Swedish Vallhund

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 2, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Vera Reva/Shutterstock.com


Swedish Vallhund Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Swedish Vallhund Conservation Status

Swedish Vallhund Locations

Swedish Vallhund Locations

Swedish Vallhund Facts

No problems learning tricks and simple tasks.
Common Name
Swedish Vallhund

Swedish Vallhund Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Dark Brown
Skin Type
15 years

Swedish Vallhund as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
20-31 lbs
Female weight
20-31 lbs

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The Swedish Vallhund is an adorable European herding dog with short legs and an attentive temperament.

These playful cow dogs love to spend their time running through fields, basking in the sunshine, and keeping the herd together.

See all of our expert product reviews.

Vallhunds and similar types of herding dogs have existed in Europe since the Viking era. The modern Swedish Vallhund breed was revived in the 1940s by a pair of breeders named K. G. Zettersten and Bjorn von Rosen. One of the unique marking features of this breed is the chance that a Swedish Vallhund could be born with a partial or even completely missing tail.

Overall, Swedish Vallhunds are intelligent working dogs that have adapted well to domestic life. These dogs do best when raised by a skilled trainer and are a good choice for experienced dog owners.

3 Pros And Cons Of Owning A Swedish Vallhund

Fun and playful! Swedish Vallhunds love to run, jump and play. These dogs are a great choice for active families that spend a lot of time outside.Nipping instinct. Vallhund puppies have a strong herding instinct that needs to be managed by an experienced trainer. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may end up with a dog that likes to bite ankles. Luckily, this can be counteracted with straightforward guidance and positive attention.
Expert watchdogs! Vallhunds are incredibly sensitive and alert dogs that can hear everything within their immediate radius. These dogs are great watchdogs that love to communicate with their owners.Social anxiety. Swedish Vallhunds are social dogs, but they are also very wary of danger. Vallhunds should be socialized early to make sure they feel comfortable around other people and their pets.
Family-oriented! Swedish Vallhunds are herding dogs, so they love the idea of keeping the family together. These pups love to hang out for family events like movie nights.Extra shedding. Vallhunds have thick winter coats that keep them warm while they herd cattle in the early mornings. However, those same coats also tend to shed a lot; to take good care of your dog, you’ll need to brush them frequently and keep the area vacuumed.

History Of The Breed

The Swedish Vallhund almost went extinct in the 1940s.

©GoDog Photo/Shutterstock.com

The Swedish Vallhund is an ancient breed of dog that dates back more than 1000 years and was once referred to as a Viking dog or the Vikingamas Hund. While this breed originates in Sweden, it dates back to the 8th century to the time when the Vikings conquered areas of Britain and is similar to the Welsh corgi which is why it is also referred to as the “wolf corgi”. The Vallhund was intended to be a farm dog, to herd cattle, and almost went extinct in the 1940s.

Health and Entertainment for your Swedish Vallhund

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Size And Weight

These are small herding dogs with short legs, pointed ears, and a thick coat of medium-length fur. Males and females are usually about the same size; they can grow to be 12-14 inches tall at the shoulder, and they tend to weigh between 20 and 30 pounds when they are fully grown.

Height12–14 inches12–13 inches
Weight20-30 lbs20-30 lbs

Common Health Issues

This dog is a healthy breed with plenty of active bloodlines spread across Europe. This means that your Swedish Vallhund won’t be at risk for any more health issues than the average dog. However, you should still be on the lookout for common ailments and diseases such as parvo, Lyme disease, and Von Willebrand disease. These dogs have particularly sensitive ears and eyes, which means that they may need extra care to prevent infections in these areas.

  • Retinal problems
  • Ear infections
  • Parvo
  • Lyme disease
  • Von Willebrand diease


Swedish vallhund dog portrait in a studio. Rare dog breed with white background.

The Swedish Vallhund has a higher prey drive and may have a harder time around small animals.

©Jne Valokuvaus/Shutterstock.com

These are sweet and engaging dogs that love to be a part of your family. The Swedish Vallhund was originally bred to be a cow dog, so expect your pet to be alert, interactive, and great with group interactions. They may have a hard time getting along with particularly small animals due to their slightly raised prey drive.

