“...Vallhunds have earned titles in obedience, rally, tracking, herding, agility, lure coursing and the newer sport of Barn Hunt (SINCE CONTROL OF VERMIN IS PART OF THEIR TRADITIONAL WORK, IT SHOULD BE NO SURPRISE THAT SWEDISH VALLHUNDS LOVE THIS NEW SPORT!).”
The Swedish Vallhund in the US Th e breed’s American history began in 1985, when Mrs. Marilyn Th ell of Rhode Island visited England and was intrigued by the Swedish Vallhunds she saw at Crufts. Mrs. Th ell brought the first Vallhunds to the United States in July 1985, and on September 4, 1986, the first Vallhund litter in the United States was born at Mrs. Th ell’s Jonricker Kennel. In 1987, Mrs. Th ell founded the Swed- ish Vallhund Enthusiasts’ Club (SVEC), the club which was to become the Swed- ish Vallhund Club of America (SVCA). Th e Swedish Vallhund became an AKC Foundation Stock Service breed in 1999, entered the AKC Miscellaneous Group in 2005, and was fully recognized as an AKC Herding Group breed in 2007. Versatility Most Swedish Vallhunds love to learn and work (most are very food and/or toy motivated, and as such can usually be easily trained with positive methods), and in addition to conformation titles, Vallhunds have earned titles in obedi- ence, rally, tracking, herding, agility, lure coursing and the newer sport of Barn Hunt (since control of vermin is part of their traditional work, it should be no surprise that Swedish Vallhunds
love this new sport!). Th is is a physically hardy and truly versatile breed, and can excel at a wide variety of dog activities, including search and rescue, service dog and therapy work. While they can make wonderful family pets, like most breeds, the Swedish Vallhund is not suited to everyone. Most are quite active and very intelligent, and as such, require both mental and physical exercise to be happy. Swedish Vallhunds are farm dogs. Th eir traditional work includes herding livestock, killing vermin and alerting the farmer to danger. Th ese are things to keep in mind when considering adding a Vall- hund to your family! Most take the “alert- ing to danger” part of their job descrip- tion quite seriously, and that means at least some degree of barking! Most can be trained not to nuisance bark, but they are generally not extremely quiet dogs. Vallhunds play hard: they love to wres- tle and chase and crash into each other and poke with their noses, and they have very loud play growls. While many are somewhat adaptable to their playmates’ playing styles, they can be a bit more bois- terous than some dogs enjoy, so Vallhund owners should choose playmates accord- ingly. Vallhunds are generally “easy keep- ers”, and tend to need far fewer calories than you might think to stay at a good
lean body weight. Kept lean and fit, Vall- hunds are extremely nimble and athletic dogs. Th ey are very physical, a ff ectionate dogs, and many consider themselves lap dogs. Th is is a healthy and robust breed as a general rule. Th e Swedish Vallhund Club of Ameri- ca has recently implemented its “Swedish Vallhund Versatility Program”, the pur- pose of which is to support and encourage participation in a variety of AKC perfor- mance and companion events. Th e award recognizes titles earned in conformation, obedience/rally, herding, tracking and agility. Th e program is open to all Swed- ish Vallhunds who meet the requirements and whose owners apply for the award. Points earned in each performance cat- egory are not cumulative, and points will be credited for the highest title achieved in each performance area. So if you are looking for a charming and bold little companion who is willing and able to participate in any activity, be it an organized dog sport, bringing in the cows, a long hike, or a trip to your local park or outdoor market, a Swedish Vallhund is sure to be a willing team player who will make friends and a lasting impression wherever you may go together. Vallhund fanciers say they are a “potato chip breed”, you can’t have just one! BIO Amanda Lowery has owned Swedish Vallhunds since 2003. In addition to the breed ring, her interests include agility (her dog Nina is a top 5 AKC agility Swedish Vallhund), herding and tracking. Amanda has served on the board of the Swedish Vall- hund Club of America and has written arti- cles about the breed for various publications. She lives in western New York.
“MOST TAKE THE ‘ALERTING TO DANGER’ PART OF THEIR JOB DESCRIPTION QUITE SERIOUSLY, and that means at least some degree of barking!”
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2014 • 213
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