Swedish Vallhund Dog Breed Profile

Table of Contents

An ancient legend of Viking Dogs, the Swedish Vallhund is an intelligent and friendly working dog breed.

The Swedish Vallhund is a small working dog with great herding instincts.

Also known as Västgötaspets (Spitz of the West Goths) in their native land, Swedish Vallhunds primarily helped with herding cattle.

If you plan to adopt a Swedish Vallhund puppy, well, kudos! You’re here and trying to get to know the breed.

This blog can be your ultimate guide about the Swedish Vallhund dog breed.

Below, we’ll discuss the breed’s physical traits, temperament, health care, grooming, and more.

But first, let’s discuss the dog’s origin and history.

Swedish Vallhund

Swedish Vallhund History

The Swedish Vallhund name means “herding” or “shepherd” dog. Many people believe that this dog breed is a descendant of Viking dogs.

In Sweden, it is assumed that they traveled to Wales with Viking raiders.

They also believed that the breed is related to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi since the two breeds share some similarities in appearance and function.

The Vallhund’s main job was to herd and drive cattle.

Moreover, they can also be a watchdog and ratter as they are very useful farm dogs.

But even though they are super useful to farmers, the breed almost went extinct in the 1930s.

Fortunately, Count Bjorn von Rosen and a group of enthusiasts and breeders all bond together to help the Vallhund rise again.

The breed was first recognized by their homeland’s Swedish Kennel Club in 1943.

On the other hand, the United Kennel Club registered the breed in 1996, and finally, the American Kennel Club recognized them in 2007.

Swedish Vallhund Physical Characteristics

The Swedish Vallhund is a short-legged dog of the spitz type. They are a little bit longer than their tail.

Long and low, the Swedish Vallhund stands at 11.5 to 13.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs an average of 22 to 35 pounds.

The Swedish Vallhund has a double coat consisting of a dense and harsh outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat.

The coat is weather-resistant and protects from the elements. It is usually medium in length, with slightly longer hair on the neck, chest, and back of the hind legs.

The breed comes in various colors: gray, red, and grayish-yellow. There may be variations in shades within these color ranges.

The most common color pattern is called “sable,” a mix of dark and light hairs that creates a wolf-like appearance.

The Vallhund has pointed, erect ears that are medium-sized. The ears are mobile and can be raised or folded depending on the dog’s alertness or mood.

The eyes of the Swedish Vallhund are medium-sized, oval-shaped, and dark in color. They have an alert and intelligent expressions.

Swedish Vallhund

Swedish Vallhund Temperament

Now, let’s get right into the breed’s personality.

The Vallhund is smart, alert, and energetic.

Vallhunds are loyal companions, and they love spending time with their families.

Swedish Vallhunds are highly intelligent dogs and are quick learners. They have a natural problem-solving ability and are known for their resourcefulness.

Their intelligence makes these dogs easy to train, and they can adapt to different environments and tasks.

As a herding breed, Swedish Vallhunds have a strong instinct to guard and protect their family.

They are naturally watchful and attentive, making them excellent watchdogs.

They will alert their owners if they sense something interesting, suspicious, or unusual.

Swedish Vallhunds have a confident and self-assured nature. They are not typically prone to shyness or fearfulness.

This confidence contributes to their ability to handle new situations and environments with ease.

Living with a Swedish Vallhund

Vallhunds are generally friendly and sociable dogs.

They are known to form strong bonds with their families and enjoy spending time with them.

They are often good with children and can get along with other pets if properly socialized.

Generally, Vallhunds love children. However, watch out for their herding instincts, which can motivate them to nip at their feet and ankles.

As pet owners, we must supervise all interactions between the children and the dog, no matter the breed, to prevent harm from both parties.

Teach your children how to approach and touch dogs properly. Teach them never to approach a dog while he’s eating or sleeping.

Remember that a child should never be left unsupervised with a dog, no matter how sociable and friendly.

Like other pets, Vallhunds, including cats, are usually friendly toward them!

As long as you’ve properly socialized them (especially early), they’ll enjoy having other pets in the house.

Swedish Vallhund Swimming

Exercise and Training

Like most herding dog breeds, the Swedish Vallhund is full of energy.

That means we’ll have to burn these excess energies daily through exercise and mental stimulation.

Even though this breed isn’t intended to run all day, they are still herding or working farm dogs that need regular exercise.

Schedule a 45-minute walk daily, or play fetch or engage in different dog sports.

This exercise routine can not only help maintain their health, but it can also be your special time with Fido to strengthen your bond.

On the other hand, these working dogs can think and act independently. That means owners should try to build a strong bond with Vallhunds.

