Swedish Vallhund: The Ultimate Dog Guide


The Swedish Vallhund, often referred to as the “Viking dog”, has a storied history. It’s believed these dogs traveled with Vikings, serving both as herders and guardians. Their compact size, versatility, and hearty nature made them ideal companions for the seafaring Norsemen.

Attribute Details
Origin Sweden
Size Small to Medium
Appearance Sturdy, muscular build with a wolf-like appearance. Pointed ears and alert eyes.
Coat Color and Texture Ranges from sable to gray, short to medium length double coat.
Lifespan 12-15 years
Temperament Lively, intelligent, affectionate, alert, and responsive.
Diet High-quality dog food, either commercially prepared or home-prepared under vet supervision.
Exercise Needs High energy; requires daily walks and play sessions.
Grooming Regular brushing, especially during shedding seasons. Occasional bathing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning.
Common Health Issues Potential for hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and certain neurological disorders.

Physical Characteristics of Swedish Vallhund


The Swedish Vallhund is a small to medium-sized dog with a sturdy and muscular build. They possess a double coat that ranges from sable to gray and can either be short or medium in length. Their wolf-like appearance, with pointed ears and alert eyes, gives them a striking look.

Lifespan and Health

Generally, Swedish Vallhunds are healthy dogs with a lifespan of 12-15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be predisposed to certain health issues. Regular check-ups and being aware of their health needs can ensure they lead a full, healthy life.

Temperament and Personality of Swedish Vallhund

General Behavior Traits

These dogs are known for their lively spirit, intelligence, and affectionate nature. They are alert and responsive, making them excellent watchdogs.

Interaction with Children and Other Pets

The Swedish Vallhund is usually great with children, displaying patience and playfulness. They also tend to get along well with other dogs, but early socialization is essential, especially with smaller pets.

Intelligence and Trainability

Highly intelligent and eager to please, the Swedish Vallhund is relatively easy to train. Their herding background means they respond well to tasks and challenges.

Care and Maintenance of Swedish Vallhund

Diet and Nutrition

It’s crucial to provide a balanced diet to maintain their energy levels and overall health. High-quality dog food, either commercially prepared or home-prepared with a veterinarian’s supervision, is recommended.

Exercise Requirements

This breed has a lot of energy to burn. Daily walks, play sessions, and occasional herding opportunities will keep them happy and healthy.

Grooming Needs

Their double coat requires regular brushing, especially during the shedding seasons. Bathing should be done as needed, and other routine care like nail trimming and ear cleaning are essential.

Training and Socialization of Swedish Vallhund

Puppy Training

Starting training early is crucial. Basic commands like sit, stay, and come can be taught to puppies as young as 7-8 weeks old.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Using treats, praise, and toys as rewards can be effective in training. Always ensure to reinforce good behavior.

Addressing Common Behavioral Issues

Being a herding breed, they might have tendencies to nip at heels. It’s essential to address this early and redirect the behavior.

Socialization Tips

Expose your Vallhund to various people, places, and situations early on. This will help them grow up to be well-rounded dogs.

Common Health Issues in Swedish Vallhund

Genetic Predispositions

Some may be predisposed to hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and certain neurological disorders. Regular screenings can help detect these early on.

Preventative Care

Regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive treatments against parasites are crucial for the Swedish Vallhund.

Tips for a Healthy Life

A mix of a good diet, regular exercise, mental stimulation, and regular vet visits will ensure your Vallhund leads a healthy life.

Breeding and Puppy Selection of Swedish Vallhund

Ethical Breeding Practices

Always opt for breeders who prioritize the health, temperament, and conformity to breed standards over other factors.

How to Choose a Reputable Breeder

A good breeder will be knowledgeable, have a genuine love for the breed, and be open to answering all your questions. Always ask to see health clearances for both the puppy’s parents.

Selecting the Right Puppy for Your Home

Look for a puppy that fits your lifestyle. An active puppy might not be best for a sedentary household and vice versa.

Swedish Vallhund in Competitions

Herding Trials

Given their background, many Swedish Vallhunds excel in herding trials, showcasing their innate skills.

Agility and Obedience

Their intelligence and trainability make them standouts in agility and obedience competitions.

Show Standards

If you’re interested in showing your Vallhund, familiarize yourself with the breed’s standards as set by kennel clubs.

Living with a Swedish Vallhund

Everyday Life and Routines

Routine is key. Regular feeding, exercise, and playtimes will help keep your Vallhund content.

Traveling with Your Vallhund

Being compact, they’re relatively easy to travel with. However, always ensure they’re comfortable and safe during journeys.

Fun Activities and Bonding Time

From fetch to hiking, there are numerous ways to bond with your Vallhund. Find activities you both enjoy and strengthen your bond.

The adaptability of the Swedish Vallhund

Housing Requirements

The Swedish Vallhund is quite adaptable when it comes to their living situation. While they thrive in homes with backyards where they can run and play, they can also adjust well to apartment living provided they receive sufficient exercise. It’s crucial, however, to ensure their living space is safe and secure to prevent them from wandering or chasing after something, given their herding instincts.

Weather Tolerance

Originating from the cooler climates of Sweden, the Swedish Vallhund has a coat that’s designed to keep them warm. This makes them relatively tolerant of colder weather. However, during extreme heat, it’s essential to provide them with shade and fresh water, limiting their outdoor activities to cooler parts of the day.

Cultural Impact of Swedish Vallhund

Influence in Media and Art

While not as commonly depicted as some other breeds, the Swedish Vallhund has occasionally made its appearance in media and art. Their distinctive looks and rich history make them subjects of interest in paintings, stories, and even film. Delving into cultural representations, one can find traces of this breed’s influence, reminding us of their enduring legacy and the deep bond between humans and dogs.


Embracing a Swedish Vallhund into your life means welcoming a companion with a rich heritage, unmatched intelligence, and boundless energy. Their distinct characteristics, combined with their affectionate nature, make them an unparalleled choice for families, individuals, and dog enthusiasts. As with any breed, understanding and catering to their unique needs ensures a harmonious relationship. Whether you’re drawn to their history, their versatility, or simply their infectious spirit, the Swedish Vallhund promises a journey filled with memories, adventures, and unwavering loyalty.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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