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Answers from vets about your dog:

The Swedish Vallhund

Posted November 21, 2013 in Dog Breeds

Background

The Swedish Vallhund dates back to between the 8th and 9th centuries and originates from Sweden. Because they were small and low to the ground they were used as farm dogs. They soon stood out as above average cow herders -- rounding up and nipping at the hocks of cattle. Swedish Vallhunds were also known as Vastgotaspets or Swedish Cattle Dogs.

The Swedish Vallhund is the national dog breed of Sweden and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2007.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 20 to 30 lbs.
  • Height: 11 to 14 inches
  • Coat: Double coat, short to medium in length. The topcoat is close and tight, and the undercoat is soft and dense
  • Color: Grey, greyish brown, greyish yellow or reddish brown
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

What’s the Swedish Vallhund like?

The Swedish Vallhund is very friendly, loves meeting new people and is wonderful with kids. Just be sure to supervise play dates with younger children who he could possibly knock over accidently. He’s alert, eager to please and very brave; although he’s on the smaller side of the spectrum these characteristics make him an excellent watchdog.

He’s not aggressive, but he is vocal with a highly intimidating bark. His warning bark comes at a price though: you may hear it more than you want to. He will want to make you aware of people walking outside, other animals in the yard or if your neighbor just got home from work. Early training can help curb excessive barking. It’s important to start training your new Swedish Vallhund the day you bring him home. Introduce him to friends and reward him every time that you approve of his behavior. 

The Swedish Vallhund does shed so his coat requires a brush at least once a week to remove dead hair and to reduce the amount of hair you’ll find throughout your house.

Health

The Swedish Vallhund is generally a healthy breed but watch for any of the following potential conditions:

Takeaway Points

  • The Swedish Vallhund makes for a great watchdog.
  • The Swedish Vallhund would be a favorable pick for a family with children.
  • For the Swedish Vallhund, early training is very important.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.