The Swedish Cattle Dog is also known as the Swedish Vallhund or Vallhund for short. This breed has a long history and there is evidence that it has existed for well over 1000 years.Although Swedish Cattle Dogs have been used historically as herding dogs, they also make excellent companions. They respond extraordinarily well to obedience training and, besides being great pets, are excellent herd dogs, trackers, and can even excel as rescue dogs.
Vallhunds are very energetic dogs that love to play. They are the ideal pets for nature-lovers as they are willing to do anything with their family, including run and hike. Vallhunds are very smart, very lively, and very easy to get along with. Swedish Cattle Dogs make great pets for people who live in an area in which the dog can get plenty of exercise.
Swedish Cattle Dogs rarely exceed 14 inches in height and can weigh up to 35 pounds at maturity, although the average weight is significantly less. Vallhunds are very strong dogs. They have a double coat, wooly underneath and with a medium-long, coarse overcoat. The Vallhund’s coat tends to range in color from brownish-gray to auburn shades. Some white markings are possible. Most Vallhunds have a long tail which is carried curled over the back, although about 33 percent of the dogs are born with either no tail or only a stump. Swedish Cattle dogs have dark colored oval eyes and pointed ears that stand erect. They have a deep chest and a sturdy, muscular body. Vallhunds are very healthy animals and can live to very old age.
Vallhunds originated in Sweden and were most commonly used in the areas of Vastegotland and Skane, Sweden. Vallhunds were bred for their size, as a small and agile animal was preferred to keep cattle in line. Although fairly well established now, with about 200 puppies being registered yearly in the breed’s native Sweden, the Vallhund was near extinction as recently as the mid 20th century. Swedish breeder K.G. Zettersten and Bjorn von Rosen rescued the breed by searching out and breeding the remaining animals.
The official name of the Swedish Cattle Dog or Swedish Cattledog in Sweden is Vastgotaspets, or Lansigootanmaanpystykorva in Finnish. The name was changed from the original name of Svensk Vallhund (Swedish Cattle Dog) in 1953, ten years after the breed was recognized by the Swedish Kennel Club. Although some Vallhunds are still used for herding purposes, more commonly Swedish Cattle Dogs are used for the purpose of keeping their owners company.