Swedish Vallhund Breed Information and Buying advice

Swedish Vallhund

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Swedish Vallhund?

Quick Swedish Vallhund Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Pastoral (3/8)
No (2/2)
Good things often come in small packages, and the Swedish Vallhund is no exception. Also known as the Västgötaspets in its native Sweden, this small breed of pastoral dog has a lot to offer, yet it’s still relatively unknown in the UK. It’s possible that they’re overshadowed by the similar-looking Welsh Corgi, but this rarity only adds to the appeal of Swedish Vallhunds. In Swedish, Vallhund means herding dog, and that’s what these dogs historically were used for. Today, they make excellent companion pets and love spending time with owners and their families. There are many great reasons to purchase a Swedish Vallhund, not least of which is their adorably cute appearance and their confidently outgoing temperament.  

Why Swedish Vallhunds are Great

Some highlights of Swedish Vallhunds:
  1. Loyalty: Swedish Vallhunds make loving, loyal companions for owners and their families.
  2. Health: as a small, pure breed, Swedish Vallhunds are healthy and can live up to 15 years.
  3. Grooming: this breed has a coat that’s easy to maintain, making it a sensible choice of puppy for owners that don’t want to visit the groomer too frequently.
  4. Watchdog: Swedish Vallhunds are naturally excellent watchdogs, as are many pastoral breeds.
  5. Intelligent: this breed is highly intelligent and can therefore learn many tricks and commands with little repetition.

Things to Consider when Looking at Swedish Vallhunds for Sale

Some downsides to the Swedish Vallhund:
  1. Prey drive: this breed has a high prey drive and may be prone to chasing other animals.
  2. Isolation: as a sociable breed, Swedish Vallhunds don’t tolerate being left alone at all and can quickly become bored.
  3. Barking: some Swedish Vallhunds tend to bark a little too much, which may make them undesirable for those looking for a quiet breed.
  4. First-time owners: this breed has fairly high maintenance requirements in terms of temperament and thus is not ideal for first-time owners.

History of the Swedish Vallhund

It’s believed that the Swedish Vallhund was used in the early middle ages as a watchdog and cattle herding dog in Sweden. During the 8th and 9th centuries, this breed was introduced to Britain during the Viking invasions of England. Some believe that these loyal companions accompanied the Vikings during their early raids and were the ancestors to the Welsh Corgi. Another theory claims the opposite, that the Welsh Corgi was brought back to Scandinavia by the Vikings after pillaging and looting towns and monasteries all around the British Isles. Whatever the case, Swedish Vallhunds go back a long way. In the 1930s, Swedish Vallhunds were near the point of extinction. Count Björn von Rosen and headmaster Karl Gustaf Zetterstén began the first breeding programme of Swedish Vallhunds in order to preserve the breed and to increase their numbers. They were recognised by the Swedish Kennel Club in 1948.  


The Swedish Vallhund can be recognised easily by its low, small stature. They appear energetic yet watchful. They most resemble the Welsh Corgi, likely because they may be related historically. Despite their small size, Swedish Vallhunds appear muscular and robust. Their coats of fur are short/moderate in length and harsh. Their ears point upwards. Their tails are versatile in that they come in many shapes and sizes and may appear docked, although docking is illegal in many jurisdictions.  

How big is the Swedish Vallhund?

Swedish Vallhunds are small-sized dogs. Males grow on average to 33-35 cm in height, whilst females can grow up to 31-33 cm high.  

How heavy is a Swedish Vallhund?

Fully-grown adult male and female Swedish Vallhunds weigh between 11.5-16 kg on average.  

What colour is the Swedish Vallhund?

The following colours are commonly recognised for the Swedish Vallhund:
  • Grey;
  • Greyish brown;
  • Greyish yellow;
  • Reddish yellow;
  • Reddish brown.
  It’s also quite common to find white markings on the muzzle, feet, chest, belly, and hocks, but the white should not take up more than 30% of the total coat area.  


