Swedish Vallhund vs English Shepherd - Breed Comparison

Swedish Vallhund vs English Shepherd - Breed ComparisonSwedish Vallhund is originated from Sweden but English Shepherd is originated from United States. Swedish Vallhund may grow 24 cm / 9 inches shorter than English Shepherd. Swedish Vallhund may weigh 14 kg / 30 pounds lesser than English Shepherd. Both Swedish Vallhund and English Shepherd has same life span. Both Swedish Vallhund and English Shepherd has almost same litter size. Swedish Vallhund requires Moderate maintenance. But English Shepherd requires Low maintenance


swedish vallhund - historyKnown also as the Västgötaspets or Swedish cow dog, the Valhund hails from Sweden. It’s a herding dog, and was always a farm dog in that country.

It was in 1943 that the dog was first recognized as a breed by the Swedish Kennel Club. Only later, in 1996, did the American Kennel Club start registering the breed.

english shepherd - historyThe English Shepherd is another dog with an English name that was developed in the United States. They developed from British farm dogs that were brought to the United States in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by the Scottish and English as they settled in the New World. Tracing their line through working dogs and collies in Scotland and northern England, the settlers bred them with local dogs and each other. These working farm dogs were called English Shepherds, Scotch Collies, barnyard collie, farm shepherd, the cow dog, and the old fashioned shepherd.

The English Shepherd was appreciated by the settlers and farmers because he was a versatile dog that could herd their flocks and protect their homes as well. They appreciated his intelligence and ability to hunt vermin and be a companion for their children. English Shepherds were bred to work with a variety of livestock such as pigs, cattle, goats, sheep and fowl. They were used to hunt as well and were known to track racoons and squirrels and tree them. There wasn’t a more popular dog in the American Midwest and East in the 1800’s and 1900’s.

The breed is trustworthy, alert and independent. As the small family farms were replaced by large agricultural enterprises the English Shepherd’s numbers dwindled as well until he fell into the category of a rare breed. There were no clubs to support it and not AKC recognition. The UKC had a different dog registered as a farm shepherd.

Today’s English Shepherd is still a farm dog, but he also hunts, is a therapy dog, competes in AKC trials, and performs search and rescue duties. As a farm dog, they are still the most desirable due to their versatility in working with different livestock, guarding the home and caring for the children. They do these things in a gentle way if possible but can be tough if needed. They have great empathy for the livestock and for their human family. This makes him a great dog for the family. The English Shepherd has remained a farm dog, working dog more than a show dog, over all these years.


swedish vallhund puppy - descriptionLooking much like a cross between a Corgi and the German Shepherd, the Swedish Valhund is a medium sized dog that stands between 30 and 34cm in height and weighs between 9 and 14kg.

His medium length weather-resistant coat is available in wolf like shades – cream, grey, brown etc. The tail can be long or bobbed and the medium sized ears are held erect.


Intelligent, confident, independent, alert, playful and active, your Swedish Valhund promises to make a good family pet.

You'll need to be an active, outdoor type of family though, as he isn’t a couch potato type of dog, snoozing in front of the TV.

He wants to be up and about going on long walks or playing ball games that give him a good run. If he gets his fair share of exercise he can adapt to life in the city or the countryside.

He is intelligent too and will respond well to training and socialization.

He just loves his human family and wants to be constantly with them. He won’t do well if you just keep him locked outside away from everyone. He is social, alert innovative and entertaining as well as being a good guard dog.

english shepherd puppy - descriptionThe American bred English Shepherd is a medium sized dog that looks somewhat like an Australian Shepherd or Border Collie. They have tails, never come in merle coloring and their head is not as rounded as the Australian Shepherd. A working dog, its proportionally very well balanced. Because the English Shepherd is so popular across the country, doing a wide variety of jobs, there is some regional differences in the dogs.

The coat can be curly or straight with feathering around the tail, ears and legs. Their heads are slightly rounded but broad and the muzzle is also broad with a solid black nose except for the clear sable dogs whose nose is brown. The eyes show you how intelligent and strong this breed is, and they should be round, brown and oblique. The ears are close to the head and wide apart.

With a strong, muscular back and shoulders the English Shepherd can do almost anything you ask him to. His legs are strong and straight, and his hind legs are muscular. His feet are compact, oval and well padded.


swedish vallhund dog - characteristicsYour Swedish Valhund is such a confident, independent dog and he promises to be a loving, faithful pet. He's also alert and will let you know if strangers are approaching his property.

