Swedish Vallhund

Last updated November 2020

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Small, powerful, sturdily built working dog, with fairly long body. (Ratio of height at withers to length of body 2:3).


Appearance and expression denote a watchful, alert, energetic dog.


Friendly, active, eager to please.

Head and Skull

Rather long and a clean-cut, blunt wedge with almost flat skull and well-defined stop. Viewed from above, shows an even wedge shape from skull to tip of nose. Muzzle, viewed from side, looks rather square, slightly shorter than skull. Lower jaw strong. Although a dark mask is acceptable, a well-defined mask is highly desirable with lighter hair around eyes, on muzzle and under the throat, giving a distinct contrast to the upper mask. Tightly closed lips. Nose black.


Medium size, oval, very dark brown.


Medium size, pointed, pricked, leather hard from base to tip, but fine, smooth-haired and mobile.


Scissor bite – jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Long, strongly muscled with good reach.


Shoulder blades long and well laid. Upper arm slightly shorter than shoulder blade and set at a distinct angle. Upper arm lies close to ribs, but is still very mobile. Forearm, when viewed from front, slightly bent, just enough to give free action to chest’s lower part; straight when viewed from side. Legs well boned.


Back level, well muscled, with short, strong loin. Chest long with good depth. Well-sprung ribs. Viewed from front, chest oval, from side elliptical. Reaching two-fifths of length of forearm. When viewed from side the lowest point of chest is immediately behind back part of foreleg. Sternum visible but not excessively pointed. Croup broad and slightly sloping. Belly slightly tucked up. Harness markings should be clearly defined.


Well angulated, well-bent stifles and low hocks, thighs strongly muscled. Legs well boned.


Medium, short, oval, pointing straight forward with strong pads. Well knuckled up.


Previously customarily docked or may be born tailless. Set on as a continuation of croup line. All variations of carriage and length permissible, including tailless. May be raised at attention.


Free and active, elbows fitting closely to sides, forelegs moving well forward without too much lift, in unison with powerful thrusting hind action.


Medium length, harsh, close and tight topcoat, undercoat abundant, soft, woolly.


Steel grey, greyish brown, greyish yellow, reddish yellow, reddish brown with darker guard hairs on back , neck, and sides of body. Lighter hair same shade of colour as mentioned above is desirable on muzzle, throat, chest, belly, buttocks, feet and hocks. Instead of these lighter shades, white markings are acceptable, but never in excess of one-third of total colour.

Any colour other than the above, including white and blue or any non-standard colour, is highly undesirable (see Introductory paragraph).


Height at withers: dogs: 33-35 cms (13-13¾ ins); bitches: 31-33 cms (12-13 ins). The relation between height at withers and length of body should be 2:3. Weight 11.5-16 kgs (25-35 lbs).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.