Swedish Vallhund

  • Overview

    The Swedish Vallhund is a rare, small Spitz breed. These fearless, squat little dogs are comical in their carriage but serious in their determination. They are sturdily built, generally weighing between 19 and 30 pounds, and they are longer than they are tall.

    These petite herding dogs make devoted companions and cheerful pets. They rely on frequent exercise, activity and socialization. Swedish Vallhunds love to bestow affection on their owners, whom they consistently work to please.

  • Personality

    These little guys are alert and very eager to please. Their energetic spirit makes them excellent herding dogs, but they also love to play and exercise with their owners.

    Swedish Vallhunds are watchful and extremely loyal to their owners. They are protective watch dogs, despite their small size. Their protective tendencies sometimes materialize in over-enthusiastic nipping. Because these dogs have a little bit of a complex about their small size, it is important to socialize them with children and dogs of all sizes while they are puppies so they learn that they do not always have to be top dog. Really, these petite but serious dogs are affectionate, cheerful companions who bond closely with their families and with children. They strive to please above all else, so they will respond negatively to overly harsh or critical training techniques. They prefer gentle, affirmative training that emphasizes their good qualities.

  • Coat Care

    Swedish Vallhunds have harsh coats that help them stay warm while working in cold climates. Their double coat is made up of a close, tight top coat and a soft undercoat. The hair around the head is shorter than the neck and body hair. Their tails are either a natural bobtail, a short stub tail or a fully curled tail. Swedish Vallhunds come in all varieties of grey, in sable patterns with variations of grey, white and red. The hair on the lower body and chest is lighter than the hair on the face and back.

Brushing

Swedish Vallhunds have medium-short coats that are not demanding to groom. Although they do not need to be trimmed, they do need to be brushed with a small pin brush about once a week to remove any dead hairs.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but some double-coated dogs can be done so with less frequency (the Alaskan Malamute, in particular, has no odor and can go with annual baths). The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Remember to wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing. High-velocity dryers work great to remove excessive loose hair with shedding.

Hair Clipping

They will appreciate trimming around their foot pads in the winter.

Nails

They will appreciate frequent nail clippings to keep their nails short and healthy.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corgis, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and Collies have sensitive ears that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If your dog is prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.