He is a calm, easy going pet and is capable of adapting to quiet or noisy homes. He may be quite a strange looking dog, but he's got a whole lot of loving to give.

english shepherd dog - characteristicsIt may seem strange to talk about kindness in a working dog, but it is one of the defining traits of the English Shepherd, along with intelligence. The breed is extremely kind to everyone he lives with animals and people. Once he is secure in his job and takes in his children or his herd, he is one of the best caretakers around. He is an independent thinker, is easily trained, and highly affectionate. However, he does see himself as the boss and unless you establish yourself in that alpha role you could have problems.

Health Problems

swedish vallhund puppies - health problemsCapable of living a long, healthy life, the Swedish Valhund isn’t likely to fall victim to some of the many dog illnesses there are, and yet it is wise to be alert to some of them that he could get.

One of these is an hereditary eye disease known as retinopathy. Its where there is degeneration of the retinal photoreceptor cells. This eye disease can lead to blindness.  

You need to be careful with this pet of yours, because with his long back and short legs he can so easily hurt his back if he leaps off a bed or high chair.

Whenever you pick this dog up, always support his legs and back. Don’t pick them up without supporting both the front legs and the rear end.

english shepherd puppies - health problemsLike many other herding breeds, it has been found that about 15% of English Shepherds had a gene mutation called MDR1. This means they have adverse reaction and high sensitivity to many common drugs for dogs. This condition could be life-threatening so test your dog for it and know what you are up against.

Caring The Pet

swedish vallhund dogs - caringTry and feed your Swedish Valhund two meals a day instead of just one, so that he doesn’t gobble down his food too quickly.

Your dog can be prone to obesity, so you have to be careful with the way you feed him. Overfeeding a dog packs on extra weight and this puts strain on the joints.

Apart from the dry kibble that you feed him, try to include some tasty, nutritious homemade food such as boiled chicken, brown rice or pasta, sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach.

This can all be chopped up and added to his dry kibble. Some raw meat added to the diet can only be to his benefit. Remember to always ensure a bowl of fresh, cool water is available.

General Care:

Give his thick coat a brush twice a week to remove dead hair. Brushing also stimulates the sebaceous glands that produces oil which gives the coat is sheen.

Open his mouth and check for rotting teeth which can be painful for him.

Trim his nails because left long, they can hook onto things and rip the skin open.

Check inside the ears too for redness which could mean an ear infection.You get dog wipes that you can wipe the ear out with. There are always professional dog groomers who can do these chores for you if you don't want to.

See that his vaccines are up to date and that if he shows signs of illness, you get him to the vet.


english shepherd dogs - caringRemember the English Shepherd is a hard working dog. But if you don’t work him don’t overfeed him. Twice a day, he needs about one half cup of a good quality dry food made with an active, medium sized dog in mind.

Health issues

In addition to the health concern listed above, the English Shepherd is also prone to:


Both elbow and hip dysplasia can plaque the English Shepherd as it does almost any active breed. Have your puppy tested as it can cause lameness and arthritis.

Exercise and games

This is a herding breed and they need exercise. They need a job. They are intelligent and work oriented so make sure they have something to do. Take them to herding trails and have their herding instinct tested. Put them to work in flyball, agility, frisbee, tracking, obedience, rally, herding and showmanship events. Just make sure your English Shepherd has enough to keep his mind and body stimulated at a high rate every day.

Basic Information

Herding dogs
Herding dogs
United States
Height Male:
30 - 34 cm
11 - 14 inches
46 - 58 cm
18 - 23 inches
Height Female:
30 - 34 cm
11 - 14 inches
44 - 54 cm
17 - 22 inches
Weight Male:
9 - 14 kg
19 - 31 pounds
21 - 28 kg
46 - 62 pounds
Weight Female:
9 - 14 kg
19 - 31 pounds
18 - 23 kg
39 - 51 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 15 Years
13 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 10
5 - 8
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Västgötaspets, Swedish cow dog
old fashioed collie, old fashioned shepherd, Scotch Collie, old time collie, farm collie
Colors Available:
Cream, grey, brown
black and white, sable and white, and tri-color. , black and tan
Medium length, thick
double, silky
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Social, Stubborn, Sweet
Moderate maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:

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