History of the Västgötaspets

(also known as the Swedish Vallhund)

The Västgötaspets is an ancient Swedish spitz breed having been known since the Viking Age. It is also one of Sweden’s National dog breeds.

In the early 1940’s a gentleman by the name of Count Björn von Rosen decided to revive the herding breed that he had known in his childhood and set out to find suitable foundation stock. A breeding programme was established with the help of a head master named K.G. Zettersten. The breed was recognised by the Swedish Kennel Club and the first breed standard was written in 1943. The breed name was changed in 1953 to Västgötaspets having been known previously as the Svensk Vallhund. For many years there has been an argument about which breed came first, the Västgötaspets or the Welsh Corgi. The thought is that the Vikings took Västgötaspets type dogs with them to the United Kingdom and these eventually became the Welsh Corgi. The same applies in reverse depending upon which breed you are in! This argument has not been resolved to this day.  

The Västgötaspets is classified at shows under the FCI in Group 5 (Spitz & Primitive Types) and in the U.K. they are part of the Pastoral Group.

As the Breed Standard says, the Västgötaspets is a hardy working farm dog and is primarily used for herding cattle, and other animals, and was expected to guard the farm and warn of intruders. Many in Sweden are working farm dogs to this day. The breed also lends itself to such disciplines as Agility and Obedience that they really enjoy. They are an active breed, full of energy, fearless, eager to learn and intelligent readily using their eyes and brains to resolve problems for themselves. Equally, they are the most fantastic and faithful family pets and love children.

Many are deceived by the size of the Västgötaspets thinking that they area small lightweight dog. However, they are extremely well built, stocky with strong muscles. The standard asks for a body in the ratio 2 : 3 (height to length). The height at withers as depicted in the standard is 31-33 cm with an allowance of 2 cm over and 1 cm under the ideal height being accepted.

A Västgötaspets is a very natural dog. We do not trim the coat and they are extremely easy to care for. There are variations in colour and the lighter facial markings and saddle markings across the back are highly desired. Next we come to the question of the tail. A Västgötaspets can be born with no tail usually recognised by a section of bone and a little tail feathering, a natural bobtail that can vary in length right down to a small rise from the back. It can also have a natural tail of any length even forming a typical spitz tight curl over the back. All types of natural tail are acceptable.

The Västgotaspets is indeed a very versatile dog and an all-rounder.     

History of the

Swedish Vallhund

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