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|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Swedish Lapphund (Swedish: Svensk lapphund) is a breed of dog of the Spitz type from Sweden, one of three Lapphund breeds developed from a type of dog used by the Sami people for herding and guarding their reindeer. The expression "the black beauty of Norrland" is very often attributed to the Swedish lapphund, which is most likely one of Sweden's oldest breeds.
The breed falls under the mitochondrial DNA sub-clade referred to as d1 that is only found in northern Scandinavia. It is the result of a female wolf-male dog hybridization that occurred post-domestication. Subclade d1 originated 480-3,000 years ago and is found in all Sami-related breeds: Finnish Lapphund, Swedish Lapphund, Lapponian Herder, Jamthund, Norwegian Elkhound and Hällefors Elkhound. The maternal wolf sequence that contributed to these breeds has not been matched across Eurasia and its branch on the phylogenetic tree is rooted in the same sequence as the 33,000 year-old Altai dog (not a direct ancestor).
The Swedish lapphund has its origins among the ancient hunting tribes of northern Scandinavia, from the land that the Sámi people call Sapmi. In Sámi mythology it is said that the lapphund sought the post of worker amongst the Sámi people in exchange that it would always be well-treated. The lapphund has been used mainly for hunting and guarding. When the Sámi people started to keep domestic reindeer in the mid-18th century, the lapphund's repertoire was expanded to include herding.
Hard work in the barren landscape of northern Scandinavia has created a very resilient breed. The shifting climate demands a weatherproof coat that is easy to maintain. The rough terrain and the varied work demand a dog with endurance, agility, intelligence and independence. The resulting Swedish lapphund is a well-rounded working dog, well suited both for work as a farm, hunting, and herding dog, and as a pet.
Like all spitz dogs in general, the Swedish lapphund demands a stable upbringing and both regular mental and physical stimulation to perform at its best. As a working dog they show their versatility in a number of different fields. Many compete with success in such widely different disciplines as obedience, dog agility trials, working contest, freestyle/heelwork to music, Rally obedience, and blood tracking. The Swedish Lapphund can also participate in herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Lapphunds exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
The breed also has a number of certificated search and rescue dogs and army dogs. The Swedish lapphund is also a very multifaceted hunting dog, mainly used for hunting elk and forest birds, but also deer, wild boar and bear. It is also a skilled tracking dog in searching for wounded or killed game. In addition to their versatility as working animals, the breed is also extremely popular as a competitive show dog.
In Sweden dogs have their temperament tested by a system called mentalbeskrivning. Results for the Swedish lapphund show a curious, intrepid, and friendly breed which is playful and non-aggressive. They are easily trained, strong, and very devoted to their family. Early training is essential to prevent excessive barking.
The Swedish lapphund is a typical spitz. It is rectangularly built, slightly under medium size with a good carriage. It moves effortless with drive, light, springy and covering ground. Despite that they are gifted with a dense and long, shining coat, they are very easy to groom. Some brushing when the coat is shedding is enough to keep the coat in good condition. The special coat does not smell doggy and is cleans itself from dirt, so it requires little maintenance. The coat colour is black or bear brown, sometimes with white marks on tail, chest and feet. It has a profuse double coat with hair standing straight out from the body; undercoat is dense and very finely curled. Coat colours are mostly black and liver, but a white patch on the chest is also common.
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