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Life Span:~13 to 15 years
Litter Size: 6 to 7
Country of Origin: Sweden
Size: The Swedish Vallhund is a strong, muscular dog with short legs. The average male of this breed could reach up to 10 to 13 inches and 9 to 11 inches for females. They weight may vary from 19 to 30 pounds for both sexes.
Coat: The Swedish Vallhund ‘s double coat has a medium, harsh, tight topcoat with a soft and dense undercoat. The breed’s common colors are gray, red-brown, red-yellow or gray-brown.
Character: Although the Swedish Vallhund is a short dog, they are strong, spirited and fearless, much like their Viking counterparts. They are friendly and are very enthusiastic in pleasing their family. They are fond and very affectionate to children, and they can be trusted with the other household pets. They are very loyal and make excellent companions.
Appearance: The Swedish Vallhund is a small, muscular spitz-type dog with a rectangular-shaped face. They have a wedged-shaped head, black nose, and prickly ears. Their long tail can either be bobbed or docked, and their double coat has a thick undercoat and a gray-to-red with harness markings and facial mask top coat.
History: The Swedish Vallhund is a National Breed of Sweden. Known as the “Viking dog,” this breed traces its roots for more than 1,000 years ago during the age of Vikings. This spitz-type dog was bred to be a working dog (herd the cattle, catch some small wild mammals) and a watchdog. According to one dog expert, the Swedish Vallhund is believed to be the ancestor of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, although further DNA tests are needed to be more accurate.
This breed almost went extinct. It wasn’t until in 1945 where two avid dog enthusiasts searched and rescued them in a Swedish countryside of Västgötaland during World War II. After publishing several articles about the breed, this prompted public interests and demand for the breed. In 1964, the Swedish Kennel club officially adopted the name Västgötaland as a breed standard.
Today, the breed remains quite rare worldwide.
Health Issues: The average life span of the Swedish Vallhund is 13 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, renal dysplasia, and eye problems such as Persistent pupillary membranes, Distichiae, Cataract, Progressive retinal atrophy, Chorioretinal scar, Red/brown pigmentation of the retina.
Temperament: The Swedish Vallhund is an alert, bold, curious and energetic dig, They are a hard working breed, which is great for herding animal. They are highly intelligent, trainable, and eager to please, which are great for companionship. They just love being pampered and the attention given to them. They are very devoted to their family. They can be even-tempered with their owners, but they can wary of strangers. Train them to be more sociable early on in their life to avoid any bad behavior as they mature. They can be a good guard dog, albeit with their size issue. They also have a habit of heel nipping. This can either be encouraged (for herding animals) or discouraged (as house pets).
Care: The Swedish Vallhund does not require a lot of grooming. During their shedding season, they need to be brushed daily to remove dead hair and matt from the undercoat. Bathe the them only when necessary. The Vallhund is an average shedder.
Training: As an all-purpose dog, the Swedish Vallhunds are highly intelligent dogs. And since they are independent thinkers, they prefer to do their own way at their own time. The dog owner should be a pack leader if they want the Vallhunds to respect and obey them. Using positive reinforcement, such as giving them treats during training, ensures a positive response. Once the pack leadership role is established, training them would be much more enjoyable.
Activity: During dog competitions, the Swedish vallhund can easily compete in agility trails, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Since they were bred to follow orders, their trainability can be measured at non-competitive herding evens.