Thanks to the Swedish Vallhund, or in another way, the Swedish cattle dog, it becomes clear that neither height nor weight is important for a real, working shepherd dog. After all, this short-legged dog once perfectly coped with whole herds, destroyed hordes of rats and guarded both livestock and dwellings. And besides, the Swedish Vallhundhas always been an excellent companion, loyal and loyal. Unfortunately, today the breed is not very widespread, however, true connoisseurs of these amazing Spitz are engaged in maintaining it and preserving the unique breed qualities and exterior.
Today the Swedish Vallhund are mostly companion dogs, although they have not lost their herding instinct. Dogs are similar to the Welsh Corgi, but there is no reliable data on their genetic similarity.
The Swedish Vallhund is an ancient, national breed of dog in Sweden, the appearance of which can date back to the 8th or 9th century. They originated in the county of Vestra Gotaland, which is located just south of Lake Venern.
This small dog was perfect for observation, guarding and grazing. This breed is believed to have played a role in the development of the modern Welsh Corgi and Lancashire Healer.
Another theory for the origin of the breed is that during the eighth or ninth century, either the Swedish Vallhund was introduced to Wales or the corgi were taken to Sweden, hence the similarities between the two breeds.
Swedish Vallhund dogs were common in Sweden until World War I, when their numbers declined rapidly. Over the next two decades, this breed almost became extinct.
Count Bjorn von Rosen, a member of the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK), saved the day and was already working to save other Swedish breeds, including the Swedish Laika, from extinction.
He began to collect the remaining dogs and created the first breed nursery. At the same time, he wrote articles about the Swedish Vallhund for the large Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, helping to increase the popularity of this breed.
It took years for the Scandinavian Kennel Club to recognize the breed in 1943 or 1948. (sources vary in dates). But on the other hand, the International Cynological Federation (ICF) recognized the breed quite quickly and already in 1954 it was assigned to the group of Spitz and primitive breeds, to the subgroup of northern guard and herding dogs.
Today the Swedish Vallhund dogs live in the USA, Russia, Sweden, Great Britain, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland.
Swedish Vallhund breed description
The Swedish Vallhund were used as cattle dogs, and they did it very well. Already at that time, the selection of dogs was carried out exclusively for working qualities, and the breeders did not pay special attention to the exterior. So, the modern representative of the breed does not have a bright appearance and is more attracted by its character and excellent physical data.
If you look at the standard, then the Swedish Vallhund is a physically strong, medium-sized, stocky dog, brave, with a lively character. At one glance, it is clear that the Vallhund is bold, attentive, energetic. The weight of the breed does not depend on gender, it varies from 9 to 14 kg. The growth of males is 31.5-34.5 cm, of females – 29.5-32.5 cm. But it is worth considering that the expert commission takes into account the dimensions only after assessing the proportionality of the addition of the individual.
The standard describes the dog as follows:
The head is in the form of an elongated wedge, when viewed from the side it is blunt, the silhouette is symmetrical, even, the lines are clear. The forehead is wide, flattened, the stop is well defined. The lips are moderately thick, tight-fitting, fully pigmented.
The jaws are strong, with a full complement of teeth forming a regular, scissor bite. Lobe of deep black color, with well-open nostrils.
The eyes are oval, small, the iris is colored dark brown.
The ears are medium in size, hard, thick, set low, rounded at the ends. The ear cartilage is triangular.
The body is stocky, with a visually elongated neck, set at a natural angle and oval in cross section. The withers are moderately expressed, passing into a flat line of the back and a muscular, straight loin. The croup is shortened, with neatly rounded lines and sloping, but all proportions are preserved.
The sternum is elongated, oval in shape, dropping just below the elbow joints, moderately wide, with well-arched ribs. The groin line is tucked up, but without excessive dryness.
The limbs have a pronounced, strong bone, natural set with a slight bevel. The anterior ones are stable, with oblique shoulder blades and shortened forearms. The elbows and shoulders are close to the sternum, but free during movement. Pasterns without eversion, are firm and flexible. The rear ones are set slightly wider than the front ones. The thighs are well muscled and in proportion. The lower legs are longer than the metatarsus, the hocks are not heavy, parallel. The brushes are of medium size, shortened, oval type, collected in a lump. The pads are covered with strong, thick skin, the nails are dark pigmented, strong.
The tail can be naturally short or of natural length, not docked. When assessing its size, they do not pay attention, it is important that it does not have creases, it rushes confidently.
Behaviour and character traits of the Swedish Vallhund dog
Swedish Vallhund are “big dogs in small bodies” because, despite their size, they are strong and fearless.
They are also excellent family dogs and companions; love people and are friendly, gentle and loyal. They want to be involved in family affairs and should not be left alone for too long. Get along well with children, but you need to socialize the dog early, especially with very young children.
