The Swedish Vallhund was originally crossed with the native artic wolf and the domesticated dogs from the south, which included Corgis, breeding them for herding, hunting, herd protection and idyllic companionship. Though by 1942, their popularity had simply declined and the Viking-age Swedish Vallhund would have gone extinct were it not for the efforts of Bjorn Von Rosen and K. G. Zetterstein. These two men scoured the Swedish countryside during WWII on bicycles looking for the last of the breed. They discovered three females (Topsy—their favorite and most prized, along with Lessi and Vivi) and one male sire (Mopsen) to replenish the ancient line.
Swedish Vallhund APPEARANCE
Male Swedish Vallhunds are usually between 12.5-13.75 inches tall, while females are generally between 11.5-12.75 inches tall, and a height to length ratio of 2:3.
Both males and females generally weigh between 20-35 pounds. Their easy to care for topcoats are medium, harsh and tight with soft, dense undercoat. Their marking are either sable or white, with their coats ranging in color from: Blue; Grey; Greyish Brown; White; Greyish Yellow; to Reddish Brown. And they are super shedders!
A perfect combination of size, build and coloring makes the Swedish Vallhund. A jet black nose, tucked up belly, and long, lean head, as well as medium, but pointed ears, a long, strong, muscular neck, and a natural tendency to be born with no tail, a stub tail or curl tail, makes them appear alert and ready—which they are.
Known also as the Swedish Cattle dog or Vastagotaspets (Spitz of the West Goths), the Swedish Vallhund looks similar to a Corgi, but has a square muzzle and flattened skull. They are short enough to avoid the kick of cattle, quick enough to herd the fastest livestock, and strong enough to help track or keep going all day long and as long as they are needed.
TEMPERAMENT AND PERSONALITY:
For a herding dog, Swedish Vallhunds have a long life expectancy of 12-15 years. In those years, they will show patience, hardiness, bravery, eagerness or willingness to learn and please, as well as be watchful, loyal companions. As such, a quiet, sedentary life would be an injustice to this breed, as they require lots of exercise, which means they require a very active owner. The Swedish Vallhund does poorly as an only dog, or if left home alone and they will certainly bark with boredom, so apartment living probably is not the best option for them. That, and a companion dog is albeit necessary for them to maintain a good, happy life.
If trained and socialized well, the Swedish Vallhund will do well in car rides, traveling, with cats or kids. However, they do have a few bad behaviors that can rear up, so make sure to correct any heel nipping right away otherwise interactions with playing, running children or when chasing other pets may become an unpleasant one. Just the same, they are often described as protective, but not aggressive.
That being said, the Swedish Vallhund is also very affectionate, intelligent and trainable, with a giant personality on a small set of legs. They are great with strangers, good watchdogs, but are the consummate farmhand cattle dog. Give them a task, cure their boredom, make them have to think about what they are doing, and they will be well-behaved dogs. For the Swedish Vallhund, a busy life is a rewarding and happy life.
CARING FOR Swedish Vallhund
Now we’ll show you how to properly care for a Swedish Vallhund.
The Swedish Vallhund has a tendency to become overweight, so a high quality diet that is appropriate for their age, weight and size is necessary. They may not actually require as much food as you think, so free feeding is not a great idea, as it will only contribute to overeating, obesity and potentially, diabetes. Keeping the Swedish Vallhund on a healthy, lean diet will help protect their joints, and clean, fresh water is an absolute must. Also, make regular check-ups with a veterinarian to make sure they are getting enough nutrients for a long, healthy life.
Swedish Vallhunds require both mental and physical exercise. Because they are so intelligent, if they are not well stimulated throughout the day, they can develop bad habits. They also require a daily regimen of exercise and some require more than others, but it just takes some paying attention to your dog to understand their needs. Constant fatigue, excessively seeing their ribs could mean that either they aren’t eating enough or that they are too active. A good trip to the Veterinarian so they can check out their joints, tendons and muscles will give you a better indication of what works best for your dog.
Starting off with a dog that is eager to please and friendly means that training will be easier with the Swedish Vallhund than with other, less agreeable dogs. Positive reinforcement also goes a long way, at least a lot farther than negativity. They do well with gushing words of praise, treats and even clickers. If heel nipping is an issue, growling at them to let them know the behavior is bad will do far more than yelling at them. Also, teaching them to speak or bark on command will help out a lot, as the Swedish Vallhund is just simply a talkative breed.
The Swedish Vallhund is an extremely healthy dog, and with few health problems in general, but there are a few things to look out for:
- Hip Dysplasia (a malformation of the hip that causes arthritis)
- Swedish Vallhund Retinopathy (degenerative eye condition that can cause reduced vision and an increase in potential cataracts)
- Patellar Luxation (dislocated kneecap)
Dogs require regular grooming to promote health and wellness. Brushing and baths should be done on a regular basis. Regular nail care isn’t just about short nails, but also about maintaining foot and pad health. With a tendency towards hip dysplasia, good nail (foot and pad) care can help out later in life. Not only that, dental hygiene helps promote clean, healthy teeth and gums. Any loss of teeth can mean damage to internal organs, but a potential for a shorter lifespan! So, a steady regimen of hair and teeth brushing can only be helpful to the health and happiness of your Swedish Vallhund.
The easiest health problem to prevent is obesity. Right from the start, if you develop a good program of stimulation and exercise, proper feeding and good nutrition, you will have ensured that your Swedish Vallhund lives a happy, healthy life.