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Happy 13th Birthday Annika

The one who started it all- Ch Orical Mystery Wish ET. TDX. WPD. RA.

Today we celebrate the 13th birthday of my very first Lappie- Annika! Ch Orical Mystery Wish ET. TDX. WPD. RA. Such a milestone gives me pause to reflect on my 13 years of being involved with the Finnish Lapphund breed, and my early beginnings.

When I welcomed Annika, I had been a life

long Spitz breed lover. My current dog was Amber, a German Spitz who I welcomed when I was 17 years old, (and she lived until 17years of age!) I had wanted another Spitz breed, larger in size than Amber, but also not a large sized breed. I wanted a breed that I could be active with, trying out various dog sports, going hiking, but also a breed that would be fine chilling at my office and at home, as I often needed to work solidly for long periods of time during this stage of my life.

Somehow I discovered the Finnish Lapphund. I say 'somehow', as at the time there were less than 200 Lappies in Australia. They seemed like a perfect match for me- a smaller than medium sized breed, robust, a working dog with an off switch, a healthy breed with a beautiful nature. I made enquiries with breeders, and waited and waited. Back circa 2010, there were maybe 2 litters born per year, in the whole country. So one needed to be prepared to wait. A breeder that I had enjoyed conversing with in Victoria, Pamela Francis of Magpielane (now retired), managed to get me on to a litter waiting list for a litter being born in nearby Lithgow. I waited for news, and received the exciting news that a litter of 4 had been born, 2 boys and 2 girls, and that one of the girls would be mine.

Here is baby Annika! And as she opened her eyes, a surprise was in store- one eye was bright blue! Many babies have eyes that appear blue when young, but then darken with age. Where as Annika's blue eye was a true blue eye. This occurs due to a lack of pigmentation, and as there was a lack of pigmentation between her eyes (the white blaze), this lack of pigmentation had carried across to one of her eyes.

Her eye was perfectly healthy, it was simply the colour, or lack of colour, making it appear blue. This isn't a desirable trait in Lappies, it is a fault in the breed standard. Simply due to physical appearances. But it didn't matter to me, I was just so happy to be welcoming my Lappie baby, and I absolutely loved her beautiful nature.

Over many years, Annika and I explored formal obedience, herding, rally obedience, dancing with dogs, tracking, back packing and endurance together. She achieved her 'Tracking Dog Excellent' (TDX) title, the second Lappie to achieve this title (second to my Asta). She also achieved her Rally Advanced title, Endurance Title and Working Pack Dog

Title. But more than that, we had so much fun together exploring all of the different sports that Lappies can do, together.

I, of course, fell in love with the breed, became a registered breeder and went on to extensively import dogs and frozen semen from overseas- but that is a story for another day.

Annika wasn't the best physical example of a Lappie- but she has the very best temperament that I have ever experienced in the breed, a kind nature- I have never even heard her growl once. She has always had a wisdom and maturity beyond her years and a calmness that is rather majestic. Her emotional intelligence is simply amazing.

Annika is very nurturing to others, and

went on to become an excellent mum, and passed on her beautiful nature. Annika's lines have been precious to me as a breeder as she has such a unique pedigree for the breed, her her grandfathers grandmother coming directly from the Sami people in 1992 (another big story for another day!) So she has been wonderful in her contribution to the Orical breeding program. These days, we have her great grandkids here- boy how time flies!

Annika lives with my mother in Newcastle, NSW, alongside her Lappie buddy Mia from my first litter. The two are the best of friends, and Annika is still very fit, active and healthy. You would never guess that she is 13 years of age!

Happy birthday Annika, my girl who started my dedication to Lappies! And happy birthday to her siblings Mushka and Kiira, pictured below with Annika (at 5 years of age).

Hyvää syntymäpäivää


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