Let's talk Swedish Vallhunds

A true Viking dog, the small but powerful and sturdy Swedish Vallhund will conquer you quickly with their lively, playful personality. Loyal and devoted to their human families, they will want to spend as much time with you as possible. You will hear them sound the alarm if any strangers or other perceived dangers come into view. Homes with older children, teenagers – or no children – will find these dogs to be engaging, affectionate and intelligent companions. They are known to have a canine sense of humour and will never tire of entertaining you. Add to this their delight in problem-solving, and they may even surprise you with new ways of using their toys.

Official name: Swedish Vallhund

Other names: Västgötaspets, Swedish Cattledog

Origins: Sweden

Close-up of Swedish Vallhund looking at camera in black and white
Drooling tendencies Very low Warm weather? Medium
Shedding level High Suited to apartment living? Medium
*Energy Level low *Friendly pet? High
Compatibility with other pets High *Can stay alone? Medium

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of Swedish Vallhund
32 - 35 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
9 - 14 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
29 - 32 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
9 - 14 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2-12 months
 Adult age  1-7 years
 Mature age  7-10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Swedish Vallhund sitting on grass


Get to know the Swedish Vallhund

All you need to know about the breed

The Swedish Vallhund's zest for life and cheerful demeanour has made them a favourite in their native land. These dogs have weather-resistant coats designed to withstand the Swedish climate. As Swedish Vallhunds are very people-oriented and social, they need human interaction, always looking for pats and snuggles from everyone they meet. This breed's watchful nature makes them great "alarm dogs". Highly communicative, they will bark to seemingly "chat" with you – or simply to let you know they're in a good mood for some interaction with their favourite human.

As long as these adaptable dogs get their daily exercise, in the form of long walks or dog sport training, they can be content in almost any environment from city flat to country house. However, in a city or suburb with more dense housing, your neighbours might not find their voice as endearing as you do.

Swedish Vallhunds get along well with other pets in the household, including cats, especially if they've been raised with them. They enjoy spending time with children too, though their herding instincts may cause them to nip at fast-moving objects, such as a child's trouser leg. Early training and socialisation will teach your dog what type of play is acceptable and what isn't – and when it's okay to bark.

Swedish Vallhund standing on grass in front of yellow flowers


2 facts about Swedish Vallhunds

1. A big dog in a small body

The Swedish Vallhund is sturdy and muscular and, despite their small stature, they can pack a big punch character-wise. Don't be fooled by their short legs, these dogs are known to achieve surprising agility and speeds, taking corners like a race car.

2. Smart dogs learning new tricks

These purebred dogs will create games to entertain themselves and their people, but it's best if you channel their brains, creativity and energy more formally. Swedish Vallhunds are capable of many canine sports and activities, including obedience, agility, man-trailing, flyball, search and rescue – they've even been trained to sniff out valuable truffles.


History of the breed

The history of the Swedish Vallhund goes all the way back to the Viking age. Of course there is no way of confirming this, as records of dog breeding don't go back that far. As these dogs share some similarities with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, some Corgi breeders claim the Viking raiders brought the breed back from their escapades in Wales to Scandinavia. Breeders of the Swedish Vallhund claim the reverse – that the Vikings brought their dogs to Wales and left them behind, and so they formed the basis of the Corgi. The Swedes have a saying: “Many claim ownership of a loved child,” and that is certainly true when it comes to this breed.

Vallhund means "herding" or "shepherd" dog in Swedish, and that was their job on Swedish farms historically, but they also performed other tasks for the landowner, including barking an alarm if strangers approached.

Known in their homeland as the Västgötaspets, they were first recognised by the Swedish Kennel Club in the 1940s. The United Kennel Club followed suit in 1996 (if one can say that with a 50-year gap between admissions), and the American Kennel Club did so in 2007.

Swedish Vallhund looking at camera in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Swedish Vallhunds

1. Head

Wedge-shaped head, medium-sized erect ears.

2. Coat

Sable-patterned coat in steel-grey, grey-brown, grey-yellow, red-brown or red-yellow, with darker hair on back, neck and sides.

3. Body

Short legs, sturdy body, long chest with good depth.

Swedish Vallhund sitting on grass and yellow flowers


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Swedish Vallhund
Swedish Vallhund standing on grass looking at camera


Caring for your Swedish Vallhund

Grooming, training and exercise tips

A double-coated spitz-type breed with medium-length hair, the Swedish Vallhund’s undercoat, which they ‘blow’ twice a year, is soft and dense, and protected by a harsher topcoat. A weekly brushing will keep matting at bay, though count on upping the frequency during shedding seasons. Nails should be trimmed regularly and teeth brushed often – preferably daily – to avoid dental problems. Check ears for debris daily and clean as recommended by your vet. A curious and clever breed, the Swedish Vallhund requires both physical and mental stimulation to be satisfied. They need at least an hour of exercise each day as, despite their small stature, they are working dogs. Mix this up with some puzzle games in order to exercise their minds as well. When it comes to training, it’s best to start early as independent Swedish Vallhunds may show a bit of a stubborn streak at times. Stand firm and use positive, reward-based training and they’ll understand who’s the boss (that would be you). All treats should be taken out of your Swedish Vallhund’s daily kibble portion to help keep them in great shape.


All about Swedish Vallhunds

Swedish Vallhunds are playful, smart and affectionate. They enjoy the company of children (even if they need to be trained to act properly around them) and do best in a somewhat spacious home where they get plenty of attention and room. Add physical and mental stimulation to the equation and they will be devoted to you for life.

Although the Swedish Vallhund looks a lot like a Pembroke Welsh or Cardigan Welsh Corgi, they are not very closely related genetically. In fact, the breed is a member of the Spitz family.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/