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Swedish Vallhund: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Care, Traits & More

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

Happy Swedish Vallhund dog face close up

Swedish Vallhund: Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Care, Traits & More

With a history dating back over 1,000 years, you might expect the Swedish Vallhund to be a bit more popular than they are. But with a history that includes near extinction, that’s not the case with these unique dogs. They’re amazing pups with a rich history, so read on to get into the details of this breed, including their appearance, temperament, and more.

Breed Overview

Height:

11.5–13.75 inches

Weight:

20–35 pounds

Lifespan:

12–15 years

Colors:

Gray, yellow, red, black, blue, and white

Suitable for:

Active families and first-time dog owners

Temperament:

Loyal, loving, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, and active

When you’re looking for a sweet, loyal, and loving dog breed that also happens to get along great with kids, the Swedish Vallhund is an often-overlooked option. While they’re not the most well-known dog breed out there, they are one of the friendliest and most affectionate.

They’re also at that perfect in-between size—not too big and not too small—to fit in perfectly with many people’s lives.

Swedish Vallhund Characteristics

Energy
+
High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
+
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
+
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
+
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
+
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Swedish Vallhund Breed Puppies

Swedish Vallhund
Image Credit: Marcel van den Bos, Shutterstock

If you’re looking at getting a Swedish Vallhund, you might need to spend a little extra time tracking down a reputable breeder. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), they’re the 138th most popular dog breed in 2023.1

This means while it’s possible to find a breeder, they’re certainly not all over the place. It might be possible to accidentally stumble into a Swedish Vallhund breeder, but that isn’t the case for most people.

Even if it takes a bit more work to find a breeder, these loving and adorable pups are well worth the extra work!

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Swedish Vallhund

With a near-unrivaled eagerness to please their owners, the Swedish Vallhund is an absolute joy to bring into any home. They’re also incredibly loving, and these two traits make them a phenomenal choice for first-time dog owners.

They’re not the absolute smartest dogs out there, but they’re far from stupid. With proper training, there isn’t much you can’t teach them to do, especially since they enjoy having a task to complete.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Whether you have small kids or teenagers in your home or are empty nesters, these are great companions. As long as you socialize them properly, they tend to get along with everyone. Not only will they get along great with your kids, but you shouldn’t have any issues when they bring their friends over, either.

However, keep in mind that the Swedish Vallhund does have herding instincts, so you might need to nip those in the bud if you have smaller children in your home.

Swedish Vallhund lying on grass
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

While you generally don’t have to worry about the Swedish Vallhund getting along with other dogs in your home, you might need to be a bit more careful with them if you have other types of pets. That’s because they have strong herding instincts, and they might kick in when they see a cat or another type of pet.

Proper training and socialization can help with this quite a bit, but it is something you’ll likely have to deal with for a while.

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Things to Know When Owning a Swedish Vallhund

Owning a Swedish Vallhund is much like owning most other dog breeds, but every dog has their own unique personality and requirements. And the last thing you want is to bring a dog into your home without fully understanding what that will entail. With that in mind, we’ve decided to go over some of the basics you should be aware of.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

As a small- to medium-sized dog, you shouldn’t need to break the bank to feed a Swedish Vallhund a high-quality diet. Dogs on the smaller side of the breed standard will need about 1.5 cups of kibble daily, while dogs on the larger side will need about 2 cups daily.

Keep in mind that a high-quality diet might cost you a bit more now, but it’s going to keep your pet happier, healthier, and more active throughout their life. Of course, if you’re ever concerned about what and how much to feed your pet, reach out to your vet for their advice.

Swedish Vallhund on the sofa
Image Credit: Ega78, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

While these aren’t the largest dogs around, they have lots of energy. You’ll need to take them out for two walks daily, and each walk should last about 20 minutes. Not only that, but they’ll still have energy to burn, so we recommend having a fenced-in yard; otherwise, almost daily trips to the dog park are a must.

Training 🎾

With a lot of love to give and an eagerness to please, training a Swedish Vallhund is comparatively easy. However, consistency is still critical, and we recommend at least one training session daily. Stick solely with positive reinforcement and keep training sessions short, ideally between 10 and 15 minutes.

Grooming ✂️

If you’re looking for a low-shedding pet, the Swedish Vallhund isn’t it. They have a lot of hair, and to keep up with all their shedding, you need to brush them out daily. Moreover, they need a bath about once a month, and you’ll need to brush their teeth daily to keep up with their oral hygiene.

Finally, keep an eye on their nails. If they get too long, you’ll need to trim them regularly. However, if you keep up with their exercise needs, this isn’t usually something you need to worry about, as their nails will naturally file down when walking on rough surfaces.

swedishvallhund and Friend Pointy Ears
Image Credit: wild.life.of.kobe, instagram

Health and Conditions 🏥

While it’s uncommon for Swedish Vallhunds to have a handful of health problems, they are susceptible to a few conditions you should keep an eye out for. Getting your pup from a reputable breeder can help mitigate this risk, as can keeping up with your pet’s annual wellness checks.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Retinopathy
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Obesity

Male vs. Female

Generally, there isn’t much of a difference between a male and female Swedish Vallhund other than their size. Males tend to stand about 5 to 10 pounds larger than females, although genetics certainly play a large role in this, too. Basically, the size and temperament of your dog are going to vary from individual to individual, although you can get a rough idea by looking at the parents.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Swedish Vallhund

1. They Were Once Viking Dogs

This is a very old dog breed, dating back at least 1,000 years. While there’s little written history of the breed at that time, it’s likely the modern-day Swedish Vallhund was once the Vikingarnas Hund.


2. Two Breeders Saved the Breed

The early 1940s was almost the demise of many dog breeds, and the Swedish Vallhund was no exception. In fact, if it wasn’t for the efforts of K.G. Zettersten and Bjorn von Rosen, we wouldn’t have the modern-day Swedish Vallhund.


3. They’re Cousins to Corgis

While the Swedish Vallhund isn’t the most well-known dog breed, their cousin, the Corgi, is! They both share the same descendants, and it’s not hard to see a few physical resemblances between the two breeds.

Swedish Vallhund on the sofa
Image Credit: Ega78, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

With such a rich history, amazing core traits, and a desire to fit into any family, the Swedish Vallhund might be your dream dog. While you might not have heard of this breed until recently, we’re confident that once you meet one for yourself, you’ll fall in love and won’t be able to get enough of them.

They’re amazing choices for first-time dog owners, and if you’re looking for a pup to join you on your next adventure, they’re exactly what you’re looking for!


Featured Image Credit: Vera Reva, Shutterstock

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