Swedish Vallhunds may be small in stature, but they are pastoral dogs at heart and as such are territorial and prefer large, open spaces to small, confined ones. This breed is adaptable to urban environments, but a small home is preferable in the country, where he can roam and play freely. Another key trait of Swedish Vallhunds is their superb intelligence. As with many intelligent breeds, a gentle hand, patience, and plenty of training as puppies can help them grow into obedient and well-behaved companions. For this reason, Swedish Vallhunds may not be the best choice for first-time owners.  

Do Swedish Vallhunds make good guard dogs?

Despite their small size, Swedish Vallhunds are natural wachdogs and guard dogs accustomed to guarding cattle herds and homesteads in their native Sweden. As watchdogs, they will reliably bark at intruders or whenever suspicious activity is detected on the property.  

Do Swedish Vallhunds bark a lot?

Some Swedish Vallhunds tend to bark excessively, but this behaviour can be reduced with proper training as puppies and by spending plenty of time with them. Avoid neglecting them and they’ll repay the affection in kind.  

Are Swedish Vallhunds easy to train?

This breed is fairly easy to train, but as with many intelligent pastoral breeds, they may show signs of disobedience and independence from time to time. Training requires patience and persistence, but it pays off since Swedish Vallhunds are sensitive and respond best to a gentle hand.  

Are Swedish Vallhunds playful?

As a sociable breed, Swedish Vallhunds are playful, especially as puppies.  

Are Swedish Vallhunds good with children?

This breed gets along well with older children. Around younger children, nipping and chewing may be problematic.  

Are Swedish Vallhunds good with other pets?

This breed can get along well with other pets, but their high prey drive may encourage them to chase cats and small pets such as rodents around the house.  

Can I leave a Swedish Vallhund alone?

Swedish Vallhunds don’t like being left alone for anything more than a short period of time.  

Do Swedish Vallhunds like water?

Although some Swedish Vallhunds enjoy swimming, many may encounter difficulties due to their short legs. Always supervise your Swedish Vallhund around the water, especially as puppies.  


How long do Swedish Vallhunds live? 

Generally, Swedish Vallhunds are expected to live anywhere from 12-15 years.  

How much exercise does a Swedish Vallhund need?

This breed requires plenty of exercise. Ensure that your Swedish Vallhund puppy gets an hour of stimulating exercise every day, and keep up this habit as he grows older.  

What are a Swedish Vallhund’s common health issues?

Swedish Vallhunds are prone to the following common health issues:
  • Progressive retinal atrophy;
  • Hip dysplasia.
  Generally, Swedish Vallhunds are a healthy breed.  


How much space do I need for a Swedish Vallhund? 

Although they may be a small breed, Swedish Vallhunds are happiest and healthiest in a home where they have plenty of space to roam. This means that small homes with gardens are ideal.  

What should I feed my Swedish Vallhund?

A fully-grown Swedish Vallhund should be fed 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dog food every day. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding.  

How much grooming do Swedish Vallhunds need?

Swedish Vallhunds are easy to maintain and require little grooming. A weekly brushing will keep their coats of fur healthy and remove dead hair effectively.  

Do Swedish Vallhunds shed?

This breed doesn’t shed much hair at all and is relatively easy to clean up after.  

Average Costs

How much does it cost to keep a Swedish Vallhund?

As a rough guide in pricing:  Cost to buy: roughly £400 for a well-bred Swedish Vallhund puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £50-80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your Swedish Vallhund puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder.  More specifically, here is some Swedish Vallhund puppy buying advice:
  1. Swedish Vallhunds are not very popular in the UK, and as such they may be harder to obtain. Don’t settle for the first offer that comes your way; instead, look carefully at your offers and ensure that the puppy was bred ethically and according to standards of the Kennel Club of Great Britain.
  2. Although they come from Sweden, Swedish Vallhunds can live in warm and hot climates just fine thanks to their short coat of fur. Ensure that your puppy has shade and plenty of water during hot summer days, but don’t worry too much about warm weather. This breed is adaptable to many climates despite its country of origin.

Other Reading, Adopting Swedish Vallhund Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: Swedish Vallhund Society: https://www.swedishvallhunds.co.uk/  Swedish Vallhund Club of Canada: https://www.swedishvallhundclubofcanada.com/  Federation Cynologique Internationale: https://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/014g05-en.pdf  Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=5142  UK Dog Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet