The Swedish Vallhund also called "västgötaspets" is a breed of dog. It is believed that the Swedish Vallhund distinguished itself during the age of Vikings, more than 1,000 years ago. Known as the "Viking dog", the Vallhund was bred to herd cattle, catch vermin (such as rats), and guard the home. The Vallhund was also referred to as "the little cattle dog of the Vikings."
Etymology The name vallhund is Swedish for herding/pasturing dog.
Size and weight Height for these little dogs at withers: Males 33 cm (12.9 in). Females 31 cm (12.2 in). A variation of -1 up to +2 cm is permitted. Weight: No weight standard. " They should be strong for their size and have a muscular body. They are quite a substantial dog, with short legs.
Color and coat The dog's coat should be short and harsh. The topcoat is close and tight and undercoat is soft and dense. The hair is short on the head and on the foreparts of the legs, while a little bit longer on the neck, chest and back parts of the hind legs. Colour vary from grey, greyish brown, greyish yellow or reddish brown with darker hairs on back, neck and sides of the body. Lighter hair in the same shade of colour as mentioned above can be seen on muzzle, throat, chest, belly, buttocks, feet and hocks. They have lighter markings on shoulders, also known as harness markings. Some dogs show white to a small extent as a narrow blaze, neckstop or slight necklace, as well as white markings on fore and hindlegs and on the chest. The maximum is 30% white.
Temperament This breed makes a great companion and can also be used for herding and ratting. They love human attention and are very devoted to their owners. They are a clownish type dog and can be a show-off at times. The Swedish Vallhund is responsive and even-tempered with most people, but they can be wary of strangers and should be properly socialized and trained as a puppy as to avoid over-protective behavior as an adult. They are also known for heel nipping due to their inbuilt herding traits. This is a habit that can either be encouraged for working farm dogs or discouraged in companion pets.
Activities The Vallhund can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, Rally obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Vallhunds that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
History The Swedish Vallhund is a very ancient national dog breed of Sweden and is often dated back to the 8th/9th century. They are known for being alert, eager, and brave dogs used to herd cows. These dogs with their bright, jaunty temperament made them suitable as a working dogs, watch dogs and companions. The Swedish Vallhund is also known as the Swedish cattle dog, and the original Västgötaspets.