Breed standard

English translation from the breed standard found at the website of the SKV

FCI number 14: Swedish Vallhund

Country of origin
















General appearance



Important proportions



Behaviour and temperament





Skull area


























Upper arm












Lower thighs


Hock joint

Rear pastern/ metatarsus










Height at the withers



















Severe faults













Disqualifying faults

Nota bene



Group 5: Spitz and primitive types

Section 3: Nordic watchdogs and shepherds

Herding heeler

The Swedish Vallhund is considered to be a genuine Swedish breed, even though there is still some confusion about a possible relationship with the Welsh Corgi.

Whether or not the Vikings brought home this type of dogs to Sweden, or vice versa, is difficult to clarify, but recent canine research shows the breed really originates from Sweden. Irrespectively the origin of the breed, the efforts of Bjorn von Rosen and KG Zettersten resulted in the Vallhund to be recognized and registered as a Swedish breed.

In the early 1940s, Von Rosen's noticed the occurrence of this spitz type. He made an inventory of the remaining population in Västergötland and succeeded in selecting a small, but reasonably uniform group of dogs, from especially Varaslätten, for his planned breeding programme. The actual breeding work however was mainly the reponsibility of Zettersten. The type could be preserved without loss of the breed's herding instincts.

The Swedish Vallhund is a small dog, low on legs, though not low set. It's sturdy and fearless and its appearance and expression denote a watchful, alert and energetic dog.

The ratio of hight at withers to length of body should be 2:3. The height from the ground to the lowest point of the chest should be at least 1/3 of the height at withers.

Typical terms to describe the breed's character is vigilance, energy and candid liveliness.


The head must be clean cut and rather long. When looking at it from above, it should be gradually tapering towards the nose. Skull and nasal bridge should parallel.


The skull is almost flat, moderately broad and tapering evenly toward the nose seen both from above and from the side.

The stop should be well defined.


The nose has to be black.

Seen from the side, the muzzle must be rather blunt cut. It should be slightly shorter than the skull. The jaw should be blunt cut and strong, but not prominent.

The lips should be tight and well closed.

Complete, perfect and regular scissor bite with even and well developed teeth.

The eyes should be medium sized, oval and dark brown.

The ears should be medium sized, pointed, pricked, rigid right up to the tip, smooth haired and mobile. They shouldn't be set too low. The length of the ear must be slightly longer than the width at the base.

The neck must be long, strongly muscled and with good reach.


The back must be straight and well muscled.

Loin should be short, broad and strong.

Croup must be broad and slightly sloping.

The chest must be long and deep with well sprung ribs. Seen from front, the chest must be egg shaped and oval from the side. The lowest point should reach 2/5 of the length of the lower arm and, seen from te side, should be immediately behind the front leg. The sternum must be clearly visible, but it shouldn't be too prominent.

The belly has to be slightly tucked up.

Two types of tail may occur: a long tail and all vatiations of a natural bobtail. In both cases, all variations are allowed. There is no standard for the carriage of the tail.



The legs must have strong bones.

Shoulder blades are long and angled about 45 degrees to the horizontal.

The upper arm should be slightly shorter than the shoulder blade and set perpendicularly. The upper arm must be lying close to the ribs, but still be very mobile.

Forearm: When viewed from the front, the forearm must be slightly curved, just as much as required to give them the full mobility to the lower part of the thorax.

Pastern should be elastic.

Feet should be medium sized, short, oval and pointing straight forward. The pads must be strong, the toes well closed and arched.


The hind legs should be parallel when viewed from behind. The bone must be strong.
Thighs should be broad and strongly muscled.
Stifles must be well angulated.
The lower leg should be slightly longer than the foot (the distance from the hock to the ball of the foot).
The hock has to be well angulated.
The metatarsus must be of moderate length.


The hind feet must be medium-sized, short, oval and pointing straight forward. The pads should be strong, the toes well closed and arched.

Movement should be sound, parallel and with good reach, drive and stride.


The coat consists of a very dense and thick undercoat and a hard, tight top coat of moderate length. The hair is short on head and on the front of legs, but may be slightly longer on neck, throat, chest and the back of the legs.
Colour can be grey, greyish brown, greyish yellow, reddish yellow or reddish brown. Lighter shades of the above colours are to be found on the nose, cheeks, throat, chest, abdomen, around the anus and on the paws and legs bottom. The top coat should be darker on the back, the neck and the side of the trunk. Lighter markings over the shoulders, so called harness markings, are highly desirable, as well as bright cheek markings. White markings may appear on the front and hind legs and the chest. In addition, white colour should be limited to, for example, a small blaze, neck spot or slight necklace.

Male ideal height 33 cm

Female ideal height 31 cm

A deviation of 2 cm above or 1 cm below ideal height is permitted

Any deviation from the standard is wrong and must be assessed in relation to its degree and its effect on the dog's health, well-being and ability to perform its traditional work.

  • Low set
  • Badly defined stop
  • Snipy muzzle
  • Absence of two P1 or one P2
  • Light eyes interfering with expression
  • Low set ears
  • Too deep or too shallow chest
  • Too wide in front
  • Too steep shoulders
  • Short upper arms
  • Overangulated hindquarters
  • Lack of harness or cheek markings
  • Short or round skull
  • Short muzzle
  • Poorly developed lower jaw
  • Pincer bite
  • Absence of molar teeth (excluding M3)
  • Roach back
  • Soft coat
  • Stand off coat
  • Too short or too long coat
  • Lack of under coat
  • White markings exceeding 30% of total body surface
  • Height at withers differring too much from ideal height
  • Aggression or fear
  • Any dog showing obvious physical or behavioural abnormalities should be disqualified
  • Overbite or underbite
  • Blue eyes, one-sided or both
  • Hanging or semi-erect ears
  • Long, curly coat
  • Black, white, liver brown or blue coat

Exclusively functionally and physically healthy dogs, with breed typical appearance, should be used for breeding.

Males must have two normally developed testicles, fully descended into the scrotum.