Canine Breed Menu

Swedish Shepherd

Swedish Shepherd

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Breed Organization
Swedish Vallhund Club of America
Native Country
Other Names
Vaestgoetaspets, Vastgotaspets, Vallhund, Swedish Vallhund, Viking Dog, Swedish Cattle Dog, Spitz of the West Goths
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-14 Years
Litter Size
Average 5-7 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC Herding
Breed Appearance
It is believed that the Swedish Vallhund distinguished itself during the age of Vikings, more than 1,000 years ago. Known as the "Viking dog", the Vallhund was bred to herd cattle, catch vermin (such as rats), and guard the home. The Vallhund was also referred to as "the little cattle dog of the Vikings."

Breed Description
Head: Fairly long and foxlike. Skull is almost flat. Distinct stop. Square muzzle profile. Tightly closed lips.
Ears: Medium size, pointed tips. Held erect.
Eyes: Medium size, oval. Dark brown color.
Body: Long. Long, muscular neck is held high. Long, chest is well let down. Ribs well sprung. Broad, slightly sloped croup. Belly slightly tucked up. Strong, short loin. Horizontal, muscular back.
Tail: Two types: long or naturally very short. Carried straight out at back level. Many puppies are born tailless.
Hair: Moderate length. Hard, compact, and weatherproof. Short on the front of the legs. Slightly longer on the neck, chest, and back of the legs. Dense, soft undercoat.
Coat: Preferred colors are gray, grayish brown, grayish gold, and reddish brown, with darker hairs on the back, neck, and sides of the body. Lighter hairs on the muzzle, throat, chest, underbelly, thighs, hocks, and feet. Lightest coloring on the shoulders ("harness markings") is desirable. Small white markings are permissible, such as a narrow flare, a spot on the neck, or a slight collar.
Size: Dog: 33 cm (13 in).Bitch: 31 cm 12 in).
Weight: 9 to 14 kg (20-31 lb).

An indigenous Swedish breed, the Swedish Vallhund is a spitz type dog, despite the fact that he looks similar to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. In the past, the Swedish Vallhund was used for cattle droving and to guard horses. Count Bjorn von Rosen worked on behalf of the breed, getting it recognized and registered with the Swedish Kennel Club in 1948. In 1974, a few specimens were sent to Great Britain, but the breed is still rare outside its native Sweden.

This rustic, extremely courageous, lively dog is energetic, always on the alert, and quite independent. He has earned his place as an affection pet that is gentle with children. His vigilance has gained him the reputation of a good guard dog. Firm training is required.

Swedish Vallhunds are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Vallhunds will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed. Expect breeders to have up-to-date health clearances certifying that a puppy's parents are free of eye disease and hip dysplasia. Clearances should be in the form of an eye exam by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist with the results registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and an OFA or Pennhip evaluation of the hips. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA website or the website of the Canine Health Information Center.

This sporting dog is not suited for life indoors. He needs to work off his abundant energy daily. Regular brushing is required.

Cattle Dog, Guard Dog, Pet.
Horse Herd