Swedish Vallhund

The Swedish Vallhund is known as the Viking Dog in ancient legends. This breed has a long body that hangs low to the ground, much like its distant relative, the corgi. It is a rugged cattle dog whose build makes for easily nipping at the heels of cattle, but avoiding swift kicks to the head.

The Swedish Vallhund is known for its sociable attitude, beautiful sable coat, and cheerfulness. Read on to learn more about the Swedish Vallhund.

Description of the Swedish Vallhund

The Swedish Vallhund is the lesser known, distant relative of the corgi. With shortened legs and an elongated body, the Swedish Vallhund is an energetic hard worker that exemplifies the “big dog in a small body” saying. The Swedish Vallhund is an alert watch dog, so prepare yourself for training in regards to barking.

The Swedish Vallhund has a medium length double coat, which means that your pup will shed on your coat, pants, couch, and more. The right vacuum and lint roller will be key to coexisting with this furry companion.

The Swedish Vallhund is a relatively low maintenance breed with occasional grooming, but they are an active and intelligent breed, which means that they need daily mental and physical stimulation. The Swedish Vallhund is not known for being great for a first time dog owner.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Vallhund has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Good breeding and proper diet and exercise can help your Vallhund live longer.

The average Vallhund is approximately 11.5–13.75 inches tall, and weighs between 22 and 35 pounds.

The Swedish Vallhund, like many breeds, can have issues with obesity if fed too much for their level of activity. Always make sure you can see you dog’s waist when looking head on, as well as feel (not see) ribs.

If you think your dog may be overweight, consult a vet and get them on the right feeding and exercise regimen to increase life expectancy.

Protective Ability

This breed is a great watch dog and can be trained to understand when to bark and when not to. One of the Vallhund’s many jobs, when first bred, was for guarding the residence and alert barking. While the this dog may not do much physically to an intruder, other than nip at their heels while they’re trying to run away, this breed will certainly alert you to any unexpected guests.


The Swedish Vallhund is an extremely intelligent breed that will continually test their owner’s training skills. It is vital to establish good obedience and training that builds trust and enthusiasm in your relationship. The Vallhund is a working dog that thrives on mental and physical stimulation. Finding training that incorporates a job will make for a very happy companion.

This breed does well in dog sport competitions and agility courses, as is a great companion for hikes in the mountains or long walks in the city. Socialization is very important at a young age in order to familiarize your dog with various sizes of dogs and varying people. A well-socialized dog is not only better for you, but better for the overall health of your dog.

This dog does best with reward-based training and may choose to avoid or ignore you if you resort to correction-based training.

Energy Level

The Swedish Vallhund, while short-legged, is a working dog. This means that they require daily physical and mental stimulation. The Vallhund was bred to herd large flocks for great distances, and while they may not be in your family for that purpose, their exercise needs still need to be met! A well-exercised Vallhund is a happy Vallhund.

A long walk, hike, or some time in an agility course every day will be adequate to physically tire your pup!

What Living with a Swedish Vallhund is Like

The Vallhund is not a great first dog, due to its activity needs and high intelligence. This breed requires skillful training, and an owner who knows how to properly socialize from an early age. The Vallhund is a great family dog, and loves people as well as other dogs, but can be a bit overwhelming for someone who has not had experience owning a strong-willed breed.

The Swedish Vallhund is a big personality in a small package, making him very lovable and quite energetic. With great personality, comes great responsibility, however. Ensure that your Vallhund is well trained and exercised to be a successful addition to the family.

When not properly trained, this dog can be an excessive barker, causing noise disturbance issues. When not properly exercised, like most breeds, it can become stressed and even destructive. It is vital to avoid these issues by understanding your breed’s specific needs.

Care of the Swedish Vallhund

These dogs can adapt to most climates, and function well in most dwellings. Training plays a key role in whether or not your dog is successful in your dwelling, so worry less about climate and more about training to your home’s needs.

For example, if you live in an apartment complex, this vocal breed may not be right for you, but proper and diligent training can allow them to peacefully co-exist with your neighbors.

Environmental Needs

The Vallhund is a working dog. While open farm land and a job is this breed’s ideal environment, they can adapt to happily live in other places. As long as their mental and physical needs are met, the Swedish Vallhund can make for a great companion in most settings.

Their thick coat makes them well-suited to cooler climates, but they generally do well in heat as well.

Exercise Needs

As a herding dog, the Vallhund requires regular, daily exercise. Ideally, they are given some sort of job and not just mindless running. This will both mentally and physically exhaust your dog. If no typical herding job is available for your pup, you can train him for agility or Treibball, which will give your dog a sense of purpose and drive that is engrained into the breed.

Typically, this dog will not tire from a short walk around the block, so preparing for and meeting expectations of the breed is important before deciding to bring one home.

Shedding and Grooming

Shedding is a daily occurrence with this breed, but increases two times a year when they lose their undercoat. Brushing should happen weekly to help decrease excessive shedding. When shedding season occurs, a warm bath and shampooing can rid them of the worst of it. People often trim the hair around their feet and toes, but that is usually the extent of actual trimming.

Nail trimming and regular teeth brushing are necessary to maintain the health and comfort of your furry companion. Be sure to make these a regular – and ideally enjoyable – part of your puppy’s routine.

Ideal Home Environment

This breed has a lot of personality for such a small body. That being said, apartment living with a Swedish Vallhund can make for a difficult combination. The Vallhund is a valued farm dog that thrives in open space, and when given a specific job.

The Vallhund is known for barking and being an alert watch dog, so if you are worried about close quarters and testy neighbors, this breed may not be right for you (unless you employ diligent training).

This dog lives for entertainment, and will create games for himself and your family to enjoy. Be prepared to keep this breed busy, whether in organized dog sport competitions, or on hikes and long walks.

Health Concerns

This breed is generally quite healthy, aside from a few breed-specific issues. The Swedish Vallhund is known to suffer from hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (knee dislocation), and/or eye diseases. It is recommended that breeders supply proof of a hip evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation (eye exam), and test for retinopathy in the parents, and ideally grandparents too.

Keeping your Swedish Vallhund in good athletic shape, and avoiding overfeeding are vital for extending your companion’s life span. If you notice your Swedish gaining more weight than usual, consult a vet for a good feeding and exercise regimen.

Behavior Problems

This breed can be barky, so proper training to teach when barking is allowed or not, is extremely important for peaceful coexistence.

Swedish Vallhunds need to be properly socialized in order to avoid bad behaviors around people, other dogs, and other animals. This breed is a natural working dog, so expect a high energy, high intellect breed before making the plunge to get a Vallhund.