The origin of the breed
It can be assumed that the Lapinporokoira is a cross-breed between Nordic hounds and Scottish sheepdogs. Its domestication is closely linked to the domestication of the reindeer, as it was used to herd these animals.
It is safe to assume, that the Lapponian herder probably most closely resembles the Nordic ur-dog, in behaviour as well as in appearance. Up until now, breeders were very successful in preserving these original aspects of the dogs.
In the 1930s this dog breed started to get more attention and in the years after World War II work began to define the characteristics of this breed and standardise them. The FCI officially acknowledged the Lapinporokoira in 1966.
The FCI-standards defines this breed as a working dog. This means that the Lapniporokoira can be compared, for example, to the German shepherd, Boxer or the Giant schnauzer.
The Lapinporokoira then…
In earlier times the Lapinporokoira was used for pretty much everything. A sheepdog, a hound dog and also as a watchdog to guard the Samic villages.
Eventually modern technologies got the better of the Lapinporokoiras and now a day’s people on skidoos have taken over their job of herding the reindeers. But the dogs have not totally lost their importance. Often the reindeer breeders take them along with them on their skidoos. On command the dog will jump off and help him roundup the animals.
In Finland breeding of Lapinporokoiras still is a very traditional process:
The Sami in the North usually own the male dogs, which are more robust and are used as sheep dogs. These dogs are normally not registered and it is note possible to trace their ancestors.
These dogs are then mated with a she-dog, usually from the south. The she-dogs are registered and their ancestors can be traced back.
The register in Finland is an open one, and dogs can be registered without knowing their ancestry. This is also a necessary and important step to renew the still very small gene-pool of this breed.
The “instrument” of the Porokoira
The “Eye” of the Border collie is usually known to everybody. The instrument of the Lapponian herder is his voice. With his barks he can set a whole reindeer herd in motion and round them up. But he also must be able to, if necessary, act in silence.