A Nordic Sheepdog

For all the incredible diversity found in purebred dogs, it can still be a small world. It’s evident that Nordic sled dogs influenced some of our northern herding breeds, and a good example of this is the Swedish Vallhund, a breed believed to have been with the Vikings as they made their way to the British Isles (note the similarities between the Vallhund and the Welsh Corgi).  A rival theory is that ancestors of the Corgi were pillaged from Wales by Viking raiders and taken back to Scandanavia where it was developed into the Vallhund. We leave the debate to the Corgi and Vallhound experts (though ornamental images of the Vallhund are known to have been found on old Viking ships found in Ireland).

The Vallhund’s Swedish name is Västgötaspets which translates as “Spitz Dog of the West Goths,” while “Vallhund” simply means “farm dog.”  While it may have been an all around farm dog, the Vallund was also a reliable controller of sheep and cattle, particularly in the Västgötasland region of Sweden. It’s shorter stature was an advantage when dodging a kick from a cow which typically went over the dog’s head. The kick, not the cow.

Image of Swedish Vallunds by Svenska via Wikicommons and shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


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