The Pet Directory - Dog Articles -The Swedish Vallhund Down Under

As published in The Pet Directory QLD, WA & NT Edition
The drawing on the Breed Description below are by Margaret Davidson Spirit, Photos supplied Cabel Candid Canines and the others supplied by Oili Helenius - Finland

The Swedish Vallhund first arrived on Australian soil in January 1981 when Sheila and Dennis Haddon of Norsled Kennel fame, migrated to Western Australia. The first dogs to arrive were Norsled Foxy and Norsled Balzac spending three months in quarantine. They were shortly followed by Norsled Maisey and Mildane Blue Wind. Six months after the Haddon’s arrived in Western Australia they moved to South Australia, this was when the breed debuted in the show ring, later they were to move to Victoria where they remained until moving to Ireland in 1996.

The first litter born in Australia was on the 10 April 1983 by Foxy out of Maisey and consisting of Norsled Archie, Arbie, Alfie, Amy and Annie a further fourteen litters were produced in Australia under the Norsled prefix.

At the Melbourne Royal Show in 1985, Norsled Dinkum made bred history when she became the first Swedish Vallhund to win Puppy in Working Group.

Prior to the Haddon’s leaving Australia, in 1993 they imported a dog from Sweden, Kärradalens Bruno Björnbuse who produced one litter. What dogs the Haddon’s did not take to Ireland with them were transferred into the ownership of Sharon Donaldson Ausled Kennels of Ouyen in Victoria. Sharons daughter Ebony Wright at 12 years of age, trained Norsled Sonny to become the breeds first Australian Obedience Champion.

In 1992, 11 years after the first dogs arrived here Mrs Pat Gowland of Anduin Kennels in NSW, imported a bitch and a dog from New Zealand, sadly both were ill fated with the dog drowning in a swimming pool, the bitch Valdemar Bella producing two litters before being killed in an accident.

That same year Margaret and Brian Stevens of Bronwylfa Kennels in NSW imported a bitch from Sweden, Chatka Nora. Like Norsled Foxy and Norsled Maisey, Chatka Nora has left her stamp on her Australian progeny.

Mandy Lees of Leesway kennels in NSW imported a bitch in 1993 from the United Kingdom, Svedala Lilla Gunborg of Hildrek, (Gunni) who too was ill fated and died seven months, after producing one litter of five puppies, from paralysis tick poisoning, Christmas time 1994.

1994 was when I came into the Swedish Vallhund picture when approached by Mandy Lees to assist her in the promotion and exhibition of the breed in NSW. After a short time of involvement in the breed, Mandy and I felt, importations of further blood lines were necessary, not only to increase genetic diversification but with a view to progressing the quality and breed type. Now to find a suitable outcross of type and structure we felt necessary to improve the quality of the dogs we currently owned. After some investigation it was decide to take the plunge into technology with Mandy and myself importing Frozen Semen from the USA from a Canadian registered, Swedish bred dog Vastgota Rudolf Valentino.

The Frozen semen arrived in 1995; we then waited patiently until a bitch came into season, which happened to be Leesway AnnaVersary. Annie produced three puppies on 13th January 1996, followed by a second (ai) litter in 1998. Bronwylfa Evening Star produced the third (ai) litter in late 1998.

Since then a further three dogs have arrived in Australia from New Zealand. One a grandson of Vastgota Rudolf Valentino, Valkrista Kiwi Konnection, imported by Christine Robertson of Kloval Kennels in South Australia, Kallstrom Magnusson, to Roslyn Kildeys Kennel in Northern Queensland, followed by the return of Leesway Man About Town to Ausled Kennels in Victoria.

In 2002, it was my intention to import a puppy from Finland. Kirsi Hotenen owner of Fennican Geeba Gerbera produced a litter of puppies on the 26 January 2002, ironically Australia Day. One of the male puppies from this litter was Bodeneis Benjamin Brego after the necessary quarantine requirements were fulfilled was to be imported into Australia to my Dlarah Kennel in November of 2002. Sadly this was not to be, like something out of a horror movie, while in transit to Finland to visit with Kirsi and meet Benny; I received the sad news that Benny at twelve weeks of age was gravely ill with Parvo Virus. Benny died on the morning I left Finland for Sweden where I was heading off to attend the Swedish Speciality. A dream trip had turned into a nightmare; it was such a sad time for all concerned, I am sure that Kirsi felt as shattered as I had. This left me somewhat uncertain as to what direction to go in regarding importation of bloodlines into Australia, after much deliberation, taking into consideration the Australian quarantine constraints and unable to find anything that I felt suitable I once again pursued the technology as an option and imported frozen semen from three Finnish dogs, Fennican Lännen Lokari, Hackenspetts Mr Benz and Karjakon Huikanpoika. Hoping that success with further artificial mating will continue to add the Australian gene pool and breed type.

Currently, Swedish Vallhunds are being trained in agility but to date none have gained any official agility titles. Norsled Sonny, Leesway Viking and Leesway Middle C have gained their Companion Dog obedience titles; Leesway Viking and Leesway Middle C have also gained their TD, tracking title, both dogs are owned and handled by Heather Martyn. Leesway Valle Girl gained her Endurance Title and is owned and handled by Maureen Wright. Maureen tells Abba’s story under the Specialty Pursuits Chapter of this book.

On 16th August 2004 two more puppies arrived on our shores from Sweden, they were imported by Lisa Jönsson of NSW, a dog Sänningegårdens Elof Rönn and a bitch Boeråsens Eira, further diversifying the Australian gene pool.

Since the breed’s arrival to Australia some four hundred and fifty dogs have been registered from 1981 until March 2004.

The Swedish Vallhund is an ancient breed of dog from the Spitz group of dogs. They were used as all purpose farm dogs in the flat cattle country of Sweden and mostly found in the West and Southern provinces. With their short legs, agility and speed, they are ideally suited to cattle herding.

