Swedish Vallhund, often called the Viking dog, is a very old breed dating back as far as 1,000 years. Used as a cattle herding dog and as a versatile farm dog, these dogs retain their herding instincts today. The breed is believed to be related to the welsh corgis, although the exact relationship has yet to be determined.
These long, low-slung dogs stand between 11.5 and 13.5 inches tall and weigh 25 to 35 pounds. The head is wedgeshaped, with upright ears and dark brown eyes. The body is long, the legs are strong, and the tail is either long or a natural bobtail. The undercoat is soft and dense, while the outer coat is of medium length and harsh. Colors include gray, grayish brown, grayish yellow, or reddish brown, with a distinct harness pattern on the shoulders. This coat needs twice weekly brushing. The coat does shed, and during the spring and fall, additional brushing may be needed.
The Swedish Vallhunds are active dogs of herding heritage who need a chance to run and play. Although walks are great opportunities for socialization, Swedish Vallhund dogs need more exercise than a walk can provide. They will enjoy a chance to train on the agility course or play flyball. Many have excelled in herding trials. A bored Vallhund will get into trouble! This breed thrives on training, although the owner is often challenged to keep up.
Training should not be repetitive and rote but instead should continue to add new things such as advanced obedience, trick training, and canine sports. The breed is also watchful and protective, so early socialization is important. The Swedish Vallhund needs an owner who will train her and, ideally, will do activities with her, preferably canine sports or herding. The Swedish Vallhund breed can be noisy and this can cause problems with neighbors, but training can control the barking. The Swedish Vallhund dog breed is good with kids, other dogs, and smaller pets. Health problems include hip dysplasia, eye problems, luxated pattellas, and cleft palate.