Q1. Your dog’s pet name.

My family have three, Kaiju, Jarkko and Tuula. They are named after Finnish girls and boys names.

Q2. Your dog’s kennel name.

Pennardane Plumeria (Kaiju)

Elbereth Jarkko

Elbereth Tuula

Q3. Sex.

Kaiju and Tuula are bitches, Jarkko is a dog

Q4. Colour.

It is my aim to collect a set. Kajiu is crème sable, Jarkko black and tan tri and Tuula, a wolf sable

Q5. Age now or at date of death.

Kajiu 6, Jarkko 4 and Tuula fast approaching 2

Q6. Why did you choose to get a Finnish Lapphund?

I loved the breed from the first picture I saw of them. I have always loved dogs that are what I call “proper looking” which to me means wolf like. The Lappy fits that bill and has the addition of the most engaging facial expression in the canine world! After initial visits to see Liz Mowatt and Toni Jackson, we were hooked as a family

Q7. What were the most challenging aspects of training your dog?

For me I have always wanted a dog that was trainable, intelligent and importantly could be well controlled. Karen my wife is a child minder with numerous children under 10 in the house all day so a well trained dog(s) was essential.

It is fair to say Karen did have some worries when we first brought Kaiju home which were not helped at our first training lesson with our dog trainer when he pointed out Kaiju and said “Spitz type dog, completely untrainable!”. Needless to say nothing is further from the truth. I have found all three of my Lappies extremely easy to train despite them having very different personalities. The fact we now have three Lappies is down to the fact they are so trainable, biddable and willing to please. The key things are start early, be consistent and persistent and make training fun. Despite his initial comments our trainer ended up using Kaiju as his class example. In addition he did point out that you should never ever think of your dog as having anything other than the intelligence levels and common sense of a 4 year old child. I have never forgotten this and whenever I have problems with communicating with my three it usually because I have broken this rule. Lappies learn very quickly and then get bored! So keep them interested and be consistent. If you start with a bad behaviour they will learn it just like that and then you have to work hard to train it away again.

Q8. What could you train them to be really good at?

All of my Lappies have bullet proof stays, recall takes a little longer. A key thing for us as a family for all three was that as youngsters they couldn’t mouth (too many young children in the house), pick up and chew what they want (too many toys all over the floor) or eat anything unless given it by hand by us or in a food bowl (too many children with lovely food in their hands wandering around). These rules do require very early training but even now all our Lappies will greet any new person in the house with a soft toy in their mouths and won’t mouth or jump up.

Q9. How readily were they trained?

As already mentioned almost too readily. Lappies are so keen to please they will learn anything just like that

Q10. What motivates your dog in training?

I think this is where differences in personality begin to show. Kaiju has always been food motivated whereas Jarkko is always far more desperate just to please and be acknowledged with praise. Tuula being the youngest and by far the most headstrong is the biggest challenge. More than anything you have to keep her interested and deal with the fact her attention span is 4-5 seconds at most

Q11. What motivates you in training?

Everyone I see when walking my dogs who just has no control of their’s! All three of my dogs will walk to heel with me, will sit, stay and recall. Going back to my trainers comments about how you communicate with your dogs what motivates me is to avoid the situation where I’m standing, lead in hand trying to get my dog to do what I would like by holding a conversation as if they are my child!

Q12. What type of food does your dog eat daily? Eg wet or dry.

Purina dry. They have Chicken and Salmon. In addition they all get a small tin of fish to share (sardines, mackerel, pilchards, tuna) with their evening meal and occasional vegetables

Q13. How many grammes of food would they generally eat everyday?

Kaiju 100-125g plus fish

Tuula and Jarkko 175g plus fish

Q14. Do they “scoff” or “pick-at” their food?

They scoff. Kaiju as initially a little picky but once the others arrived competition took over

Q15. Have they had weight problems?

As a spaid bitch Kaiju will put on weight so she had less food than the others. Tuula appears to be such a livewire she does not put on weight.

Q16. Have they had any health problems?

Apart from the odd cut or strain, nothing at all

Q17. If your dog is deceased, what was the cause of their death?

