- 1 Overview of the Swedish Vallhund
- 2 Swedish Vallhund Traits
- 3 Training and Exercise for Swedish Vallhunds
- 4 Food and Health of the Swedish Vallhund
- 5 Health Concerns of the Swedish Vallhund
- 6 Grooming Insights for Swedish Vallhunds
Overview of the Swedish Vallhund
With a name that translates to “herding dog,” the Swedish Vallhund is a versatile breed that can herd livestock, keep the peace, and even catch rats. The Vallhund is playful, energetic, and affectionate. Even more, they can make you laugh and help you through difficult moments. Vallhunds can invent games to amuse themselves and their owners. Still, it’s recommended to focus their intelligence and energy through official training, dog sports, and activities like hiking and therapeutic visits.
If you are considering bringing the Swedish Vallhund home, you must remember that this dog isn’t a breed for everyone despite their medium size, agility, and cheerful disposition. The Swedish Vallhund resembles the Pembroke Corgi in many ways. They may bark at door-to-door salespersons, the dog next door, or outdoor critters, and their high energy level makes them unsuitable companions for someone who prefers to spend time on the couch. But if you’re an experienced dog owner or an active person who enjoys hiking or long walks, you will surely value this dog’s company.
Vallhunds are affable and eagerly welcome attention and treats from all they encounter. They are exceptionally brilliant and learn quickly, reacting positively to reinforcement tactics. This breed excels in various dog sports, including herding, agility, tracking, and obedience. They also possess the abilities necessary to be useful farm or ranch assistants.
Although the history of the Vallhund dates back at least a thousand years to the period of the Vikings, its origins are unknown. The similarities between the Swedish Vallhund and the Welsh Corgi likely stem from the Vikings, who are thought to have brought their Vallhunds or transported early variants of the Welsh Corgi back to Sweden after conquering the island. The Vallhund is also linked to larger spitz-type Scandinavian canines, such as the Norwegian Elkhound.
The Vallhund is a rare breed worldwide. In the United States, the first Vallhund litter was not found until 1986. The American Kennel Club didn’t officially recognize the breed until 2007. The low and long Swedish Vallhund, also known as the legendary Viking Dog, is an intelligent, social herder with a dense coat and seemingly limitless energy. These strong dogs are well-known for their positive attitudes, unique barks, and zest for life.
Their thick sable coats, sturdy builds, and overall no-frills appearance have made Vallhunds a famous breed that is just as comfortable in a suburban yard as they were on the prow of Viking sailing ships 1,200 years ago. While not quite as lengthy and low to the earth as their distant cousins, the corgis, these athletic herders still serve a similar purpose; their physique makes it easier for them to nip at cattle’s legs and avoid skull kicks. Balance, strength, and fluid movement are this breed’s main characteristics.
Swedish Vallhund Traits
A big personality in a small body, the Swedish Vallhund weighs between 23 and 35 pounds at a height of 12 to 14 inches. The skull of the Vallhund is wedge-shaped, and their eyes and ears are pricked. Their tail can be any length at birth, from completely absent to fully developed, leading to the common misconception that they have been docked.
This breed has a dense, soft undercoat and a tough, medium-length topcoat with close, compact hair that is never wavy, woolly, or fluffy. The hair of the Vallhund is shorter on the head and forelegs and longer on the hind legs, neck, and chest. The breed standard calls for a sable pattern with gray to red colors. The most desirable coloring consists of lighter tones of gray through red on the abdomen, chest, buttocks, feet, lower legs, and hocks and darker hues on the body’s neck, back, and sides.
Swedish Vallhunds also have lighter marks, commonly known as harness markings, on their shoulders. Some dogs have white patches that resemble a neck-stop, a thin blaze, or a necklace, and white markings on their forelegs, hindlegs, and chest.
The Swedish Vallhund is intelligent, attentive, and energetic, all in a small, nimble body, which makes them an excellent choice for a family that will appreciate their energetic personality, sense of humor, and adaptable skills.
If the Swedish Vallhund were a Swedish sports car, it would be known for its turning radius, speed, and all-terrain ability. This breed tends to be playful and friendly when interacting with children and other animals. Therefore, Vallhunds are great for clumsy toddlers as long as they are not pulling and poking them too much. One bonus of this breed is they aren’t so large or boisterous that they may accidentally injure a child, rather they are appropriately playful.
The Vallhund is also a vigilant yet non-aggressive watchdog at home. They will converse with you about their day and bark to alert you when someone is at the door, a neighbor’s garage door is open, or a cat is crossing the yard.
In some ways, the Swedish Vallhund is an independent thinker; after all, they are herding dogs bred to think independently, but they respond well to training when they have a consistent, firm owner who rewards their triumphs with praise, play, or treats. Work with the Swedish Vallhund’s creativity and problem-solving skills, and you’ll find they enjoy the challenge of learning a wide variety of tricks and commands.
Training and Exercise for Swedish Vallhunds
The Swedish Vallhund is an extremely energetic breed, requiring a great deal of exercise. Dog park activities, regular walks, and other forms of exercise are great for the Vallhund. Remember that providing sufficient mental stimulation and daily exercise is essential for maintaining this dog’s happiness and good behavior. Aim for one or two hours of physical activity per day. The Vallhund enjoys activities such as hiking, running, walking, and fetching. Herding and agility are just two of the many dog sports that can offer both mental and physical challenges to your pup.
