We have a new family member! In late January we adopted a little puppy.
Let’s start the introduction with a compilation of the questions we’ve received from friends and neighbors.
She’s so cute! Is that a Corgi?
Thanks! No, she’s related to a Corgi, but it’s a different breed.
Are you sure? It looks a lot like a Corgi.
Then what is she?
She’s a Swedish Vallhund. It’s a herding breed similar to a Corgi.
Swedish Vallhund. V-A-L-L-H-U-N-D. It’s Swedish for “herding dog.”
I’ve never heard of that.
Yeah, it’s about the 170th most popular breed in the U.S.
How big will she get?
The breed standard is 20-30 pounds. She’ll be probably around 20.
So just like a Corgi!!!
What’s her name?
Mysa. It’s a Swedish word that means to snuggle / cuddle / cozy up.
That’s so cute!
Where did you get her?
Yes, from Minnesota.
Did you fly or drive?
I flew up and returned with her the same day. It was a hoot.
What’s it called again?
Swedish Vallhund. If you google “wolf corgi” or “Viking dog” it’ll come up.
“Wolf Corgi” – that’s funny.
And variations along those lines.
It’s been almost a year and a half since we lost Bamble, the best dog in the history of the universe.
I wasn’t super eager to move on to a new dog. Losing Bamble hit me pretty hard, and it was kinda nice to just cherish the memories I had with him.
So why did we get a new dog now? I guess the short answer is that the missus and I have firmly decided we are dog people. And dog people, as you might guess, own dogs.
The longer answer: Everyone, including me, was finally ready. The missus and I aren’t getting any younger, and as I did the math, I realized there weren’t that many more dog slots left in our lives. And if we wanted to have a fun and active dog like Bamble (and we do), we should probably get one now. When we’re in our 60’s or 70’s we may not be able to handle a wild pup.
I also wanted our boys to understand everything that goes into raising a dog from a puppy – they haven’t observed this because Bamble was already the perfect dog by the time they came along. Raising a puppy is not all fun and games, but the work you do at the front end pays massive dividends later on (a good lesson for dogs and life…). We’d like our boys to be dog people too, but they need to know what’s involved. Too many people, including our moron neighbors, buy a dog as a prop and then neglect its physical and emotional needs because it’s, like, work. And then the dog becomes a moron too and barks at us all day.
Why did we land on the Swedish Vallhund? We were open to another Corgi, but our old breeder has stopped. As I started to do research (and of course, build my spreadsheet) on other breeders, I was concerned. The Corgi has exploded in popularity, and many new breeders look a bit dodgy and seem more focused on mass production than dog quality. Prices have exploded too, so as I considered paying a king’s ransom for a dog that might not even be that sound, I started to think about other options.
I’m a big fan of the herding breeds. They may not be any smarter than other dogs, but we observe them as being smarter because they’ve been bred to closely watch and obey their human masters. They’re active, but at least some herders also know how to chill after they’ve gotten their day’s exercise.
But I’m also a fan of smaller dogs. I like when dogs can’t eat off the table. Plus, all things equal, smaller dogs live longer, and I’d like to maximize the time with my new friend.
So while it seems completely random to land on the Swedish Vallhund, if you look at herding breed alternatives to the Corgi that don’t get very large, there’s only a few. The Vallhund and the Icelandic Sheepdog (the what?) made it on my spreadsheet, and the research began.
How I found my breeder, how I won her over (they can afford to be extremely selective, since there are like five breeders in the U.S. – wait lists can be multi-year), and how I flew to Minneapolis to pick up Mysa are all absolutely fascinating tales, if that kind of thing interests you. And some might have more questions, like why we didn’t just get a rescue, or how much did Mysa cost, or how it’s going now. But Mysa says she’d like to go for a walk, so I’ll just cover any questions folks have in the comments.
Please welcome our newest family member. We’re really happy to have her.