The Swedish Vallhund is relatively new to the United States, but the breed has a long history in Scandinavia. SVs, as they are sometimes called, are small, strong, energetic, and fearless. Here are some more fun facts about the Swedish Vallhund:
1. He Was Previously Known as “Viking Dog”
The Swedish Vallhund breed is at least 1,000 years old, going all the way back to the age of the Vikings. At that time, the breed probably would have been known as “Vikingarnas Hund,”or the Viking Dog.
2. Their Name Means Herding Dog
The breed's modern name, “Vallhund” is Swedish for herding dog. Being low to the ground allows the Swedish Vallhund to nip at cattles' heels and avoid getting kicked. The Swedish Vallhund has been used for herding cattle and sheep, and also for hunting vermin and guarding the home or farm.
3. They Are Related to Corgis
Even if you're not familiar with the Swedish Vallhund, you probably know his “cousins,” the Corgi breeds. Some historians think Corgis were taken from Wales to Sweden in the 8th or 9th century, while others believe the Swedish Vallhund was taken to Wales in that time frame. Either way, interbreeding after the migration resulted in these two breeds having similar characteristics, i.e., long and stocky bodies.
4. They Almost Became Extinct
The Swedish Vallhund had almost become extinct by 1942. Two breeders, K. G. Zettersten and Bjorn von Rosen, saved the breed. They acquired one male, named Mopsen, and three females, named Vivi, Lessi, and Topsy, and used these four dogs to revive SV breeding in Sweden.
5. They Are Born With Different Tail Lengths
One unique characteristic of SVs is that many of them are born without tails. Others are born with stub tails or full-length tails.
6. They Have Appeared on Stamps in Many Countries
The Swedish Vallhund has appeared on postage stamps in Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, Tajikistan, Mali, and Nicaragua.
All photos courtesy of Lori Schaunaman, AKC Breeder of Merit