Not applicable

Q18. How would you describe their health in general?

Fit as fiddles

Q19. How do they get on with family, children, friends and strangers?

I would not have three lappies now if they were not just the most perfect dogs for families and especially with small children (if well trained.)
For the most part Lappies will adapt to you and your family and whatever you are doing.
My three are equally at home lounging in the sun in the conservatory while we get on with our busy lives or walking the Welsh Mountains all day on a holiday. All three just love to be with people and youngsters in particular. The children that Karen looks after love them and will often lay on them, push them and do all the other things small children can do and the Lappies just lie there or roll over for more. They are not the kind of dogs who demand attention but they love it when you have time to give it. I work from home some days in an office upstairs and the Lappies will be quite happy lounging around the house. However when I move my chair back at 5ish they’ll be straight upstairs waiting at the office door ready to go out. With strangers they are generally well behaved in the house (as I have said earlier) and are polite and non pushy when out and about. Jarkko particularly will bark when someone comes on the drive or walks around the side of the house ( we have woods on one side of our garden) but this is reassuring

Q20. How do they get on with other dogs in general?

My three have always been well socialised and are themselves very sociable. Jarkko is an entire dog so if out with his two ladies I do watch him with other males. He will posture aggressively if he feels challenged but does recognise me a alpha dog so if I call him to heel he is quite happy to let me take charge. Interestingly if my wife is walking him he will be more aggressive towards other dogs so he clearly feels protective towards her. Tuula is more boisterous as a personality then the other two and is obviously younger but all she wants to do is play. Sometimes this is off putting for nervous dogs but easily dealt with.

Q21. How do they get on with other Finnish Lapphunds?

Very well, with the exception of Jarrko and certain intact males. This is clearly a “boys” thing. Jarkko and his litter brothers have never got on as adults (He was one of 5 brothers). They see each other reasonably often and there is always much staining of leads and growling. With other Lappy males there seems to be a split. With some dogs he just isn’t bothered (Hapmi, Pascha, Tuuka, ) while some others he will growl at; however if he thinks I’m in charge there is not an issue.

Q22. What challenges do they present on a walk e.g. chasing deer, squirrel hunting, swimming, poor recall, scared to leave your side?!

We have a large number of woodland walks and yes mine will chase wild life. Interestingly there are very different behaviours. Kaiju has always chased deer and Tuula appears to have learned this from her. If I see the deer early enough or read the signs they will normally respond to a call off or “leave it”, however once in full flight they’re gone. They can’t catch the deer in woody terrain so it is usually a case of calling and eventually they come back puffing hard…typically 5-10 minutes later. The record is 25 minutes. Jarkko won’t lower himself to charging after deer so he contents himself by going mad at squirrels. He will bounce through the woods like Tigger after squirrels and then bound around the base of an 80 foot pine fully expecting that if he yips long enough and loud enough the squirrel leap down! Kaiju and Tuula just watch and wonder what the fuss is about. Kaiju will also “mouse” like a cat by stalking hedgerows and then pouncing. In 6 years none of my Lappies have actually caught anything larger than a mouse. Tuula and Kaiju will also chase birds. For Tuula this involves keeping birds out of the garden ( and very occasionally catching one). For Kaiju this is almost exclusively ducks! She is the world’s first duck tolling Lappy. Her passion for ducks is such that she can recognise ducks in flight from other birds and will either follow or chase them. She normally dislikes water but loves chasing ducks out into it. Jarkko dislikes water even more and rarely gets his feet wet. By way of variety, Tuula will happily paddle out up to her neck. However none of my Lappies are willing swimmers.

23. Describe your dog’s personality using five adjectives.

This is where the consistencies and varieties between all three really come through.

Kaiju – Loving, Intelligent, Quiet, Independent, Dependable

Jarkko – Loving, Loyal, Caring, Willing, Jealous

Tuula – Loving, Showy, Lively, Flighty, Intelligent

Q24. Have you owned or been very familiar with other dog breeds? If yes, which ones?

I have only owned Lappies. Karen’s family have had Yorkies and GSDs

Q25. How would you say the Finnish Lapphund compares to these breeds?

Incomparable! The Best