Did you know?
The Swedish Vallhund has been known as “the little cattle dog of the Vikings” for 1000 years!
Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you’re never friendless ever, if you have a dog.” – Douglas Mallock
The Swedish Vallhund is an ancient dog breed developed in Sweden thought to date back to the 8th or 9th century. Archaeology tells us that it is likely the earliest Vallhunds developed in southern Sweden in the area known as Västergötland. Here the small dog proved to be excellent for watching, guarding and herding.
The breed dates to the Viking settlement of England and is thought to have played a part in the development of the modern Welsh Corgi. It is believed that during the eighth or ninth century “either the Swedish Vallhund was brought to Wales or the Corgi was taken to Sweden, hence the similarities between the two breeds”.
Since Viking times, the Swedish Vallhund has been the mainstay of Sweden’s beef and dairy farms.
The Vallhund takes his name from the Swedish “att valla” meaning “to herd”, and that is exactly what he was bred to do. The Swedish Vallhund is the type of herder known as a “heeler” – he nips at the heels of the animals he is driving.
Photos displayed courtesy of Brenda and Terry Holliday, Holterbren Reg’d, Manitoba
The Swedish Vallhund stands up to 13 inches (33 cm) tall at the shoulder. He has a medium length double coat with an dense undercoat. His coat is “aguouti” or ” wolf-coloured” and comes in shades of grey, brown, or red, with white markings on the paws or chest and/or a narrow blaze on the face. The Vallhund may be born with no tail, a stub, or a long tail.
This is a short-legged, long-bodied dog with sturdy bone structure. Since he’s at risk from flying hooves, his size and shape have evolved to protect him. The Vallhund is capable of moving at lightning speed and is able to drop flat instantly to avoid kicking cattle and he can do this while moving forwards or backwards! As you might expect from a dog with this kind of job to do, his attitude and posture are alert and active.He has a “big dog personality in a small dog body”. He is intelligent, brave, and agile, and excels in obedience and agility training.
A very loving, people-oriented breed, the Swedish Vallhund is good with children, other animals, and family pets. He is a strong, healthy dog who will live a long and happy life as long as he gets the physical and mental stimulation he needs. As with all breeds of dog, he should have early training and socialization to ensure he develops into a well mannered adult dog. Today’s Swedish Vallhund is a companion, a watch dog, works on patrol, in Search and Rescue, and in tracking.