Breed Introduction: Swedish Vallhund Dog
The Swedish Vallhund is an intelligent and alert dog. The Swedish Vallhund is energetic, playful and loving. It is an active dog who needs an equally active owner. You can train him for dog sports or give him a job to do around the house, and you will get along fine with him. The Swedish Vallhund is generally healthy, although he can fall victim to a hereditary eye disease called retinopathy. It has medium-length coat which comes in many different colours and combinations.
The Swedish Vallhund — the name means “herding” or “shepherd” dog — is said to descend from dogs of the Vikings, but the truth is, records of dog breeding don’t go back that far. What is known is they were farm dogs in Sweden, used to herd cattle and other livestock, as well as perform other tasks for the landowner such as keeping vermin down or barking an alarm. Known in their homeland as the Vastgotaspets, the dogs were first recognized as a breed by the Swedish Kennel Club in 1943.
The United Kennel Club began registering the breed in 1996, and the American Kennel Club recognized it in 2007.
The Vallhund stands 11.5 to 13.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs 22 to 35 pounds.
This is a confident, lively, and curious dog with an independent streak, but he is loyal to his family and courageous in alerting them to the presence of any strangers or other perceived dangers. The Vallhund is calm and adaptable, making him suited to many different home environments as long as he gets plenty of daily exercise.
The Vallhund’s short legs add to his agility and speed. It is sturdy and muscular and packs a big punch for his size. As a herding breed, he is bred to move flocks long distances so it needs daily exercise in the form of a long walk or hike or training for a dog sport such as agility. If he gets the activity he needs, the Vallhundis happy in any environment.
The breed is highly people-oriented and should never be shunted off to the backyard with little human interaction.
The Vallhund is a double-coated Spitz breed with medium-length hair. The undercoat is soft and dense, protected by a harsh top coat.
The coat comes in a sable pattern of gray to red or combinations of colours in various shades. Ideally, the dog has a mask of lighter hair around the eyes, on the muzzle and under the throat; lighter shades on the chest, belly, rear end, lower legs and feet; and darker hair on the back, neck and sides.