The Swedish Vallhund dates back more than 1,000 years to the time of the Vikings. Most historians believe that at some point during the 8th or 9th century, either the Vallhund was taken to Wales or the Welsh Corgi was brought to Sweden, given the striking similarity in the appearance of the two breeds. Today’s Vallhund is longer in leg, shorter in back and less stocky than today’s Corgi, although they still look similar. The Vallhund developed as a working dog, especially adept at rounding up and herding cattle by nipping at their heels.
The Vallhund was common and popular in Sweden before World War I. By 1942, the breed was nearly extinct. That year, Count Bjorn von Rosen and K. G. Zettersen took steps to save the breed. Through newspaper ads and other efforts, they found a few of the remaining Vallhunds and started the slow process of reviving the breed. In the 1940s, the Swedish Kennel Club officially recognized the breed as the Svensk Vallhund (vallhund means “herding dog”). The Swedish standard was revised in 1964, and the breed was renamed as the Vastgotaspet, after the Swedish province Vastergotland. The first Vallhund reportedly was taken to England in 1974. The Swedish Vallhund Breed Society was formed in 1980, and The Kennel Club (England) recognized the breed in 1985. Two Vallhunds were brought to America by Marilyn Thell of Rhode Island in 1985. The Swedish Vallhund Club of America was founded in 1987. The American Kennel Club admitted the Vallhund as a member of the Herding Group in 2007.
Today’s Swedish Vallhund is alert, active, athletic and adaptable. In addition to his herding skills, this breed excels in obedience, conformation, agility, tracking and flyball events and makes a wonderful companion.
The average life span of the Swedish Vallhund is 13 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and renal dysplasia.