Many of the dogs kept by the ancient Vikings were used for hunting. Modern Finnish dog breeds include dogs used as reindeer herders, bear dogs and gundogs, which are usually used for pointing, but not for retrieving. Some of these modern breeds date back to Viking Age. Most Finnish dogs are spitz-type dogs, except for the Finnish Hound.
The Swedes favored solid black or dark colors, while the Finns selected for patterned coats. The FCI recognized both types.
Finnish Lapphund (Suomenlapinkoira), used by the Sámi people as reindeer-herding dogs. Breeders in Sweden and Finland independently undertook to preserve the species, resulting in two slightly different types.
Finnish Spitz (Suomenpystykorva): a cat-like gundog, popular also in the UK and US. Strong-willed and independent like most spitz breeds, the Finnish Spitz needs exercise and work to do.
Finnish Hound (Suomenajokoira): one of Finland's most popular working breeds, it is relatively rare outside Finland. The breed has been known since the 1800s and probably stems from local dogs which were crossed with French, German, Swedish and Russian Hounds. It looks like a big, leggy foxhound and is most similar to the Swedish Hamilton Hound, but a bit taller. Unlike the Norwegian hounds, the Finnish Hound is used for scenting, but not for retrieving.
Karelian Bear Dog (Karjalankarhukoira), also known as Karjalankarhukoira in Finland or Bjornhund in Sweden. Originally, the Karelian Bear Dog was mainly used for hunting squirrels, marten, moose, lynx, wolves and bears. Today, Karelian Bear Dogs are being used for controlling bears in National Parks and modifying the behavior of problem bears that come into conflict with people.
Lapponian Reindeer Herder (lapinporokoïra, lapland reindeer dog), a breed deliberatly created by crossing the Finnish Lapphund, the German Shepherd Dog and working Collies, to combine the hardiness of the northern spitz breeds with the excellent manoeuvring skills of the typical sheepdog.
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