The Swedish Vallhund
|11-15 Kg (approx)
|16-18 Years (approx)
The appearance of the Swedish Vallhund is a medium sized dog of about 33cms (13”), with a slightly longer body than tall, he is muscular, powerful and robust, with a keen alert attitude. The topcoat is medium short, harsh but closely fitting with a soft woolly undercoat.
The colour of the coat varies from light to dark shades of grey or reddish yellow with lighter shades found on the cheeks, throat, belly, buttocks, feet and hocks. A hallmark of the breed is its distinctive and most desirable facial masking on their cheeks and throat and harness markings near the shoulder and upper arm.
The tail is a distinguishable feature, with many puppies being born without a tail or with a short stump, while others may be born with varying lengths through to a full tail. This genetic bob tail factor is found in many of the breeding lines with approximately fifty percent of puppies in certain lines being born without a tail or with a short stump.
The Swedish Vallhund, or as it is known in Sweden the Västgötaspets, is an ancient breed of dog from the Spitz group of dog’s. They were used as all purpose farm dogs in the flat cattle country of Sweden and mostly found in the West and Southern provinces. With their short legs, agility and speed, they are ideally suited to cattle herding in their Swedish environment.
The history of this breed is steeped in mystery. The Swedish Vallhund has been called ‘the dog of the Vikings’ which dates him back to about the seventh or eighth century.
By the 1940’s, the Swedish Vallhund had almost become extinct, thankfully, two Swedish dog enthusiasts, Karl-Gustav Zettersen, a Swedish school teacher and a breeder of the Scottish terrier and Count Björn Von Rosen, a well known terrier breed Judge, took up the cause to save the breed and have it recognised as a native Swedish breed by the Svensk Kennel Klubben or Swedish Kennel Club. The two gentlemen travelled the Swedish country side to find five females and one male who were suitable breed specimen’s used to redevelop the breed.
The Swedish Vallhund first arrived on Australian soil in January 1981
To fully convey the temperament of the Swedish Vallhund is difficult with one not fully understanding the extent of this breeds personality until you are owned by one. They have a strong herding instinct with a natural ability to herd.
The breed has a sense of humour, with a happy disposition and it is important that he be included in the family activities, as being a principle character.
The Swedish Vallhund is a willing positive, honest worker, who is proud, open and frank. Their physical language is strong, displaying many physical signals of communication, vocally they are chatty often barking to warn of the approach of strangers but many use their voice to communicate with their owners. They love freedom, are intelligent and spirited and do not hesitate to vocalising their joy at being alive.
The breed gets on well with other dogs and children. The dog is larger and more masculine looking than the bitch, but both should be strong and capable of doing a good days work.
Care / Grooming
They are low maintenance with a water resistant coat that repels dirt or mud and do not have a doggy odour.
The adult dog loses its coat at least once a year, generally at a change of seasons such as spring and autumn. It is at these times when grooming is of the most importance, they will lose a lot of hair, so regular daily grooming is recommended to remove the dead hair. At other times grooming your dog should be at least a weekly activity as it assists in maintaining coat and skin care; and provides you with the opportunity to check your dog for any lumps, skin problems and general health changes.
Regularly worming with a quality worming product is recommended as well heartworm protection and flea treatments should be discussed with your veterinary surgeon.
Feed your Swedish Vallhund a balanced diet of fresh meat, bones, chicken and a quality dry food.
The breed is extremely hardy and healthy, living long active lives with few health problems associated with the breed. Consideration should be given to the breed’s limited gene pool; genetic diversity is of importance to maintain genetic health.