Finnish Lapphunds race again
Published Feb. 25, 2020
Submitted by Ted Rule
Little Redstone Lake provided the perfect venue for the third annual Finnish Lapphund Sledding weekend, which took place from Jan. 24 to 26. Ted and Shirley Rule (long-time residents of Little Redstone) and daughter Lori Rule once again hosted the event with the wonderful assistance of their outfitter, Diane Geitzenauer. Thirty-one owners and 26 dogs including 22 Finnish Lapphunds, three Samoyeds, and a Havanese (who some say is a Lappy wannabe!) participated. Folks came from all over Ontario, New York, New Hampshire, and New Jersey to join in this year’s winter fun.
Ted and Shirley’s fantastic neighbours Karen and Kent Hutchings and Carolyn Trenton were kind enough once again to permit the use of their lovely homes/cottages to help accommodate the guests – and considering that most were expecting camping style accommodations, they were surprised, tickled and very appreciative of the super comfortable facilities they enjoyed for the event.
For those unfamiliar, Finnish Lapphunds (nicknamed “Lappies”) are a 7,000-year-old breed similar in looks to the Spitz family of dogs (such as Huskies, Samoyeds, and even the diminutive Pomeranian). They are however from northern Finland and have been used for many centuries as reindeer herders. They range in weight from 32 to 50lbs and have a wonderful double layer coat that is waterproof and suited to 24-7 outdoor living even in the coldest of climates. They come in many colours including cream, brown, black and tan, wolf sable and domino (black, white and grey, very similar to huskies). Lappies are very intelligent, love people and children, and have done very well in agility, barn hunt (searching for rats hidden in secure protective tubes in a barn filled will bales of hay), chase, tricks, herding and, obviously, sledding. While they are very popular as family dogs in Finland, they have only been introduced in any numbers to North America in the last two decades, and there are now an estimated 1,000 in the USA and between 300 and 400 in Canada.
We had two four- and six-dog sleds, two two-dog kick sleds and three snow machines to work with and rotated the dogs through all day Saturday and again on Sunday morning. The track consisted of a ¾ km oval on the lake, prepared in advance for the sledding using the snow machines.
It should be noted that this event could not have taken place without the support of our wonderful breeder Manon Brisebois from Cumberland, Ont., as a large percentage of the participating dogs were from her MapleMyst breeding program.
A million thanks to Lori Rule who was meticulous in organizing the potluck meals and distribution of people and animals to the various abodes. For the second year in a row Diane G, who has assisted Winterdance at such notable events as the Yukon Gold and Alaskan Iditarod in the past, provided the expertise needed to get our dogs into harnesses, attached to the sleds, and pointed in the right direction.
Needless to say, the event was very enjoyable and included a bonfire, an abundance of food and good company, draw prizes including hand-crafted stained glass Lappy suncatchers, and even the occasional toddy in the evenings. We feel blessed to have such a wonderful family of Lappy owners. We are very much looking forward to the fourth annual in 2021!