Swedish Vallhund

"The Big Dog with Short Legs"

Photo of Swedish Vallhund


Little is known of the Swedish Vallhund's early history, but the breed may have been around since Viking times, when it was known as the Vikingarnas dog. It was used as an all-around farm dog, herding cattle, controlling vermin, and acting as watchdog. Bypassed in the late nineteenth century rush to locate breeds for dog showing, it remained a dog of the people. But by 1942, the breed was virtually extinct. It was saved when it found two men to champion it. Count Bjorn Von Rosen and Karl Gustav Zettersten scoured the countryside, finally locating one male and three females from which to revive the breed. The men also petitioned the Swedish Kennel Club to recognize them, which they did as the Svensk Vallhund, which translates as “Swedish herding dog.” Decades later the name was changed to Vastgotaspets, after Vastergotland, the Swedish province where the revived breeding program began. The first Swedish Vallhunds came to America in the mid-1980s. In 2006, the AKC admitted the breed into the Miscellaneous Class, where, because of an enthusiastic breeder base, it spent only a brief period before entering the Herding group in June 2007.


The Vallhund is an alert, active, playful dog, always ready to join in whatever adventure you have in mind. He's devoted to family, especially good with children, and friendly to strangers. He's generally good with other dogs and pets. He makes an excellent watchdog, sounding the alarm but not yapping without reason. He's also a courageous and loyal dog, standing up for his family.


At first glance he might look like a Corgi gone wrong, but he'slonger-legged with a slender build. His head is rather long and lean, forming a wedge from the skull to the nose tip, and he has oval eyes and pointed ears, which are smaller than those of the Corgi, and set at the outer edge of his skull. His topline is level, and his tail may be long, stub, or bob, shown natural or docked (where allowed). His coat is harsh and of medium length, and comes in sable in colors of gray through red. Lighter harness markings (lighter fur behind the shoulders) are essential, and a well-defined mask with lighter hair around the eyes, on the muzzle, and under the throat is highly desirable.


The Swedish Vallhund is eager to please and extremely intelligent, a combination that makes for a fast learner. He responds well to reward-based techniques, but he can get bored easily. Give him a challenge and he's at his best. Repeat daily.

Grooming & Care

The Vallhund's coat requires weekly brushing, more when shedding. Trim his nails and keep his teeth clean.He needs a moderate walk and a good play session every day. He also needs mental exercise, so the play session should involve some intellectual challenges, or a rigorous (but fun) training session.

Health Concerns

The Swedish Vallhund has no major health concerns reported at this time. However, some eye problems, such as distichiasis (eye lashes that turn in toward the eye) and cataracts occasionally occur. As a precaution, breeding stock should have eyes screened before breeding.Ask the breeder to see the results of these tests.

Famous Swedish Vallhund

The founding dogs that make up the modern Vallhund were a male named Mopsen and three females named Vivi, Lessi, and Topsey.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 6
Home 9
Children 10
Experience 55
Quick Facts
Grooming 13
Exercise 61
Challenges Needs a job
Height 11 to 14 inches
Weight 25 to 35 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone 83
With Kids 21
With Strangers 91
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.