When taking your Swedish Vallhund outside, they must always be under close control, either on a leash or in a gated yard. There is a possibility that they will chase after moving items, such as cars, because of their herding instinct.
Training and Socialization
Generally, the Vallhund is extraordinarily bright and trainable. Training and socializing should be started early to prevent negative habits from forming early on in the dog’s life. Even at 8 weeks of age, a Vallhund puppy can comprehend what you teach it, so don’t put off teaching your dog until they’re 6 months old; by then, they may be an uncooperative adult. Always employ strategies of positive reinforcement rather than harsh punishments. You should be explicit and consistent, and your dog must rapidly understand your requests.
Additionally, Swedish Vallhunds are generally friendly to strangers and other pets. Having pleasant interactions with humans and canines from a young age might help to increase their comfort and self-assurance.
The Vallhund is an excellent breed of farm dog because they do well in wide areas and when given a job to accomplish. As long as their physical and mental needs are addressed, Vallhunds make excellent companions in various situations. Their thick coat keeps them well-suited for colder locations, although they may also thrive in warmer conditions.
This breed has a great deal of personality for its small size, but living in an apartment with a Swedish Vallhund can be challenging. The Vallhund is notorious for barking and being a vigilant watchdog, so if you’re concerned about living in close quarters or with neighbors that appreciate silence, this breed might not be the best choice.
Swedish Vallhunds thrive on amusement and will devise fun activities to use up their energy. Be ready to keep this breed active, whether through organized dog sport competitions or long walks and treks.
Food and Health of the Swedish Vallhund
Swedish Vallhunds, like other dogs, require a well-rounded diet rich in healthy fats and protein. Due to their high metabolic rates, Vallhunds require a high caloric intake to maintain normal functioning. While it’s not necessary to overfeed a Vallhund destined for a life as a family pet, canine companions that are put to work herding cattle will appreciate the extra calories.
If you buy high-quality dog food, a little goes a long way in terms of nourishing your dog, so you won’t have to shake as much of it into their bowl. You can maintain your Vallhund’s health by feeding them twice daily and measuring their food instead of constantly leaving food out. If you are unsure whether or not your dog is overweight, you should have them undergo an annual checkup and physical examination.
For a simple strategy to check that your dog is in optimal health, first, consider their height; there should be a waistline visible. You should then put your hands on their back with your thumbs down their spine, fingers spread wide. You shouldn’t need to use much force or have to look closely to feel or see their ribs. If you cannot, then your dog likely requires fewer calories and more activity.
Health Concerns of the Swedish Vallhund
Many dogs are susceptible to developing genetic health issues, just as many humans are susceptible to inheriting a certain disease. In general, Swedish Vallhunds are a relatively healthy breed. There have been some occurrences of patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and eye disorders, however.
Keeping your Swedish Vallhund in excellent health and avoiding overfeeding is essential for extending their lifespan. If your Vallhund is acquiring more weight than usual, visit your vet for advice on proper diet and activity. Selecting a reliable breeder committed to producing the healthiest dogs possible is also essential because not all health issues are visible in a growing puppy, which can make it difficult to predict if a pet will be free of these disorders.
Compared to other dog breeds, Vallhunds are far more likely to experience allergic reactions. There are several potential allergens in commercially available dog food, including synthetic chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, and colorings. Simply switching brands will not protect your dog from the additives in their food. If you notice any allergic reactions worsening over time, you should contact your vet.
Overfeeding and mismatched nutrition are major contributors to obesity in Swedish Vallhunds. You may ensure the health of your Vallhund by feeding them a diet moderate in fat, rich in protein, and low in carbs (including fibers). Note that this breed doesn’t require as many carbohydrates as a standard dog’s diet. The excessive consumption of carbohydrates, especially processed ones, could be the root cause of your furry friend’s obesity.
Not only are carbohydrates abundant in commercial dog food, but they tend to be of poor quality because of cost considerations. Crops, including wheat, corn, and soy, are common staples in dog food. These will cause a lot of trouble for your dog’s digestive system, leading to a sensitive stomach and gas. In this circumstance, a low-carbohydrate diet can benefit your Swedish Vallhund.
Grooming Insights for Swedish Vallhunds
The coat of a Swedish Vallhund requires no particular trimming. In fact, the Vallhund in the winner’s circle should appear untrimmed and natural. Every week, consider giving your Vallhund a deep brushing. You should reach the skin to eliminate dead hair and activate the sebaceous glands, which generate an oily fluid that softens and protects hair and skin.
It is recommended that you brush your Vallhund’s teeth at least twice weekly, if not more often, to remove tartar and the bacteria it harbors. Daily brushing is most effective in preventing gum disease and bad breath.
If your dog’s nails don’t wear down naturally, you should trim them once or twice a month to avoid painful tearing and other problems. Remember, however, that dog toenails have veins, so if you cut too deeply, your pet may be in pain and bleed. So, if you’re unsure how to clip a dog’s nails, it’s best to consult a vet or a professional groomer.
Once every week, check for signs of infection in the ears, such as redness, discharge, and pain. To avoid ear infections, use a cotton swab or ball dipped in a pH-balanced, mild ear cleanser to clean your dog’s ears. Carefully check your Vallhund’s skin, mouth, nose, eyes, and feet for sores, rashes, and symptoms of infection, such as pain, redness, and inflammation. A weekly examination will help you identify potential health issues early on. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and treats, and you will lay the foundation for easy future vet exams and groomer appointments.