The Swedish Vallhund is a happy-go-lucky dog who has only recently gained popularity in the U.S. Here in the U.S. we’re more familiar with his cousin, the Corgi.
Other names for the Swedish Vallhund include the Swedish Cattle Dog, Swedish Herder Spitz, Vasgotaspets, Vasgota-spitz, and the Vikingarnas Dog.
Ideally, with his activity level, the Swedish Cattle Dog would do well on a farm – especially with that name. However, he can also make a great pet, provided you keep him busy.
The Vallhund Temperament and Personality
Perhaps the most important thing to note about the Swedish Vallhund temperament is that it’s not for everyone – especially first-time dog owners.
He’s a Barker
One thing’s for sure: the Vallhund likes to bark. No one is immune from his bark, from the mail delivery person he sees every day to the dog next door.
While this can be useful if an intruder approaches the premises, it’s rather annoying when it’s all the dog does all day because he catches something out of the corner of his eye. You can train him to be more discriminate with his barking, however, to learn when the appropriate time is to use his bark.
Lively and Energetic
The Vallhund is not, in any way, shape, or form, the kind of dog you get if you’re an inactive person.
He has a higher energy level than many other breeds, and he will simply go out of his mind if you don’t give him a particular task to do.
In other words, if he gets bored, he may resort to destructive chewing, or he may undo all your hard work training him to stop barking unnecessarily.
If he ever becomes destructive start with exercise. Check out our article on exercise and bad behavior to learn why.
Keeping him on his toes all the time can be exhausting, which is why the Vallhund is not a great dog for first-time dog owners.
The Swedish Vallhund is an agile dog who loves anything that challenges his mind or body. He loves hiking with you, or herding animals.
He also loves to play fetch, and you’ll be amazed at how lithe he is as he runs around the yard. This dog can really move!
The Vallhund is a friendly dog. He is polite and welcoming while out on walks when you run into the neighbors and their dogs. In fact, he’s great with other animals in general, which is part of what makes him such a great farm dog.
But make no mistake – he’s also a fantastic watchdog. It’s one thing if he’s out and about, but if you encroach on his property, he will perceive you as a threat and guard his property accordingly.
Else, the Vallhund is a genuinely nice dog who sees no problems with anyone he meets – animal or otherwise.
The Vallhund can be a very independent breed – something he gets from his Spitz ancestors. At times, especially during training, he may even try to manipulate you to get his way. You must establish yourself as the dominant one here, or he will take the opportunity to walk all over you and run with it.
There’s a reason Vallhund owners refer to him as the epitome of a large dog in a tiny body!
However, take solace in the fact that it’s a good thing he’s so stubborn – it’s what makes him a fantastic herder. If he gave up at even the slightest hint of a challenge, he wouldn’t be so great at herding large groups of cattle, would he?
A Brief History of the Swedish Vallhund Breed
The Swedish Vallhund hails from, of course, Sweden – specifically, the county of Västergötland. Experts have traced the first appearance of this breed all the way back to the 8th or 9th century.
Since the beginning, the Vallhund has demonstrated that he is a fantastic watchdog, guard dog, and herder. Some believe he is also related to the Welsh Corgi and Lancashire Heeler we know today.
Swedish Vallhund Training
Training a Swedish Vallhund is relatively easy. That’s because this is one of those breeds who has a strong desire to please you. In fact, it’s a character trait that many people say defines this breed: his willingness to work with his trainer.
The first thing you may want to work on with him is helping him understand when it is okay to bark. Train him that he should only bark when necessary, not when a leaf or blade of glass moves in his direction.
As with any breed, be firm and consistent with the Vallhund. Try to use praise more than treats to prevent overeating and the weight gain that comes from it.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Swedish Vallund dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
The Swedish Vallhund Appearance
Swedish Vallhund Weight and Height
The height of a full-grown Vallhund is about 13 inches high for males and about 12 inches tall for females. A healthy weight for this dog is between 22 and 35 lbs., no matter whether we’re talking about a male or a female.
It is important you keep him to this average weight because obesity comes with its own set of problems – problems you definitely don’t need and can easily avoid, so why not do so?
Swedish Vallund Colors
As far as colors go, the Swedish Vallhund comes in blue, red, black, white, yellow, or grey.
The Swedish Vallhund does well with the occasional brushing. They also shed their undercoats twice a year. Aside from this, though, the Vallhund is a pretty easy dog to groom.
You may want to give him a bath during these times to help remove the excess hair. Shampoo and blow dry him, then brush him.
Otherwise, Swedish Vallhunds don’t need baths all that often. You only really need to give him a bath when he gets dirty or has that “dog” smell.
Because the Swedish Vallhund is a smaller dog, he has a longer lifespan on average – about 12 to 15 years. Thankfully, the Vallhund is a rather healthy dog compared to other breeds. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the clear.
