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