Swedish Vallhund

Swedish Vallhund looking forward

Quick Facts


20 to 35 pounds


12.5 to 13.75 inches (male)

11.5 to 12.75 inches (female)

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

High energetic, very sociable and smart dogs, good with families with small children.


Oh, the joy that a Swedish Vallhund can bring! Originating from Sweden, as their name suggests, the Swedish Vallhund, also known as “Västgötaspets” in their homeland, is a breed that’s won the hearts of many around the globe. 


Bred for herding cattle, this breed’s intelligence, agility, and spirited personality make it a popular choice among dog enthusiasts. Known for their spunky nature and wolf-like appearance, Swedish Vallhunds have a rich history, unique characteristics, and an affectionate nature that make them truly stand out.

History and Origin

Dive into the history of the Swedish Vallhund, and you’ll find tales of Vikings and ancient Scandinavia. The breed dates back over a thousand years, believed to have been used by Vikings for herding livestock. The Swedish Vallhund is a Spitz breed, which means it belongs to a family of dogs known for their pointed ears, thick fur, and fox-like faces.


During the 1940s, the breed faced near extinction. Thankfully, enthusiasts Karl-Gustav Zettersten and Björn von Rosen stepped in, revitalizing the breed and ensuring its survival. Since then, the Swedish Vallhund has gained popularity not only in Sweden but also internationally. In 2007, it was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.


As for famous Vallhunds, there might not be celebrities like Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell, but many Vallhunds have earned their fame in dog shows and herding competitions, showcasing the versatility and capability of this remarkable breed.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

One glance at a Swedish Vallhund and you’ll be enchanted by their wolf-like appearance. These little cattle herders stand at about 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder and weigh approximately 20 to 35 pounds. With a robust and muscular build, they are well-proportioned and sturdy.


Their coat, medium-length and harsh, is designed to withstand harsh Scandinavian weather. Common coat colors include grey, red-yellow, and red-brown, often with white markings and a mask of lighter hair around the eyes, muzzle, and under the throat.


Swedish Vallhunds have pricked ears, a wedge-shaped head, and oval eyes that sparkle with intelligence and curiosity. Their bushy tails can be long, stub, or anywhere in between, contributing to their distinctive and charming appearance.

Personality and Temperament

The personality of the Swedish Vallhund is as delightful as their appearance. Known for their intelligence, these dogs are quick learners and eager to please, making them a joy to train. Their herding background means they are active and alert, always ready for adventure.


Vallhunds are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are sociable dogs that form strong bonds with their families, thriving on companionship and enjoying being part of the household activities. Their playful and spirited demeanor brings endless joy and laughter to a home.


Despite their smaller size, Vallhunds are brave and confident, making excellent watchdogs. They are vocal and will alert their owners to anything amiss. But don’t worry, they are not overly aggressive – their barks are more about keeping you informed!


Additionally, their herding instincts can sometimes shine through in the form of nipping at heels or trying to organize family members, which is both endearing and amusing.

Health and Lifespan

Swedish Vallhunds are a generally hearty and healthy breed, with a lifespan that can bring joy to their families for around 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they do have some health considerations to keep in mind.


Hip dysplasia is one such concern, although responsible breeding has reduced its prevalence. Regular veterinary check-ups can help catch any potential issues early. Eye conditions such as retinopathy can also occur, so annual eye exams are beneficial.


Vallhunds can also gain weight easily, so maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise is essential to prevent obesity and the associated health issues. Additionally, some Vallhunds can be prone to allergies, so keeping an eye on their skin and diet can help manage any reactions.


While these health considerations are important, remember that with regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and plenty of exercises, the Swedish Vallhund is likely to lead a long, happy, and healthy life. 


The joy of having a Vallhund prancing around your home far outweighs the effort needed to ensure they stay in tip-top shape!

Care and Maintenance

Swedish Vallhund grooming

Taking care of a Swedish Vallhund is a rewarding endeavor that brings as much joy to the owner as it does to the dog! Their medium-length coat is relatively easy to maintain, requiring regular brushing to remove loose hair and reduce shedding. Bathing is only necessary when they get dirty.


Vallhunds have a good appetite, and while they love their treats, it’s essential to monitor their diet to prevent obesity. High-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared, is recommended, and any treats should be given in moderation.


Exercise is key for this active and energetic breed. 


Regular walks, play sessions, and opportunities to run are essential for keeping a Vallhund happy and healthy. They enjoy participating in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and, of course, herding trials!


Don’t forget dental care! Regular tooth brushing and veterinary dental check-ups help prevent dental diseases and ensure your Vallhund keeps their charming smile.

Training and Behavior

Swedish Vallhunds are intelligent and eager to learn, which makes training them a delightful experience. Positive reinforcement methods work best, as Vallhunds respond well to treats and praise. Consistency is key, as this breed is smart enough to pick up on any inconsistencies in the rules!


Vallhunds are known for being vocal, so training them to control their barking from a young age can help manage their chattiness. Their herding instinct may also lead to chasing and nipping at heels, so early socialization and training are essential to curb these behaviors.


Vallhunds excel in various dog sports, showcasing their agility, intelligence, and obedience. Participating in such activities is not only great for their physical and mental stimulation but also strengthens the bond between the Vallhund and their owner.


Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement will lead to a well-behaved Vallhund that is a joy to have around. Their spirited personality and clever mind make every training session an engaging and rewarding experience.

Swedish Vallhund and Families

Swedish Vallhund with people

The Swedish Vallhund is a delightful addition to families, providing joy, companionship, and a touch of playfulness. They form strong bonds with their human pack, making them excellent companions for both adults and children. Their affectionate and sociable nature makes them a loving family member.


Vallhunds tend to be good with children, especially if they are raised together. However, due to their herding instincts, they might try to herd little ones, so it’s essential to supervise interactions and teach children how to appropriately handle and respect dogs.


This breed can get along well with other pets, especially if they are introduced properly and early on. Socialization is key to fostering harmonious relationships between Vallhunds and other animals in the household.

Adopting a Swedish Vallhund

Adopting a Swedish Vallhund is a joyful experience that brings a new, loving member into your family. When considering adoption, reach out to reputable breeders or rescue organizations. The Swedish Vallhund Club of America is a great starting point, providing resources and information on available dogs.


Before adopting, consider if your lifestyle aligns with the needs of this active and sociable breed. Vallhunds thrive in environments where they are included in family activities and receive regular exercise and mental stimulation.


Prepare for the arrival of your Vallhund by setting up a comfortable space for them, and gathering the necessary supplies such as food, bowls, a bed, toys, and grooming tools. Ensure that all family members are on board and understand the responsibilities of pet ownership.


Adopting a Vallhund is a commitment to providing love, care, and a happy home for many years to come. In return, you’ll receive endless love, joy, and companionship from your new furry friend!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the temperament of a Swedish Vallhund?

Swedish Vallhunds are known for their intelligence, energy, and watchful nature. They are friendly and love being part of family activities, making them great companions.

How much exercise does a Swedish Vallhund need?

They are an active breed that requires regular exercise to satisfy their herding instincts. Daily walks, playtime, and training activities are essential for their physical and mental well-being.

Are Swedish Vallhunds good with children and other pets?

Yes, they are generally good with children and can get along well with other pets if socialized early. Their friendly and playful nature makes them excellent family pets.

What health issues are common in Swedish Vallhunds?

They are a relatively healthy breed but can be prone to hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and, in some cases, a genetic predisposition to degenerative myelopathy. Regular health screenings can help ensure they live a healthy life.

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