The Swedish Vallhund, also referred to as “Westerngothia Spitz Dog”, is a dog breed that was developed for herding and moving cattle over large distances. Despite its small stature, it is powerful and has an overall muscular body with a slightly long head, medium-sized ears, well-developed neck, and short, powerful legs. Its oval-shaped eyes, lips, and nose are dark. While the Vallhund’s tail can be stubby, long, or bobbed, other types like docked and natural are also seen.
Swedish Vallhund Pictures
|Other names||Vastgotaspets, Vallhund, Swedish Shepherd, Swedish cattle dogs|
|Coat||Short or medium in length, harsh; close, tight topcoat; soft, dense undercoat; the head and the anterior part of the legs have short hairs; the chest, neck, and hind legs have longer hairs|
|Color||Reddish-brown, reddish-yellow, gray, grayish-brown; some may have white markings; lighter shades are seen on chest, belly, muzzle, throat, buttock, feet|
|Group of Breed||Herding|
|Lifespan (Life Expectancy)||12-15 years|
|Size and Height||Medium; male: 12.9 inches
female: 12.2 inches
|Temperament||Friendly, intelligent, energetic, alert, fearless|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Country Originated in||Sweden|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||ACA, AKC, ACR, APRI, DRA, KCGB, NAPR, NZKC|
Video: Swedish Vallhunds Playing
The Vallhund is an ancient breed of dog that originated in the Vastergotland county of Sweden during the 8th-9th centuries. It was primarily a farm dog with excellent watching and guarding skills. Legend has it that the Vikings brought this breed to Wales in the 9th century. The Swedish Vallhund is believed to be related to the Lancashire Heeler and the Welsh Corgis.
Back in 1943, the Vastgotaspets earned the breed status from the Swedish Kennel Club. It was registered with the United Kennel Club in 1996 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2007.
Temperament and Behavior
The confident, inquisitive, lively, and even-tempered Swedish Vallhunds love human companionship and are devoted to their families. They are suitable for apartment life because of their calm, responsive, and adaptable nature. However, they should be sufficiently exercised and kept active indoors. They crave attention and will often bark to interact with their owners.
They are a real joy as pets. These dogs, having a humorous and fun loving personality, will always keep their family entertained. Their high level of intelligence makes them suited to problem solving. Being watchful and vigilant, they will sound off an alarm call to warn their owners of a perceived danger.
The Vallhund is very swift, agile, and energetic for its size, requiring plenty of regular activities. Make sure that you take your pet on long leashed-walks every day. Let your dog know that you are its leader by keeping alpha position while walking. Spend time with your pet by engaging it in interactive games like playing Frisbees in the yard. You can also keep it busy indoors by offering plenty of balls, rope toys, and chew toys. Provide it a good mental workout with problem-solving activities involving puzzle toys.
Beyond thorough daily brushing, an occasional bath is recommended to keep its coat in a good condition. Its nails tend to grow fast, and so they should be trimmed 1-2 times a month with a grinder or nail clipper. This will prevent overgrown nails from cracking and splitting. Check its ears frequently to avoid accumulation of wax. Moreover, its teeth should be brushed at least twice or thrice a week.
It is a long-lived, healthy breed with few known health issues including retinopathy (hereditary eye disease) and hip dysplasia (a genetic disease affecting the hip joint). Before adopting a Vallhund puppy from a breeder, check for the health clearances that confirm its parents are healthy and free of these inherited diseases.
This smart and enthusiastic dog enjoys learning new tricks, especially if the training sessions are made more fun for it. Establish your leadership, but be kind and consistent in your approach.
Since it is very vocal, you should teach your pet to control the number of barks. Obedience training with voice commands will help in curbing its unwanted behaviors. Because of its herding instincts, it has the tendency to nip at the heels of people. Use a stern command to correct this behavior.
Early socialization is important for the puppies, as it will help them to grow up to be good family dogs. The properly trained dogs can participate in events like rally obedience, herding, tracking, flyball, dog agility, and showmanship.
The type of food your pet eats depends on its age, size, and lifestyle. You can include premium dry foods in its diet but make sure you divide it into 2-3 smaller meals. Keep the daily amount between 1 and 1.5 cups. Treats should not comprise more than 10 percent of its total diet. Provide plenty of clean and fresh water.
- During the 1940s, the Swedish Vallhunds were nearing extinction but were rescued by Bjorn von Rosen and K.G. Zettersten.
- The national breed club that represents them in the United States is called the Swedish Vallhund Club of America. It was set up in 1987 with the purpose of preserving and supporting this wonderful breed.
- The Vallhund appears on the postage stamps of Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Nicaragua, Tajikistan, Altay, and Mali.