Due to its high level of activity and intelligence, the breed, which is also often called Swedish Vallhund or, incorrectly, Westgotenspitz, demands a lot from its owner. But the dog, which looks like a Welsh Corgi at first sight, rewards with its loyalty and affectionate nature.
Among the otherwise long-limbed Nordic dogs, the Swedish Vallhund has conspicuously short legs. Thus, he is also longer overall than he is tall and, depending on type, has either a tail up to 25 cm long with bushy hair or a naturally short tail. His coat is dense and close lying with a soft undercoat. His coloration is striking in two respects: His head in gray and brown tones is reminiscent of that of a wolf. In addition, his coat is darker on the back, neck and sides than on the belly and the rest of the body. His very mobile ears are medium-sized and pointed.
The Swedish Vallhund has not lost his protective instinct. He is a regular workhorse and will rarely just lie around. As an original herding dog, he will always watch his surroundings carefully. He wants to be kept busy and will only allow himself a break after sufficient exercise or mental demand.
Even with intensive training, the Swedish Vallhund will remain a noisy animal. He simply loves to bark. He gets along well with children, but they should be a bit bigger and should not push him, otherwise he can also tend to nip.
The right food
Like most other breeds, the Swedish Vallhund is quite low-maintenance when it comes to feeding. A high quality dog food, whether wet or dry, will ensure a healthy, long dog life. The food should be without added sugar and have a high meat content. In between you best reach for dental care snacks and chewing items. This keeps the active animal busy and prevents tartar.
Due to its dense coat with equally dense undercoat, this breed requires regular brushing. Especially on hot summer days, you should pay special attention that the Swedish Vallhund has access to cooler shady places and of course always provide enough water.
Also claws, ears and teeth should be checked from time to time. Not to forget the eyes: The Swedish Vallhund is prone to an eye disease. Starting at 10 years of age, the condition known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy can occur. It can lead to night blindness and affects about one in three dogs. Otherwise, however, he is very robust and hardly susceptible to genetically inherited diseases.
The very active breed should be equipped with a quality harness and leash. Ideal would be a large, fenced meadow, where the dog can really let off steam. In puppyhood, a visit to puppy classes at a dog school is also recommended to socialize him well. The Swedish Vallhund usually gets along very well with other dogs, but he tends to be a bit rough. The best way to deal with this is with early training.
Origin & History
The striking similarity to the Welsh Corgi Cardigan suggests that one breed evolved from the other. It is unclear whether the Swedish Vallhund was originally brought from Sweden to England or from England to Sweden. Also a parallel development in both countries without there having been an exchange is conceivable. In any case, however, in his name is his origin, Västergötland, a province in the southwest of Sweden.
Bred at the time for driving cattle and hunting rats, it was not until the last century that the Swedish Vallhund was rediscovered and recognized as a breed in its own right.