Back to all breeds
Swedish Vallhund
Characteristics, History, and Health

Swedish Vallhund

The Swedish Vallhund, also known as Västgötaspets, which translates to "West Gothia Spitz," is an ancient dog breed that dates back to at least the 8th or 9th century in Sweden. The Vallhund is believed to have been a farm dog, skilled at herding cattle and other livestock, and was highly valued for its versatility and hardiness. ome believe the breed is a cross between a Scandinavian spitz dog and a Welsh corgi, but other historians believe the Vallhund is the older breed. The breed nearly went extinct in the early 1940s but was revived by two Swedish breed enthusiasts, K. G. Zettersten and Bjorn von Rosen. They launched a campaign to locate remaining specimens of the breed and began a concerted breeding program.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Swedish Cattledog, Västgötaspets, Viking Dog, Viking Corgi
Life Expectancy
12-15 years
Average Male Height
12.5-13.75 inches
Average Female Height
11.5-12.75 inches
Average Male Weight
20-35 pounds
Average Female Weight
20-35 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black, Blue, Gray, Red, White, Yellow
Coat Pattern
White Markings, Sable

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Swedish Vallhunds can suffer from hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, hyperuricosuria, and a type of progressive retinal atrophy called Swedish Vallhund retinopathy. Genetic testing can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Swedish Vallhunds are known for being friendly, intelligent, and energetic. They are highly trainable and excel in activities that challenge them mentally and physically, such as obedience, herding, and agility trials. They are also known for their loyalty and protective nature, making them excellent family pets. However, their herding background can make them prone to nipping at heels and trying to "herd" children or other animals, so they may need to be trained out of this behavior. Vallhunds are also known for being quite vocal and may bark or "talk" to their families.

Fun Facts

The Swedish Vallhund is often confused with the Corgi due to their similar appearance, but they are distinct breeds. The exact relationship between the two breeds is not known, but they likely share common ancestry.

The name "Vallhund" translates to "herding dog" in Swedish.

Despite their small size, Vallhunds are incredibly strong and athletic, capable of herding cattle and other large animals.

The breed is known for its unique "harness markings," darker fur that appears over the shoulders and resembles a harness.

This breed can be born naturally with no tail, stub tail or full curl tail.