Swedish Vallhund dogs get along well with pets, especially if they communicate with them from an early age. They tend to get along well with other dogs and love to play with them, but may chase away dogs they don’t know. They are less likely to get along with dogs of the same sex.
They make good guard dogs because they are alert and alert, brave and ready to protect their families. They will bark long and loudly at everything strange, from strangers to things that make noise in the night. In fact, you will need to train your Swedish Vallhund not to bark, as they tend to overdo it.
In general, Swedish Vallhund training is not difficult because they are smart and eager to please. They learn commands quickly and enjoy whatever task you give them. However, keep in mind that they behave like puppies until they are four years old.
When raising a dog, you must exercise leadership by setting and enforcing rules and restrictions, but always with positive reinforcement. Vallhund wants and needs you to take the lead in the pack. If you don’t, you may end up with a pet that tries to take responsibility for your family, distrusts strangers, and behaves aggressively towards other dogs.
Swedish Vallhund dogs are energetic, both physical and mental. They are always ready to play and learn from you. If their needs for mental and physical stimulation remain unmet, they can become destructive.
If you give them enough exercise, including daily walks, then they can live comfortably in a small apartment.
On average, the Swedish Vallhund lives from 12 to 14 years, and if the dog is purebred, with good genes and receives proper care, then he may not get sick at all until old age. Most of the diseases of Swedish Vallhund dogs are pathologies of a hereditary nature, therefore, future owners are advised to purchase a puppy in a good nursery, which provides documents that the parents of the offspring do not suffer from genetic diseases.
Most older dogs have a weak point in the eyes, and although a Swedish Vallhund with good genetics is not prone to developing cataracts or glaucoma, retinal atrophy or multifocal retinopathy may develop with age.
In addition, a squat physique, which is a breed feature, in an older Swedish Vallhund can cause various diseases of the musculoskeletal system, and most often it is dysplasia of large joints.
The list of diseases transmitted by inheritance also includes the following pathologies:
The Swedish Vallhund is one of the most unpretentious pets. The dog is combed out infrequently, 3-4 times a month, only during molting the number of procedures will have to be increased.
It is not recommended to bathe representatives of this breed often, as this will negatively affect the quality of the coat and the condition of the skin, deprive them of their natural protective lubricant. It is enough to wash your pet 3-4 times a year. To keep the coat clean longer, it is advisable to wear a special raincoat on your pet during rainy weather.
The rest of the care includes standard hygiene procedures:
- Teeth are naturally strong and white, and they remain so until the very old years, if they are regularly cleaned from plaque and tartar. As a preventive measure, you can give the dog from time to time large beef bones or dentological treats;
- Claws – if the owner regularly walks his pet and spends at least one and a half hours a day on this, then the dog’s claws are erased by themselves, otherwise they should be cut with a claw cutter;
- Eyes – constantly inspect for accumulations in the corners of dirt and tear fluid, if contamination is found, they should be cleaned using a decoction of chamomile;
- Ears – when dirt and plaque appear, you can wipe them with a damp cloth, but so that the liquid does not get into the ear canal.
The Swedish Vallhund must be able to practice at least one daily exercise, even if he can do much more! It is a very versatile breed that responds well to new challenges: from driving sheep to agility tests.
The Swedish Vallhund cannot be called fussy – he will eat whatever is in his bowl. But the owner should remember that the health and life expectancy of his four-legged friend depends on nutrition.
With natural feeding, the Swedish Vallhund must necessarily receive food containing animal protein – meat and offal, a couple of times a week they can be replaced with marine lean fish. The by-products are pre-boiled, while the meat is given raw or scalded with boiling water. It is useful to give the dog a raw tripe.
The pet’s menu should also contain vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy products (cottage cheese, kefir), cereals, seasoned with vegetable oil. Fish oil or flax oil can be used as a nutritional supplement. You should not treat your pet with food from your table, and even more so do not give him pickles, marinades, smoked meats, flour and confectionery products.
In winter and spring, it is recommended to give the Swedish Vallhund vitamin and mineral complexes. On this issue, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.
The owner can feed the dog with industrial diets, but it must be a premium or super premium quality product suitable for active small dogs.
Swedish Vallhund Dog Breed Highlights
- The Swedish Vallhund makes a wonderful pet and a good companion.
- It is incredibly faithful to his family.
- This dog is very smart and in good hands, easy to train being very responsive.
- It is known to be a healthy breed that enjoys a long life.
- It has an easy-care coat that does not need to be cut.
- The Swedish Vallhund is known for being a very good watchdog.
- The Swedish Vallhund thrives on human society and hates being alone.
- It is suffering from separation anxiety.
- It is a very energetic dog who needs many daily physical exercises and mental stimulation.
- The Swedish Vallhund has a strong sense of prey.
- It is not the best choice for new owners.
- It is best for households with secure, well-fenced back gardens.
- The Swedish Vallhund is known to be a “barker”