AKC Dog Breeds: Swedish Vallhund

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Herding Group
Height:12-16 inches   Weight: 25-35 pounds  Color: gray, red-yellow, red-brown and gray-brown

The Swedish Vallhund (SV) is a very old Spitz-type breed known since the time of the Vikings. For centuries the SV has been kept as a farm dog and used for herding cattle. The SV is a small, powerful, fearless, sturdily built Spitz herding dog. The Swedish Vallhund is an intelligent, spontaneous, and energetic breed. Used as an alarm dog, this breed is prone to barking and loves to do so. Also used for herding purposes, this breed can do well in many categories such as obedience, herding, working, and ratting. The Swedish Vallhund closely resembles the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. It may have been transported by the Vikings to Britain or spurned from imported Pembroke Welsh Cori brought to Sweden. Although his color is drabber and lacks the Corgi zing, he is no less a utility dog. The Vallhund, meaning herding dog, is a canine of many talents such as a cattle drover, watchdog, ratter and versatile farmland. He is a more and more common site at European exhibitions. The Vallhund were also referred to as "the little cattle dog of the Vikings".

General Appearance
The ears of the Swedish Vallhund are stiff and pricked. The Swedish Vallhund has fine hair along lines of ears. Hair should remain slightly longer on neck, topcoat frigid and coarse, while undercoat remains soft and silky. The muzzle is long and parallel to the top of the skull. A fox-like expression is paramount. A well-defined mask is highly desirable, with lighter hair around the eyes, muzzle, and under the throat. The coat is harsh, tight and medium in length with a soft undercoat. Many coat colors are acceptable, such as red-yellow, gray, gray-brown, red-brown, and some white markings. The neck is long and muscular. The legs are powerful with short oval feet and round pads. Coat colors include gray, red-yellow, red-brown and gray-brown. A fractional amount of white markings are tolerated.


A great sense of humor and presence, the Swedish Vallhund is sure to liven up your life. Guarding instincts are usually present and are wary of strangers, however this breed loves attention. Even-tempered and affectionate, this breed also shows signs of herding, nipping at the ankles of people. However, Swedish Vallhunds can be trained not to do so as they are generally intelligent. The Swedish Vallhund is a responsive and even-tempered companion. It is intelligent and affectionate. He loves attention and instinctually craves leadership. Owners are never disappointed in his multi-faceted ability or his spontaneous sense of humor. Extremely active and devoted little dogs. Be sure you are this dog's pack leader to avoid Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors where the dog believes he is above humans in the pack order. Dog's who do not clearly know their place in the pack can be untrustworthy with children, may begin to guard, bark obsessively, become wary of strangers, and be dog aggressive with other dominate dogs. Properly socialize this dog, providing rules he must follow, and limits to what he can and cannot do, to avoid over-protective behaviors. The Swedish Vallhund makes a good alarm dog, but should be told to quiet down after they have already given off their warning bark. This breed makes a great companion and can be used for herding and ratting. They also make excellent show and obedience dogs.

Moderate shedding, the Swedish Vallhund doesn't require much grooming. Combing occasionally will suffice. Bathing only when necessary. Dry towel will remove any excess hair or dirt without bathing. Dry shampoo can also be used.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
Swedish Vallhunds are a relatively hardy breed with a few genetic faults that rarely occur, such as CHD (canine hip dysplasia), cryptorchidism, luxated patellas, and retinal dysplasia.  The Swedish Vallhund can live about 12 to 14 years.

Activity Level

Swedish Vallhunds do well in an apartment environment if given proper exercise. The Swedish Vallhund is an active, fun loving dog. Apartment living is fine for this breed. They need to get plenty of exercise but most can be obtained in the house. An active breed, they do not require a fenced yard however does enjoy roaming free. One long daily walk should be enough to keep this rambunctious fellow happy.


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