Sweden has a long and illustrious history with working dogs, dating back over 1000 years. Since well before the Viking era, dogs have been utilised as devoted working animals in Sweden. These dog breeds were held in such high regards that high-status members of society were buried with their canine companions.
This shows you just how much they meant to their owners and the importance of the work that these dog once did.
Sweden has eleven national breeds and shares a twelfth with Denmark. Eight of the Swedish breeds are fully recognised by the Fedération Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I.).
Jämthund (AKA Swedish Elkhound)
The Jämthund is probably the most impressive of Sweden’s native breeds with its size and grand stature. The breed derives from large hunting spitzes.
Northern Europe is home to the Jämthund, often known as the Swedish Elkhound, a breed of Spitz-type dog. The Jämthund is named after the province of Jämtland in the centre of Sweden.
The Drever is without a doubt one of Sweden’s most popular hunting dogs. It isn’t just the most popular hunting scent dog; it’s also by far the most numerous, with no other comparable scent hound on the market.
The breed is descended from the Westphalian Dachsbracke of Germany.
The Swedish Vallhund is a small, robust breed that was once used for herding cattle. Today, they make excellent family pets and are often used in agility and obedience trials.
They are similar in appearance to the Welsh Corgi, which leads some to think that this breed may have played a part in the ancestry of the Corgi.
It will probably be never known if the Corgi was brought back to Sweden by the Vikings or if the Vikings brought the Vallhund to the UK.
Smaland Hound (Smålandsstövare)
Like in the case of the Schiller- and Hamiltonstövare it is believed that the Smålandsstövare also derives from continental hounds. It is thought that the Eastern European type of hound, came to Sweden with soldiers returning from the great wars between 1611 and 1718.
The Swedish Kennel Club recognized the Smålandsstövare in 1921.
They have a solid bone structure and a powerful body that is almost square. Either a naturally long tail or a naturally stumpy tail could exist.
Lapphunds (Swedish lapphund) are most recognized as reindeer herders, although they were originally developed as hunting dogs.
Reindeer farming is a relatively recent industry. The Sami tribes are most likely responsible for bringing dogs to Scandinavia’s northern regions in the past.
Hamilton Hound (Hamiltonstövare)
The Hamiltonstövare is based on continental hounds, similar to those from Eastern Europe that arrived in Sweden with the Vikings.
The different Swedish scent hounds were developed throughout the 19th century with the inclusion of English Foxhounds, Harriers, and Swiss hounds.
The Danish-Swedish farmdog is a small, energetic breed that loves to play. They are excellent watchdogs and make great companions.
Prior to its official identification in 1987, the Danish-Swedish Farmdog was known as the Skånsk Terrier (after the southern County of Skne from which it comes).
The origin of the spitz is unknown, but it is thought to have come from tiny hunting societies that inhabited the North Cape with little laikas during ancient times. Only the very best hunting dogs stood a chance of surviving due to the selective rules of nature, where survival of the fittest has been the rule.
The Norrbottenspitz is a formidable hunter with a high level of agility. The breed is mostly recognised as a superior hunter of black grouse, capercaillie, and huge woodland grouse.
The Schillerstövare, like the Hamiltonstövare, is named for its creator, but it also takes inspiration from East European hounds that arrived in Sweden.
The Schillerstövare is constructed with strength and style. The physique is rectangular and looks to convey quickness and stamina.
Their well angulated and well built body enables them to chase animals throughout a lengthy hunting season in a harsh winter climates.
The Hälleforshund is a Swedish breed of elkhound. It was produced from a litter of elkhounds born in the late 1930s at the ironworks in Hällefors, Sweden.
The Hälleforshund has a strong rectangular body and a proud head carriage. The breed should have a dynamic, courageous, and strong appearance. Their coat has a rough, thick texture, with it being longer on the neck and shoulders and has a mane to envelop the head.
Darker and softer hues of yellow-red make up the coat colour.
The muzzle ought to be opaque. Legs and the lower half of the torso typically have very pale hues. Males are 55-63 cm tall at the withers, while females are 52-60 cm tall.
Gotland Hound (Gotlandsstövare)
The Swedish scent hound is a cross between continental hounds from Eastern Europe and was bred in Sweden after returning soldiers brought them during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Gotlandsstövare has a rectangular body that is attractive but also gives off the appearance of being strong and resilient.
The coat has a close-lying, firm, and smooth feel. With light, symmetrical white lines, the colour is always yellow or yellowish-red.
Svensk vit älghund
The Swedish white elkhound’s history is supposed to have started in 1942 in the County of Jämtland, hence the name “Svensk vit älghund.” In a litter of Jämthund dogs that year, a puppy with a very light coat was born.
A very pale puppy will occasionally be born in litters of purebred Norwegian Elkhound or Jämthund dogs.
This breed is a mix of the Norwegian Elkhound and Jämthund, but resembles the Jämthund more in terms of size and dimensions.
The body is harmoniously shaped like a rectangle, lean, and has good neck reach. Strong and wedge-shaped describe the head. The tail should be carried well over the back in a loose curve with a high set.
List of All Swedish Dog Breeds
- Dalbo dog
- Danish–Swedish Farmdog
- Gotland Hound
- Hällefors Elkhound
- Hamiltonstövare (Hamilton Hound)
- Smaland Hound
- Svenska Kennelklubben
- Swedish Lapphund
- Swedish Vallhund