Quite a small cattle and sheep herder, nontheless, the Swedish Vallhund is known as a big dog in a small body. He has endurance and is a powerful and sturdily built spitz blended with intelligence and even temper.
Believed to be descended from the Vikings era over 1,000 years ago and down through the centuries kept as a farmers dog, he makes a wonderful working dog with his eager to please attitude.
Likened sometimes to the Welsh Corgi whom they say there are many similarities either through the Corgi to Wales or vice versa, The Swedish Vallhund can be born tailless or full curl tail. He has a fairly long body with a tight, medium length double coat, harsh in texture and marked in a sable pattern from grey through to red.
As with all double coated outdoor working dogs, the quest is to maintain the condition and colour of the coat and, maintain the texture as to present to the harsh elements of weather for a dog well able to do his job.
For those who show this breed, weekly bathing is desirable and a routine met that doesn’t dehydrate the coat through regular washing and blow drying. The weekly routine I have outlined allows you to remove all dead hair allowing new growth to come through quickly and keep the dog in coat as long as possible.
To shape this dog to his best, you ought to use more than one shampoo over the whole body. The topline needs to be flat and the body usually will need some lift being a double coated dog who will fluff out dead hair regularly needing a modicum of lift to the coat without over doing it, plus, the undercoat needs to appear abundant. The coat also must not be softened.
Start with Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo and work through a pre dampened coat all the areas that need some lift. Lightly rinse and then apply Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluted also 5:1 on the shorter parts of the coat and the topline.
To maintain hydration and keep the healthy vigour to the coat despite weekly bathing and drying, apply Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 tbspn to 4 litres/1 gal warm water liberally all over making sure it is saturated well enough to get right through to the skin. Leave in and don’t rinse. This oil is fabulous, never greasy and made from Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Oil etc. It is liquid gold this stuff and nothing works as well as this on the coat and skin to maintain and keep the coat well hydrated and yet maintain texture.
I do recommend during the week you apply Plush Puppy Sunshade to the topline and head and Plush Puppy Revivacoat to the remainder of the coat working well into the ends and midlengths to minimise or eliminate sun and wind damage. These are little outdoor people with an active and energetic nature requiring exercise and some space to work it off. Five minutes in the sun in some climates is enough each day to lighten and burn that topline.
Once a month you should apply some extra treatment, especially during summer, in the form of Plush Puppy Coat Rescue worked through with water to a runny slurry in a jug and then applied to the ends of the coat. Work thoroughly with your hands to ensure even application and leave for 10 minutes or as we do sometimes, leave all day, before rinsing off. This is full of nice moisturising and hydrating natural extracts and adds that extra special structure to the hair. When hair is damaged or dehydrated, the outer layer of each hair opens up or has gaps in it. Coat Rescue is like applying a filler to the individual hairs. Follow with diluted Seabreeze Oil to coat the hairs and seal the outer layer of each hair back down.
Now if you follow this routine religiously, the hard work is mostly done for show day. The dog is accustomed to standing still on the table whilst you power blast the dead hair out and dry from the rear to the head pushing the hair forwards against the growth where you want lift using the nozzle and air of the cool dryer to open the coat and dry right down to the skin. It is the drying of the coat at the base that makes the coat lift for volume when and where needed and helps to shift the dead hair. Don’t be one of the those who dry the ends of the coat and forget the base. It is the base area that needs to be dried well to make the coat look professional and beautifully maintained yet natural enough for this dog to fulfil his function.
So all hard work done well before the show, with the coat looking in prime condition, you just need to follow the shampoo and oil routine and blow dry. If out of coat to some degree, then add 1 tbspn Plush Puppy Volumising Cream to 2 cups warm water and apply after the oil and leave in or you can mix into the bucket or hydrobath 1 tbspn of the Volumising Cream to the Seabreeze Oil Mix and apply and leave in. Volumising Cream will add that extra coating to each hair to maximise what is left! Then blow dry well lifting each hair and drying against the growth. Dry 100% and not just half way!
For brushing at the show use the Plush Puppy Pin Brush Regular and follow up for final finish with the Plush Puppy Slicker Soft spraying lightly as you brush with Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray preferably the concentrate form diluted for exactness to 30:1 i.e. 30 parts water to one part OMG. Oh My goodness, this spray is tailored now just for your dog and cuts static and matts pronto.
A light spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb to the topline for shine and a slight mist of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher to fully deodorise and freshen the coat after the dog has spent the night and travelled to the show after bathing, and your dog is ready for anything in that show ring.
I do like to include in my ringside tack box Plush Puppy Wonder Wash to clean dirty feet if needed or Plush Puppy Powder Puff for Harsh Coated Breeds. Both these products are excellent with Wonder Wash applied directly to the feet for example, foamed up with your hands and towel dried off. Powder Puff is a secret weapon. Comes in both Regular and Harsh finish and both are suitable for a quick, dry clean by tossing onto the dirty area and brushed out – great for cleaning areas you have spent time blowdrying and don’t want to use a wet product on. The Harsh Coated Breeds Powder Puff also adds TEXTURE!!! Yeah! I do mean lots of texture. You can sift this on a clean coat anyway just for the texture. Lightly sift to the area you wish to harshen and keep brushing and working through with your hands – you can blow dry any excess off if you need to. Bingo! Texture you would not believe. Remember you don’t need much to get that texture so don’t go overboard and waste it.
Your Swedish Vallhund is quite the little character. His alert personality coupled with intelligence and his will to please, makes him a great show dog. He is a natural and just needs you to bring out his finer qualities of movement and grooming. Give this athletic little dog his due and he will repay you with performance and heart. Just because he is not a traditional hair do dog, should never lessen the time you spend to groom and finesse his coat. Prepare him for stardom and he will do his job with all the energy and determination inherent to his breed. He will know he looks terrific – he is one smart dog anyway!