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Swedish Vallhunds: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Swedish Vallhund temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Swedish Vallhund dog breed

Swedish Vallhund Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2014


The FCI Standard calls the Swedish Vallhund "watchful, alert, and energetic."

Spirited and athletic, yet steady and dependable, the Swedish Vallhund is a true "big dog with short legs."

Hiking, herding, obedience, agility, or chasing balls (with surprising speed) are enjoyable outlets for the Vallhund's enthusiasm and desire to work.

Swedish Vallhunds love to be challenged with new tasks. If his days include such moderate exercise, along with the loving companionship of his family, he is adaptable and easy to live with.

Most Swedish Vallhunds are friendly (or at least polite) with everyone and make sensible watchdogs. Most are fine with other animals and especially wonderful with livestock, including horses.

This attentive breed learns quickly and responds well to obedience training, but he does combine the independent judgment of a herding breed with the persistent, sometimes manipulative nature of the spitz family. You must have the confidence to establish and consistently enforce rules, or he may make up his own.

Swedish Vallhunds prefer their flock (family members and other pets) to be gathered together and may try to accomplish this by poking or nipping. Barking needs to be controlled.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is a "big dog" with short legs, i.e. built long and low to the ground, but with a robust body, heavy bone, and a working dog temperament
  • Has a short easy-care coat
  • Is spirited and athletic, but needs only moderate exercise to maintain his muscle tone
  • Combines the working intelligence of a herding breed with the playful nature of a spitz
  • Is less "bossy" than a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, but less "mellow" than a Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Is polite with guests and makes a sensible watchdog
  • Is usually fine with other family pets, and especially good with livestock

A Swedish Vallhund may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • Providing lots of mental stimulation that fulfills his desire to work and gives him something productive to do
  • Destructiveness when bored or left alone too much
  • Territorial aggression toward dogs and cats he doesn't know
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
  • Barking
  • Heavy shedding
  • Waiting lists (hard to find) and a high price tag

A Swedish Vallhund may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Swedish Vallhund

If I was considering a Swedish Vallhund, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. With their short legs and long body, Swedish Vallhunds don't need or want miles of running exercise, but they MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. I strongly recommend that you get your Swedish Vallhund involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, agility (an obstacle course for dogs), tracking, or herding. Otherwise, trying to suppress their "hardwired" working instincts, without providing alternate outlets for their energy, can be difficult.

  2. Chasing other animals. One of the Swedish Vallhund's responsibilities was to drive away strange dogs from their owner's farm and flock. Many Swedish Vallhunds are dominant or aggressive toward dogs and cats they don't know.

  3. Mind of their own. Swedish Vallhunds are not Golden Retrievers. They have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative or willful, and you must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Vallhund to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Swedish Vallhund Training Page discusses the program you need.

  4. Barking. Swedish Vallhunds are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, Swedish Vallhunds are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, Vallhunds should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, some Vallhunds have intense, high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.

  5. Heavy shedding. Swedish Vallhunds shed a lot, be aware.

  6. Finding one and paying the price. In the United States, Swedish Vallhunds are very hard to find and expensive.


book cover To learn more about training Swedish Vallhunds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Swedish Vallhund the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Swedish Vallhund. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Swedish Vallhund might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Swedish Vallhund home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Swedish Vallhund...

When you're acquiring a Swedish Vallhund PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Swedish Vallhunds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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