The appearance of the Swedish Vallhund is a medium sized dog of about 33cms (13”), with a slightly longer body than tall, he is well-muscled, powerful and robust, with a keen alert attitude. The topcoat is medium short harsh but closely fitting and a soft woolly undercoat.


The colour of the coat varies from light to dark shades of grey or reddish yellow with lighter shades found on the cheeks, throat, belly, buttocks, feet and hocks. A hallmark of the breed is its distinctive and most desirable lighter facial mask, although a dark mask is acceptable, and harness markings near the shoulder and upper arm.

The tail is a distinguishable feature, with many puppies being born without a tail or a short stump, while others may be born with varying lengths through to a full tail.

To fully convey the temperament of the Swedish Vallhund is difficult with one not fully understanding the extent of this breeds personality until you are owned by one. They have a strong herding instinct with a natural ability to herd. It is not unusual for their owners to find their dogs coming in behind in an attempt to drive them along. The breed has a sense of humour, with a happy disposition and is important that he be included in the family activities enjoying being the principle character. The Swedish Vallhund is a willing positive, honest worker who easy to teach is proud, open, frank and unafraid.

The Swedish Vallhund is happiest when playing with other Swedish Vallhunds, with the play often appearing to be rough and noisy, yet rarely hurting themselves. This breed needs stimulation and is most comfortable when there is plenty of activity around or activities for them to participate in. They require freedom and are intelligent but also strong willed requiring a steady hand with training commencing at an early age.

The breed gets on well with other dogs and children. They are low maintenance with a water resistant coat that repels dirt or mud and do not have a doggy odour.

The dog is larger and more masculine looking than the bitch, but both should be strong and capable of doing a good days work.

The preferred height for Males is 33 to 35 cm (13” to 13.75), Females 31 to 33 cm (12” to 13”). Weight: 11.4 – 15.9 kg (25-35lbs)

For further information please contact:
Leonie Darling - Dlarah Swedish Vallhunds
Phone: 02 6334 2772

Your Swedish Vallhund with its weather resistant coat is not difficult to keep clean. However getting your puppy into a regular grooming routine is important.

The equipment you will need is:
a) Bristle Brush b) Slicker Brush
c) Wide toothed metal comb d) Nail Clippers
e) Mild Shampoo (only use medicated shampoo on Vet’s advice), some shampoos such as tea tree oil based shampoos maybe toxic to your dog.

Using the bristle brush and your hand, brush the coat in the opposite way to the direction of the lay. This will expose the base of the hair. Check for any parasites, flaky skin or grass seeds etc. Smooth the coat down again and remove any loose hair with the metal comb and or a slicker brush. Fluff out the ‘trousers’, the bushy furnishings on the hindquarters.

The adult dog loses its coat at least once a year, generally at a change of seasons such as spring and autumn. It is at these times when grooming is of the most importance, they will lose a lot of hair, so regular daily grooming is recommended to remove the dead hair. Grooming your dog should be at least a weekly activity as it assists in maintaining coat and skin care; and provides you with the opportunity to check your dog for any lumps, skin problems and general health changes.

When bathing your dog it is a good idea to place an old towel or a non slip mat in the bottom of the bath to prevent the dog from slipping. Shampoos remove a dogs natural coat oils and some of its waterproof qualities. Ensure that you rinse the coat thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo, towel or blow-dry thoroughly. Do not use household soap on your dog as this will dull the coat and may cause skin problems.

Grooming is not just a question of brushing your dogs coat out; it is a means of checking their general condition and getting them used to being handled right from the start. Pay particular attention to the eyes, ears, teeth and nails. Look for any abnormal discharge from the eyes, grass seeds in between toes or in ears. Teeth should be free from tartar and the breath should be fresh.

Nails should be clipped when necessary. This should be done with a great deal of care to avoid cutting the quick. If the very tip is removed regularly you will avoid long nails and the dog will be more comfortable. Regularly nail clipping keeps the dog’s feet in good order and helps to maintain their tightness. Long nails contribute to splaying and flattening of the feet. Exercising on a hard surface such as concrete may reduce the necessity for regular clipping.

If, during grooming you come across anything you are unhappy with then please do not hesitate to consult your vet.

General Information

It is strongly advised you to enrol in a dog training class or a puppy playgroup in your area once your puppy has completed its inoculations. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly it helps to socialise your puppy with other dogs and secondly, it will help you to get the most from your puppy.

Socialising your puppy is one of the most important aspects of early training. When they have had all of their inoculations take them out to experience as much of the world around them as possible. Tuck them under your arm and walk round town, past cars, motorcycles and buses. Allow them to meet people, other dogs and cats etc. During the 8 - 20 week's period they are able to absorb and accept many new sights and sounds which are important for the mental development of your dog. If this is not done before they reach 20 weeks your dog maybe unable to cope with new situations, reacting in a wary or aggressive manner. The more you socialise your puppy the better they can cope with everyday life.

The Swedish Vallhund is primarily a robust health breed. The average life span of the breed is approximately fifteen years, with the oldest official recorded age being twenty seven years.

It is important, prior to purchasing a puppy to ensure you have done your research on the breed and the breeders within the breed, check the breeder’s credentials, ensuring the breeder undertakes health checks on their dogs such as hip scores and eye tests. Ask to look at the sire and dam if possible to determine the temperament of the breeding stock.

The breed generally has few health concerns although there have been a small percentage of dogs that have had a genetic health issue. Some of those Genetic issues are as follows:

Cleft palate
Retinal dysplasia
Persistent pupillary membrane
Hip Dysplasia
Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.

Troy Laboratories
A Gentle Clip
Be active with your dog -

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