When training a Swedish Vallhund, consistency and positive reinforcement are essential.

Early socialization with other animals and people is key. This can help them prepare for different environments in the future.

Swedish Vallhund Health Care

Generally, Swedish Vallhund is a healthy dog breed. Their life expectancy is about 12 to 15 years!

Sadly, Vallgunds can be prone to health issues like any other breed.

Owners should schedule regular visits to the veterinarian to keep their health in check.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition wherein the socket of the joint and ball becomes distorted.

Due to their large stature, their mass stresses their lower body areas, especially in their joints.

When diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it’s essential to keep their weight in the normal range and have them exercise with activities that promote joint therapy.

Veterinarians may prescribe medications for anti-inflammatory, pain relievers, and supplements.

Swedish Vallhund Retinopathy

A Vallhund Retinompathy is a form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy found in Swedish Vallhunds.

Swedish Vallhund retinopathy impacts the sensitive tissue at the back of the eyeball.

In the early stages of this disease, a dog may have a problem seeing in dim light or have night blindness.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degenerative disease that affects the eye’s rod and cone cells, leading to blindness.

It is an inherited disease, and it’s known for it has no treatment.

Some dogs show symptoms as early as 18 months of age, while others may exhibit symptoms later. It can progress quickly from a year or two.

PRA is also common in Australian Cattle dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, and Poodles.

If a Swedish Vallhund is suspected of having inherited PRA, it’s best not to breed them as it is an inherited disease.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation occurs when the patella moves its alignment out of the femur. Similar to the conditions above.

Like the ones above, patellar luxation is a hereditary disorder in dogs.

This can range from high to low levels of luxation, and each requires different treatments.

Symptoms may include skipping and kicking off the leg.

It’s best to contact the vet for treatments, therapies, or procedures to help your puppy with this condition.

If your Swedish Vallhund has been diagnosed with patellar luxation, it should never be bred anymore.

It’s best not to bring these despairing conditions to their offspring.

Swedish Vallhund Dog Breed


Grooming is also an essential part of caring for dogs.

Luckily, grooming a Swedish Vallhund is relatively straightforward since they have a low-maintenance coat.

The Vallhund has a double coat consisting of a dense, harsh outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat.

Regular brushing, at least once or twice a week, will help remove loose hair, prevent matting, and keep the coat pristine.

They do not require frequent baths unless they play in the mud, where they’ll get particularly dirty or smelly.

Bathing every 2-3 months or as needed is generally good. 

Check and clean their ears regularly to prevent any problems.

Use a veterinarian-recommended ear-cleaning solution and gently wipe the outer part of the ear with a cotton ball or cloth. 

Regular dental care is crucial for Vallhunds. Regular teeth cleaning is important to prevent dental problems.

Daily brushing is recommended to avoid tartar buildup and remove bacteria lurking inside their mouths.

Keep their nails short by trimming them regularly.

When trimming their nails, a good rule is never to let them touch the ground.

Vallhund Chilling in the Sofa

Frequently Asked Questions About the Swedish Vallhund

Is a Swedish Vallhund a corgi?

No, they are two completely different breeds.

Although they have many physical similarities, they are not genetically closely related.

The Swedish Vallhund is a member of the Spitz family dog breeds.

Are Swedish Vallhunds good family dogs?

Generally, Swedish Vallhunds are great with children and other animals, especially if they grew up together.

Vallhunds have a very active, energetic, and social personality. They are also smart, affectionate, and loyal companions.

Can Swedish Vallhunds swim?

Most Vallhunds love the water, and they are fond of swimming.

However, remember that every dog is unique, and some dogs will take hard work and consistent training to get them to set foot in the water.

Two Vallhunds

Swedish Vallhund Dog Breed Profile: Summary

The Swedish Vallhund is such an amazing breed.

Vallhunds are herding or working dogs with high intelligence and lots of energy.

The Swedish Vallhund is a well-built, agile dog with a confident and expressive appearance.

Its physical characteristics make it well-suited for its original purpose as a herding and working dog.

If you plan to adopt a Swedish Vallhund puppy, know they love to work!

Training is a must, and it’ll be awesome to consider them for dog sports or jobs they can do around the house.

Mental stimulation is important for a dog like the Swedish Vallhund.

Also, remember that these dogs are great for owners with a large and secure garden or space.

This can help with training and their much-needed daily exercise.

These dogs are not for couch potatoes. Their energy levels are best suited for active people who have experienced dog ownership before.

If you love to jog, hike, or go for long walks, consider adopting a Swedish Vallhund.


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