Some common health concerns that can plague this breed include hip dysplasia and eye disease. Specifically, Swedish Vallhunds can suffer from retinopathy, otherwise known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is a hereditary condition that can lead to blindness.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different for your dog. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 15yrs+ without pain and suffering.
Over Feeding and Obesity
You also have to be on the lookout for obesity with this breed. Despite the exercise they get, it is rather easy for this Swedish Cattle Dog to become overweight.
One way to combat this is to avoid giving your dog treats as rewards for training. You can also double-check that you are feeding him the recommended brand of food, and the correct amount of it.
One thing you should never let your dog do is graze. Sure, it might be easier to plop his food dish down once a day and let him eat whenever he wants, but it’s not healthy. Plus, it’s almost impossible to determine whether your dog is eating well or whether he’s slowed down because he’s sick.
Make no mistake, the Vallhund needs his exercise. However, different Vallhunds have different needs, so while one may be okay with moderate exercise, another may require a more vigorous regimen.
This isn’t a dog you would run, per se. This is a dog you exercise. What I mean by this is that he loves to play fetch or engage in sports – anything that really makes his muscles work and tires him out at the end of the day. He especially loves when there’s a goal involved, as this works both his body and his mind.
Swedish Vallhund vs Corgi
The Swedish Vallhund and the Corgi are so alike that people even call the Vallhund a “Wolf Corgi.” Here are some of the main differences between the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Swedish Vallhund:
- The Corgi is a better dog for first-time dog owners.
- The Vallhund is easier to groom.
- The Vallhund is less of a barker than the Corgi.
Finding the Perfect Swedish Vallhund Puppy
Whether you decide to buy a Swedish Vallhund puppy or you’re interested in adoption, you always need to do your research.
When buying a puppy, a good rule of thumb is that a high-quality breeder is more likely to lead to a high-quality puppy. I can’t say it enough: research before you buy! You can use the breeder finder on the American Kennel Club’s website to find recommended breeders in your area.
Avoid going through websites that promise to ship you the puppy. You never know what you are truly getting until he gets there – and then it’s too late. Meeting the puppy – or, even better, the litter he comes from – before you make a commitment to buy is undoubtedly your best bet.
Swedish Vallhund Puppies for Sale
On average, you should expect to pay between $700 and $900 for a Swedish Vallhund puppy. Of course, if you choose to adopt, those fees are drastically less.
But remember, these are only the costs for the dog. You also have to factor in everything the dog needs, which don’t change no matter how you bring him home.
He still needs a leash, collar, and water dishes to start, as well as regular vet visits and monthly food. You can also throw treats and toys in as necessary.
If you go the adoption route, the adoption fee should run you about $150. This covers the cost of neutering and any outstanding shots the dog may need before you can adopt him.
Swedish Vallhund Rescue and Adoption
When it comes to adoption, sure, everyone wants a brand-new puppy. However, there are more adult dogs waiting for love, and everyone passes them over in favor of the younger ones.
If you’re in the market for a Swedish Cattle Dog, consider adopting the adult version. If you think you can handle it, adopting a senior is even better.
Just be aware of the extra costs that can come from the medical care they require, as well as the limited time you have with them. But there are countless senior dogs who you can just see in their faces truly appreciate having a home to call their own in their golden years.
Adopting an adult Swedish Vallhund has its perks for sure. For one thing, adult dogs are more than likely housebroken, so that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about.
Adopting a puppy, on the other hand, means you can start with a clean slate. You don’t have to worry about breaking the puppy of bad behaviors they may have learned from their former owners.
Swedish Vallhund Breeders
You can tell a good Swedish Vallhund breeder by the certifications she carries. A good way to find a reputable one is to check the webpage for the Swedish Vallhund Club of America. They provide a list of breeders you can check out, as well as the guidelines breeders have to follow for inclusion on their list.
If she has proof that she has had the dog checked and cleared for the conditions that tend to plague his breed, then she has done her homework.
When you buy a dog from a breeder you don’t know, a puppy mill, or another seedy source, you have no idea what you’re getting. The dog could even be sick, or aggressive. And unfortunately, there’s no way to know until it’s too late.
Make sure you do your research before you buy a Swedish Vallhund – especially if you’re buying one of the more expensive puppies out there.
A Final Word about the Swedish Vallhund
If you’re in the market for your first dog ever, then the Swedish Vallhund temperament may not be the best match for you. This is because the Vallhund is not the best dog for someone who has never owned a dog before.
His energy level requires more training, socializing, and exercise than a first-time dog owner may be able to handle. However, he is definitely a friendly dog who can also act like a proper watchdog when it counts.
On average, the Swedish Vallhund is a healthy dog, living about 12 to 15 years.