Finnish Lapphunds are very intelligent and love to learn and that makes them great at all the dog sports. You can find them competing in obedience and rally-o, agility and conformation. Neka trained in obedience, agility and heelwork to music, athough we didn't compete. She did have a long career in the conformation ring, though, and attended her last Crufts at the age of 11. Keskiyo was a terrific little showdog in his youth, racking up many wins at both championship and open shows. He once won Reserve Best Puppy in Show and Best in Show at open shows. He and Tuuli both learned obedience and Maija competed in obedience and Rally-O. The fact that we never won anything speaks to my performance rather than hers! In the photo left Maija is practicing with her dumbbell. Most Lappies are not natural retrievers, but with a bit of patience and persistence they can be trained to 'fetch'. It does help to start training it young - both our older dogs were taught to retrieve when they were very young puppies but Maija never was. We had a bit of a challenge then when she started obedience at the ripe old age of 6 years.
L-R: Infindigo Persikka Ukko, Persikka Kuura, Riemu Kiittaa & Riemu Emmi
Photo above: Infindigo breeder team taking first place at the Finnish Lapphund Club of Great Britain Championship show April 2014.
Win or lose, showing dogs can be a lot of fun and the sport isn't limited to showing only your own dogs - or even dogs that you have bred. In the top photo on the right I am showing the spectacular Multi Champion Ukkonen av Vintervidda from Norway at the World Show in Helsinki, July 2014, where we placed 2nd in a huge class of outstanding international dogs. What a thrill it was to have the opportunity to show such a supreme showman, one of the many stunning dogs from Kennel Vintervidda in Norway.
If you want to train your Lapphund in agility, you will need to start with the basics when they are a puppy because they should do no jumping whatsoever until they are 12 months old. Lappies are very heavy for their size and it takes a long time for their bones and joints to strengthen. For that reason we build up their exercise slowly as they mature. Get the basic commands down in puppyhood, and you'll be ready for the big games once your dog is a year old, like Oakki in the photo below left, doing his first agility jumps at 14 months old. Check out the videos page to see Sue putting him through his paces.
Photo (c) Silke Hollje-Schumacher