Many people see these dogs as guard dogs. Vallhunds have excellent senses and are constantly on the alert, so they’re great as watch dogs; however, because they’re so small, they can’t be asked to offer real physical protection. Swedish Vallhunds are great family dogs and get along well with kids.

How To Take Care Of A Swedish Vallhund

These dogs need plenty of exercise and attention to stay happy and healthy. Vallhunds do not get bored easily and love to tag along with their owners, so one of the best ways to keep them happy is to make them a part of your working lifestyle.

The Best Dog Food For Swedish Vallhunds

Like other dogs, Swedish Vallhunds need to eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein and healthy fats. Vallhunds are naturally energetic, and the amount of food that they need to consume will be directly related to how much energy they burn throughout the day. Vallhunds that are expected to be apartment dogs will be more comfortable if they are not overfed, but Vallhunds that work as cow dogs will want extra portions to help them manage entire herds.

A-Z Animals thinks Wellness CORE Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Wholesome Grains, High Protein Dog Food is the best dog food for Swedish Vallhunds.

In bites small enough for little dogs, turkey, chicken, and healthy grain ingredients come together for complete nutrition. It’s high protein for active dogs. There’s taurine for clear, sharp eyes, and probiotics that work from inside the digestive system to cultivate a tough immune system so an ear infection here and there isn’t the end of the world.

Wellness CORE Small Breed dog food is available on Chewy or Amazon.

Best High Protein for Small Breeds
Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Small Breed Original Recipe High Protein Dry Dog Food
  • Chicken and turkey meal, deboned chicken recipe for small dog breeds
  • Levels of taurine for heart health
  • Promotes lean muscles and lean body mass
  • No legumes, potatoes, fillers, artificial colors or flavors
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance And Grooming

Portrait of typical Swedish Vallhund in the grass during an agility training.

Swedish Vallhund’s double-coated fur will keep them warm and dry, which is perfect for cold weather.

©Marcel van den Bos/Shutterstock.com

Swedish Vallhunds are double-coated. They have a softer undercoat that keeps them warm and a coarse overcoat that keeps them dry. This is incredibly convenient for colder climates, but it also means that Vallhunds tend to shed a lot more than other dogs.

Plan to brush your Vallhund frequently to maintain the condition of their coat. Make sure not to get a brush that snags on their fur; instead, look for something that pulls through smoothly, especially at the thickest parts of the coat.

If you live in a moderate or warm climate, make sure that your Vallhund goes to the groomer in the summertime to get their undercoat trimmed. You should also make sure to regularly trim your Vallhund’s nails and check on the condition of their eyes, ears, and nose.


Swedish Vallhunds are incredibly intelligent and have great training potential. They have no problems learning tricks and simple tasks. They also have a strong herding potential that only needs to be lightly reinforced.

Vallhunds have the potential to be jumpy and wary of strangers, so they do better when they are socialized correctly as puppies. Expect your Vallhund to want to greet and interact with guests, and teach them healthy ways to express their general excitement and engagement.


Portrait of typical Swedish Vallhund running during an agility training.

This breed is high-energy and needs frequent exercise.

©Marcel van den Bos/Shutterstock.com

Swedish Vallhunds are high-energy dogs and need as much exercise as they can get. Expect to take your Vallhund on at least two walks a day. Vallhunds like to play, and they’re happiest in houses with room for moving around. A Swedish Vallhund can easily be an apartment dog if they are taken outside regularly and given plenty of attention by their owners.

Vallhunds are herding dogs, so they thrive under an incredibly active lifestyle if they are given the opportunity. These dogs are particularly popular on farms and in other environments where they can safely be brought with their owners.


Swedish Vallhund puppies go through a nipping phase and will need guidance as they learn to socialize.


Swedish Vallhund puppies are eager to get moving in life. Be aware that most Vallhund puppies go through a nipping phase, meaning they will need guidance as they learn to socialize with other dogs and people. In addition to nipping, you can also expect to see chewing and other immature but interactive behaviors.

Otherwise, Swedish Vallhund puppies are easy to raise and adapt well to most environments. Make sure to feed them a balanced diet with plenty of protein to encourage their long-term health.

