The Swedish Vallhund

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Swedish Vallhund
Weight: 25 — 35 lbs
Height: 13” — 16”
AKC Rank 2008 #147
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group: Herding
Origin: Sweden

Dog Breed Info - The Swedish Vallhund

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Breed Overview

Origin Ancient. Original function: Herding. Today: Companion.

In the days of the Vikings, the Vallhund was known as the “Viningarnas Hund” meaning Viking Dog. In the eight century, the Vallhund was brought to Wales. and the Corgi to Sweden, thus the confusion between the two. The Vallhund has longer legs and a shorter body than the Corgi. Vallhund’s are used to herd sheep and cattle and have done some ratting too. After WWI, the breed was nearly gone. After 1942 there was a major effort to revive the breed. In 1948 the Swedish Kennel Club recognized the breed and it became known at the Vallhund which meant “herding dog.” The increased breeding effort took place in Vastergotland and the breed was named Vastgotaspet after the town. That name is still used today. The first Vallhund’s came to America in 1985 and were recognized by the AKC in 2007.


This Vastgotaspet is trainable but can be stubborn and headstrong. Not known to be problem learners but to be sure, we suggest clicker training and definitely use positive reinforcement. She can learn anything from obedience to agility using the right technique.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Swedish Vallhund puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Swedish Vallhund puppies are relatively easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

Swedish Vallhund
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A friendly, polite and even-tempered breed that makes a great family pet and loves human interaction and plenty of family bonding time. She’s not one to be left alone all day every day. This dog resembles the Cardigan Welsh Corgi in appearance, with short legs. The Swedish Vallhund is foremost a herding dog and tends to nip at the heels of people and especially children in an attempt to herd them from one spot to another. She’s very active, a good, loud-barking watchdog and tries her best to guard the house and family, allowing for her small size. The Vallhund must be well socialized as a puppy and should be raised with other cats and dogs if she is to live with them as an adult. The dog also needs a confident, take command, “pack leader” owner who sees to it the Vallhund is always in a submissive location in the family. That said, this is basically a sweet, devoted companion that needs plenty of exercise and human attention. The main thing about this dog is that it must be kept busy and interested in something constructive.

If you happen to get a Swedish Vallhund with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Usually friendly with dogs, except for other dogs of the same gender.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Does fairly well with other pets but best if raised with cats. This is a pretty easy-going dog.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Not sure about strangers—wary and stand-offish. Not friendly at first.


Very playful, center of attention, a show off at times.


Very affectionate little dog. Needs lots of human interaction.

Good with children?

Very good with older, well-mannered children that have been taught how to behave around dogs. Not too tolerant with normal kids antics. Won’t tolerate pushing, poking, pulling, screaming and rambunctious activity that can come from younger children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. The Swedish Vallhund is a good match for seniors. As long as the senior can walk a distance twice a day and maybe toss a ball for some fetch, this is a loving, affectionate, playful little dog that thrives on attention.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, house, farm or ranch are all okay, providing this dog gets out for walks and play time each day.

A house with a medium size fenced-yard would be nice but NOT necessary. It would be good because the Vallhund should have an off-leash area to play where she can’t run off after squirrels, rabbits or other small animals.

Energy level

Moderate. I’d rate this at 6 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderately high. Two long walks and a game of fetch will do it. Also jogging on leash with you works well too. In between, the dog must be given things to do, such as toys to chew on, an area to investigate and sniff out, a car ride—anything to give her mental stimulation.


Good watchdog, loud bark.

Guard dog

The Swedish Vallhund tries but is too small do be very effective. She will do her best to defend her family and house.


Yes, sheds.


Brush twice weekly with a stiff bristle brush to remove dead hair, oftener when shedding. Bathe only when necessary, as this dries the skin.


Suggested Reading for - Swedish Vallhund
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • 2nd book from the left is "A Dog Who's Always Welcome." This book takes training way beyond normal obedience and into THERAPY DOG territory to give you the best behaved, most welcomed dog you can imagine. Everyone will want your dog to visit them!

  • 3rd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" and is great mental stimulation for dogs. There are things for a dog to do and learn in this dog that I had never imagined.

  • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for every dog owner. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

Swedish Vallhund Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Swedish Vallhund puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
There are NO Swedish Vallhund Breeders listed on any websites I have visited to date. This may be different in your area. Try a search online for "Swedish Vallhund Breeders" (or puppies) and see if you can find something where you are.

Swedish Vallhund Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Swedish Vallhund Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Swedish Vallhund Rescue At the time of this writing, Petfinder is listing only 7 Vallhund's available for adoption in the entire country! That number is subject to change, of course. If you do find one to adopt, try to locate dog health records for possibler future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but plan on searching online for Swedish Vallhund Rescue groups, shelters, clubs or foster homes, as there may be more dogs available to be adopted out there somewhere.

Dog Health Issues For The Swedish Vallhund
Below are listed the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems that have been documented for the Vallhund by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Retinal dysplasia—Caused by trauma, hereditary or damage from an infection.. Abnormal development of the retina with folds in the outer layers.. The folds are small and may not bother the dog, however, larger obstructions can lead to blindness. Retinal dysplasia is a congenital problem that does not necessarily worsen with age.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your Swedish Vallhund has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—(PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision and can l;lead to total blindness if not treated early.

Other health problems could occur with your Swedish Vallhund. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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