as it is called by devotees, is like a breath from the past. A dog that reflects Lappish mythology: shamanism and troll-drums, exotic herbs and smoky light flickering through the branches of the mountain birches. This is what the Lapponian Herder is about. He also embodies hard work and severe conditions, unselfishness and devotion to his work and trusted ones.
Carl von Linné (a Swedish botanist and zoologist in the 18th century), during his travels in Lapland, used to praise the Sami dogs to his students and encourage them to study these animals: “The Lapps know best how useful a good dog can be. Had they not any dogs, the reindeer could not easily be kept in a herd but they would scatter in all directions.
These dogs are both useful and pleasant companions for the Lapps”. The Lapps, the Sami, have always understood the value of their dogs. They have regarded a good reindeer dog as a member of the family, and not without reason. A well-working reindeer dog’s importance to the reindeer management can not be emphasised too much.
A good Lapponian herder is an easily trainable working dog and a quick learner. His liveliness, intelligence and independence makes training a this dog an interesting, rewarding and challenging task. A versatile dog, the Lapponian Herder is a perfect companion to a modern, active dog-owner; it can be showed out, trained to obedience competitions, participate in utility dog trials (search, track etc.), agility and herding, or it can make a pleasant companion for the family.
The Lapponian Herder is a dog bred strongly for its original purpose, and he has a working dog’s nature. Working with this dog is challenging and pleasant. The Lapponian herder is easily trainable and a reliable worker. His coat is weatherproof and requires no special care. He makes a splendid utility dog in every way.
All these descriptions mentioned in the breed standard do apply to a good Reindeer Dog; he is an easily trainable working dog and a quick learner. His liveliness, intelligence and independence makes training a Reindeer Dog an interesting, rewarding and challenging task.
As a Finnish Reindeer Dog expert Lasse Tuominen writes in his article in the journal Poromies (Reindeer owner), recalling an experienced Reindeer Dog breeder’s anecdote: “Remember that your dog does anything to please you. If he does something wrong, you have made a mistake”.
The breed standard describes the Lapponian herder or Reindeer dog as obedient, calm, friendly, energetic and eager to serve. In his work the Lapponian herder or Reindeer dog is said to have a tendency to bark. He uses barking where e.g. a Border Collie uses the eye, that is, as a “tool”.