The Swedish Vallhund: Your complete guide!

The Swedish Vallhund, a charming and lively breed, known for its unwavering loyalty and distinctive appearance, has earned its place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts and families. With its Swedish origins, adorable physical features, and a unique set of temperament traits, this breed is celebrated as an affectionate and versatile companion with a rich history.

Swedish Vallhund portrait
Caring | Spitz | Energetic
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    Everything you need to know about the Swedish Vallhund!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed ConceptionAncient
    Country of OriginSweden
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)20-35 lbs (9-16 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)20-30 lbs (9-14 kg)
    Coat TypeShort double coat
    Color VariationsVarious colors and patterns
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Height (cm & in)11-13 inches (28-33 cm)
    Breed SizeSmall to medium
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsRegular exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveModerate
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Eye Issues, Heart Conditions
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)12-15 years
    Make sure to take care of your Swedish Vallhund and

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    History of the Swedish Vallhund

    The Swedish Vallhund’s history is one of Viking heritage and herding in Sweden. These dogs have served as herders and companions to the Vikings, herding cattle and guarding homesteads.

    Their name, “Vallhund,” refers to their role as herders. Swedish Vallhunds are known for their energetic nature and herding instincts.

    Today, they are celebrated for their herding abilities and their role as family pets. They embody the spirit of Viking-era working dogs.

    What makes the Swedish Vallhund so special?

    Swedish Vallhund standing

    The Swedish Vallhund is special for its corgi-like appearance and adaptability. These dogs have a history of herding cattle and guarding homes. Their loyalty and versatility make them excellent working dogs and cherished family members.

    Swedish Vallhunds have a tradition as herding dogs in Sweden. Their agility and herding instincts made them exceptional at managing and protecting livestock. They were known for their intelligence and loyalty. Today, they continue to serve as reliable working dogs and cherished family pets, embodying their tradition as dependable companions.

    Swedish Vallhunds are known for their spirited and energetic personalities. They have a history of herding cattle and guarding homes in Sweden.

    Their energy and agility make them excellent herders, and they have a loving and loyal nature. Swedish Vallhunds are characterized by their energy, devotion, and a playful disposition, epitomizing the ideal blend of vitality and companionship.

    Swedish Vallhunds are affectionate and alert. They are typically good with children and other pets but may be reserved with strangers. Early socialization is important for a well-adjusted temperament.

    Mental and physical exercise is crucial for their well-being.

    Swedish Vallhunds are small to medium-sized dogs with a well-proportioned and agile build. They have a fox-like head with expressive eyes and pointed, erect ears.

    They have a double coat with a dense, weather-resistant outer coat. Coat colors typically include shades of gray, red, sable, or yellow with distinct harness markings. Their tail is often naturally bobbed.

    Males typically stand between 11.5 to 13 inches (29-33 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 20 to 35 pounds (9-16 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    Swedish Vallhunds have a lively and alert presence, reflecting their role as herding and working dogs.

    Swedish Vallhunds often have coat colors such as sable, gray, or red with white markings. They may not have distinct coat colors.

    Swedish Vallhunds often have coat colors such as sable, gray, or red with white markings without distinct coat patterns.

    Swedish Vallhunds have a low to moderate shedding level. They shed year-round with seasonal variations. Regular grooming and brushing are important to control shedding and maintain their coat.

    Swedish Vallhunds have a short, double coat that requires minimal grooming. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Occasional brushing with a slicker brush is sufficient to remove loose fur and maintain coat health.

    2. Bathing: Bathe Swedish Vallhunds when necessary using a dog-specific shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly with a veterinarian-recommended solution to prevent wax buildup or infections.

    4. Nails: Keep their nails trimmed to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be beneficial.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    Swedish Vallhunds have a moderate activity level and thrive on both physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: Swedish Vallhunds require daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. Activities can include walks, playtime, and interactive tasks.

    2. Energy Level: They have a moderate energy level, especially when young. Regular exercise helps prevent restlessness.

    3. Herding Heritage: Historically, Swedish Vallhunds were bred for herding and protecting livestock. They excel in activities like obedience training, agility, and herding trials.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, mental challenges through training and interactive games are important to keep them mentally sharp.

    5. Family Companions: They make good family pets and enjoy spending time with their human companions.

    Swedish Vallhunds are highly intelligent dogs known for their problem-solving abilities and adaptability. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: Swedish Vallhunds are trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement-based training.
    2. Problem-Solving: They excel in problem-solving skills, making them effective herders and working dogs.
    3. Adaptability: They adapt well to different living environments and routines.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically, they were used as herders, where their intelligence and herding skills were highly valued.
    5. Social Intelligence: They form strong bonds with their families and are perceptive about human emotions.

    Swedish Vallhunds’ intelligence makes them effective working dogs and loyal companions when provided with proper training and mental stimulation.

    Swedish Vallhunds are intelligent and need mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training and activities that challenge their minds to keep them sharp.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety or destructive behavior, so provide companionship and attention.

    Exercise: Mental exercise is equally important. Offer them tasks that challenge their problem-solving skills.

    Training and Obedience: Swedish Vallhunds benefit from obedience training and activities that engage their minds. Consistent, positive-reinforcement training is effective in shaping their behavior.

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    What to look out for, before you get a Swedish Vallhund!

    Swedish Vallhund walking in forests alone

    If you’re considering a Swedish Vallhund, here are important factors to know:

    1. Activity Level: Swedish Vallhunds are active and require regular exercise and mental stimulation.

    2. Training Needs: They are intelligent and benefit from consistent training and socialization to prevent behavioral issues.

    3. Space: Swedish Vallhunds need space to move around comfortably, making them better suited for homes with yards.

    4. Shedding: They have a moderate shedding level, and regular grooming can help manage their coat.

    5. Herding Instinct: Be prepared for their natural herding behaviors and tendencies.

    Swedish Vallhunds, known for their herding abilities, may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Herding Instinct: Swedish Vallhunds have a strong herding instinct, which may lead to chasing or nipping at people or other animals. Proper training is essential to manage this behavior.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure Swedish Vallhunds are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach Swedish Vallhunds appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves being aware of the dog’s behavior and taking necessary precautions in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): Swedish Vallhunds are generally not subject to BSL, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    Swedish Vallhunds are often good with children. They are affectionate and may form strong bonds with kids. Their herding background may make them try to herd children, but this behavior is generally manageable with training and socialization.

    Swedish Vallhunds are often good swimmers, and their coat colors do not hinder their swimming ability. Their agility and athleticism often make them proficient in the water. Many may enjoy swimming, but individual comfort levels and preferences for water activities can vary. Always supervise them when they are in or around water.

    1. Early Training: Start training your Swedish Vallhund puppy as early as possible. Puppies are like sponges, and their ability to learn is at its peak during their early months.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to a wide range of people, animals, and environments to help them become well-adjusted adults. Socialization is crucial for reducing fear and aggression.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and toys, to reward and reinforce good behavior. This approach is effective and builds a strong bond between you and your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Be consistent with your training methods and commands. Use the same cues and rewards consistently to avoid confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it.” These commands are the building blocks of obedience and safety.
    6. House Training: Be patient and consistent when house training your Swedish Vallhund puppy. Establish a routine for bathroom breaks and praise them when they eliminate outside.
    7. Crate Training: Crate training can be a valuable tool for housebreaking and providing a safe space for your puppy. Make the crate a positive and comfortable place.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to develop good social skills. Puppy classes and playdates can be helpful.
    9. Exercise and Play: Swedish Vallhund puppies have energy to burn. Ensure they get enough exercise and playtime to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
    10. Chewing: Provide appropriate chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and prevent them from chewing on furniture or belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training takes time, and puppies may not grasp commands immediately. Be patient and persistent, and avoid punishment-based training methods.
    12. Professional Training: If you encounter challenges or need additional guidance, consider enrolling your puppy in a professional training class led by a qualified dog trainer.

    Remember that Swedish Vallhund puppies, like all puppies, are eager to please and learn. Positive and consistent training practices will help them become well-behaved, obedient, and happy adult dogs. Building a strong and trusting bond with your puppy through training is a rewarding experience for both you and your canine companion.

    Swedish Vallhunds are often moderate in terms of noisiness. They may bark or use vocalizations when herding or alerting their owners to potential dangers, but they are not excessively loud.

    Swedish Vallhunds are adaptable dogs that can thrive in various living conditions. Here are the best conditions for their well-being:

    1. Active or Inactive Homes: Swedish Vallhunds adapt well to both active and less active households. They are content with regular walks and play, making them suitable for apartments or homes with yards.
    2. Socialization: Early socialization is essential to help them develop into well-adjusted dogs. Homes with opportunities for interaction with people and other pets are beneficial.
    3. Mental Stimulation: Their intelligence shines when they have access to activities that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys and obedience training.


    1. Lack of Exercise: Insufficient exercise can lead to restlessness and potentially destructive behavior.
    2. Isolation: They may become anxious when left alone for long periods, so they do best in homes where they receive attention and companionship.

    Traveling with Swedish Vallhunds involves these considerations:

    1. Exercise Needs: Vallhunds require regular exercise. Plan for breaks and playtime during travel.
    2. Size: They are a small to medium-sized breed. Ensure their comfort and safety with suitable travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some Swedish Vallhunds may experience travel anxiety. Gradual introduction to travel and familiar items can help alleviate stress.
    4. Air Travel: Choose airlines with pet-friendly policies and suitable crate requirements for air travel.
    5. Identification: Keep proper identification on your Swedish Vallhund during travel.

    Swedish Vallhunds are generally healthy, but they may be prone to certain health concerns, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Patellar Luxation: A condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position.
    • Eye Conditions: Vallhunds can be prone to certain eye issues.

    Proper nutrition is essential for Swedish Vallhunds. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Swedish Vallhunds.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) may affect Swedish Vallhunds in certain areas, and owners should be aware of these regulations. BSL is typically enacted at the local level, and the restrictions can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Here are some common types of BSL restrictions that Swedish Vallhunds may encounter:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Some areas may require owners of Swedish Vallhunds to spay or neuter their dogs under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licenses for Swedish Vallhund owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of Swedish Vallhunds may be required to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In specific regions, BSL may dictate that Swedish Vallhunds be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of Swedish Vallhunds altogether in certain areas.

    The rationale for BSL is often based on concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds, including Swedish Vallhunds. However, it’s important to note that Swedish Vallhunds are not inherently aggressive, and BSL may affect them due to their physical resemblance to breeds sometimes included in these laws.

    BSL is a contentious subject, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding Swedish Vallhunds in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a Swedish Vallhund.

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    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The Swedish Vallhund

    Myth 1: Swedish Vallhunds are Always Corgis

    Truth: Swedish Vallhunds are a separate breed with their own history and characteristics. They are not a type of Corgi.

    Myth 2: They are Low-Energy Dogs

    Truth: Swedish Vallhunds are active and require regular exercise and playtime. They thrive on physical and mental stimulation.

    Swedish Vallhunds, known for their herding abilities and history, may not have as many widely recognized famous individuals. They excel in herding and working roles, particularly in Sweden and other regions.

    • Herding and Working Dogs: Swedish Vallhunds have a background in herding and working roles, excelling in herding and guarding tasks.
    • Companionship: They are appreciated as loyal and affectionate family pets.
    • Swedish Heritage: Swedish Vallhunds are recognized as a part of Swedish cultural heritage and have a presence in Swedish culture.

    Swedish Vallhunds have been owned by farmers and individuals in Sweden. Specific historical owners may not be widely documented, but these dogs have played a vital role in herding and companionship in their native country.

    Swedish Vallhunds, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s exercise needs and herding instincts can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: Swedish Vallhunds are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Herding Instincts: They have strong herding instincts that may lead to chasing or nipping behavior if not properly managed through training.
    4. Exercise Needs: These dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent restlessness and destructive behavior due to their high energy levels.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Swedish Vallhunds may struggle in extremely hot weather. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to protect their dogs from heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: Swedish Vallhunds may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Training Needs: Proper training is important to manage their herding instincts and to provide mental stimulation for the breed.
    9. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure Swedish Vallhunds are well-adjusted around strangers and other dogs.
    10. Coat Care: Their double coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain skin health.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of Swedish Vallhunds.

    The Swedish Vallhund, also known as the Västgötaspets, is a Swedish herding breed. Its development involved the Viking dogs brought to Sweden. Over centuries, the breed was selectively bred for herding and working in the Swedish countryside.

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    Why you're going to love the Swedish Vallhund

    The Swedish Vallhund is a breed known for its herding abilities and spirited personality. They excel in herding and companionship roles, captivating dog enthusiasts with their unique characteristics and affectionate nature.

    Owning a Swedish Vallhund involves providing mental and physical stimulation, grooming, and regular veterinary care. Responsible ownership includes addressing potential health concerns and nurturing their herding instincts through training.

    With their expressive eyes and lively demeanor, Swedish Vallhunds continue to capture the hearts of those who appreciate their distinct traits and loyal companionship.

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