Swedish Vallhunds And Children

These are friendly dogs that do well in group environments. Well-trained Vallhunds get along well with children and do well as members of domestic families. However, it’s not a good idea to let a child train a Vallhund puppy on their own, especially if they’ve never had a dog before.

Dogs Similar To Swedish Vallhunds

Swedish Vallhunds are great dogs, but they can be hard to find in some areas. If you’re looking for another playful and interactive herding dog, you should consider adopting a Finish Lapphund, a Welsh corgi, or an English Shepherd.

  • Finnish Laphunds – Laphunds is a sensitive and playful breed. They have slightly more domestic personalities than Vallhunds and may be a better choice for a family environment.
  • Welsh Corgis – The corgi is an iconic cattle dog that Swedish Vallhunds are often mistaken for. Corgis are sweet, friendly, and easy to train.
  • English Shepherds – The English shepherd is a talented and friendly herding dog. These dogs are a great choice for a working companion, but remember that they are slightly bigger than Swedish Vallhunds.

Popular names for Swedish Vallhunds include:

  • Dagny
  • Alvar
  • Greger
  • Breta
  • Lucky
  • Racer
  • Daisy
  • Skip

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


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About the Author

Melissa Bauernfeind was born in NYC and got her degree in Journalism from Boston University. She lived in San Diego for 10 years and is now back in NYC. She loves adventure and traveling the world with her husband but always misses her favorite little man, "P", half Chihuahua/half Jack Russell, all trouble. She got dive-certified so she could dive with the Great White Sharks someday and is hoping to swim with the Orcas as well.

Swedish Vallhund FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much do Swedish Vallhunds cost to own?

Purchasing a Swedish Vallhund from a breeder costs around $2500 dollars. In addition to normal maintenance costs that come along with owning a pet, Vallhunds also require semi-regular trips to the groomer and consistent vet check-ups to prevent ear infections.

Are Swedish Vallhunds good with kids?

Swedish Vallhunds are good with kids after they have already been trained. However, a Swedish Vallhund puppy should not be trusted alone with small children.

Is a Swedish Vallhund a corgi?

Swedish Vallhunds and corgis make look similar, but they are not related. Vallhunds have lankier frames and dark coats that are more likely to have speckled patterns than the copper or two-toned corgi.

Are Swedish Vallhunds good pets?

Swedish Vallhunds are fun, playful, and loving pets. These dogs do best in a house where they can move around and will get plenty of attention. If they receive enough time and training, your Swedish Vallhund will be a loyal companion for their entire life.

Do Swedish Vallhunds shed a lot?

Swedish Vallhunds are made to survive in winter conditions and feature a double-layered coat. This results in a significant amount of shedding, especially when the weather changes. The level of this shedding can be reduced by brushing your Vallhund on a regular basis.

Are Swedish Vallhunds hypoallergenic?

Swedish Vallhunds are not hypoallergenic. In fact, Vallhunds tend to shed more than many other kinds of dogs.

How long do Swedish Vallhunds live?

Swedish Vallhunds tend to live to be around 15 years old. You can increase your Vallhund’s lifespan by making sure they eat well and get a mild but not excessive amount of exercise.

Are Swedish Vallhunds herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Swedish Vallhunds are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Swedish Vallhunds belong to?

Swedish Vallhunds belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What phylum do Swedish Vallhunds belong to?

Swedish Vallhunds belong to the phylum Chordata.

What class do Swedish Vallhunds belong to?

Swedish Vallhunds belong to the class Mammalia.

What family do Swedish Vallhunds belong to?

Swedish Vallhunds belong to the family Canidae.

What order to Swedish Vallhunds belong to?

Swedish Vallhunds belong to order Carnivora.

What type of covering do Swedish Vallhunds have?

Swedish Vallhunds are covered in Hair.

What is the scientific name for the Swedish Vallhund?

The scientific name for the Swedish Vallhund is Canis lupus.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. Dogs Aholic, Available here: https://dogsaholic.com/breeds/profiles/swedish-vallhund.html
  2. Small Dog Place, Available here: https://www.smalldogplace.com/swedish-vallhund.html
  3. Dog Learn, Available here: https://www.dog-learn.com/breed-vs-breed/finnish-lapphund-vs-swedish-vallhund/

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