The Vallhund Tail

Swedish Vallhund puppies can be born with stub tails, bob tails, spitz curl tails, long tails, or no tails at all. It’s a unique facet of the breed, and about half of all SV puppies will be born with no tail or a stump tail, the result of a natural gene mutation. The AKC standard indicates that the tail may also be docked.  Our reading tells us that breeders are encouraged to incorporate sound typey dogs into their breeding programs whatever the dog’s tail type because using only long tailed dogs puts the naturally stub tailed dog at risk of being lost. Breeding stub-tail to tailed dogs can produce tailed and stub tailed puppies, and breeding stub tail to stub tail matings can produce tailed and stub tailed puppies (as far as we know, Finland has banned the breeding of a stub tailed + stub tail dog to prevent what is suspected of being a lethal double dose (homozygote) of the T-box mutation), but breeding only between tailed dogs results in tailed puppies.

As always, we defer to breed experts, particularly on the topic of genetics in this breed.  It is the C189G mutation that accounts for natural bobtails in 17 of 23 dog breeds studied, including the Swedish Vallhund  (but not in another six dog breeds – the French Bulldog, McNab, Miniature Fox Terrier, Old English Sheepdog, Rat Terrier and Tenterfield Terrier – for which the genetic mechanism has yet to be determined).

Some of our information comes from the Swedish Vallhund Club in New Zealand, and interested people will want to read more here.

Viking Dog by Katrina Young. Find and support this artist’s work at her Facebook page, website, You Tube page, and at Instagram.

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