The Swedish Vallhund is an amazing little dog that is far more capable than he looks. If you haven’t heard of them yet, don’t feel bad because you’re not alone. They were originally bred in Sweden and they’re not that well known in the North American part of the world yet. Although there aren’t that many of them in the United States, they’re starting to make an appearance. We were so impressed with this remarkable breed that we just had to share 10 things that most people don’t realize about them.
1. They’re easily mistaken for a Corgi
These small Scandinavian dogs have some of the characteristics of the Welsh Corgi. In fact, if you see one, you might think that it’s a beefier version, or perhaps a cross-breed. It’s actually a dog that was important into Scandinavia as far back as the 800s era. This makes it an ancient dog and it is believed to have ancestral origins in the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi lines. Early Scandinavians cultivated and refined the breed over time and it is distinct from the modern Corgis.
2. They’re work dogs
Breeding of the Swedish Vallhund began over a millennium ago. They were bred specifically for work purposes in more ancient times. These dogs excel at hunting down rats as well as at herding cattle and guarding homes. Hundreds of years later, they maintain this instinct and are happiest when they have a job to do.
3. Their pictures are shared internationally
Swedish Vallhunds have appeared on the postage stamps in several different countries throughout the world. These adorable pups have their mugs on mail from Russia, Mali, Ukraine, Nicaragua, Tajikistan and of course, Sweden. They’re a photogenic dog that is revered for its usefulness as a worker and as a pet in all of these nations.
4. Some are born without tails
Swedish Vallhund is a unique breed in that some of the individual puppies are born with tails, and some are born without. Some of these short-legged dogs are born with full-length tails and others are born with stub tails. You never know what length the tails of the puppies will be until after they’re born.
5. They used to be referred to as a “Viking Dog”
The Swedish Vallhund dog has been around for more than 1,000 years. The Vikings were responsible for bringing the breed back to Scandinavia from their travels to other lands. Hence, the breed was commonly called the Viking Dog, or in the Swedish vernacular, “Vikingarnas Hund.”
6. Swedish Vallhunds are excellent guard dogs
You may look at their size and have a hard time believing this, but these dogs do a great job of guarding the home or farm. In fact, that was a part of their jobs hundreds of years ago. Modern Vallhunds still have the natural instinct to remain alert and on guard. They will let you know if someone new shows up or if there is an intruder on the grounds.
7. The breed almost went extinct
Although this breed has been in existence for more than a thousand years, in recent history, it almost disappeared from the face of the earth. In 1942, the numbers were so low that it looked like the Swedish Vallhund had met its end. Two breeders named Bjorn von Rosen and K.G. Zettersten got their hands on three females and one male and brought about the revival of the breed which is now flourishing in Sweden and beyond.
8. They are fearless
It is just in their nature to be fearless dogs. They are alert, watchful and they’re not afraid of a confrontation. These pups do not have a tendency to attack or to be vicious but they will stand their ground when provoked. When it comes to defending their territory or loved ones they seldom back down from a challenging situation. They’ve even been known to run after intruders, chasing them away.
9. Swedish Vallhunds are strong
These regal dogs average between 12 to 14 inches in height when fully mature. The weight is between 20 and thirty pounds, placing them at a smaller to average size for a canine. For their size, they are very strong. They have well-defined muscles and a stout build. This is what has made them so highly valued as work animals as they are strong, capable and energetic.
10. They’re low to the ground
The build of these amazing little powerhouses is one of the reasons why they made such good cattle herding dogs. They are so low to the ground that they can easily nip the heels of cattle to get them to move. It’s harder for the cow to kick them than it would be if they were taller in stature.