Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: Sweden
Average Size: 30-37 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 10-15 kg
Average Life Span: 13-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements: High

History

The Vastgotaspets is a medium-sized Spitz dog native to Sweden that is thought to have become a distinct breed over 1,000 years ago. It was commonly seen among Vikings and was bred for its ability to herd livestock, hunt small animals and act as a respectable guard dog. It is thought to be closely related to the Corgi.

This dog is commonly referred to as the Swedish Cattle Dog or the Vallhund, but it gets its official name from the Swedish region of Vastergotland. While it is not thought to have originated in this particular region, this is the location where the breed’s numbers increased significantly in the mid 1900s. Prior to the efforts of a few dedicated breeders during that time, the Vastgotaspets breed was close to extinction.

This breed is not commonly seen outside of Sweden, though it still often used in herding and hunting, as it has extraordinary endurance and athleticism. Though its primary purpose is that of a working dog, it also makes a great companion pet.

Appearance

This breed has an average size of 30-37 cm and an average weight of 10-15 kg. It has a long body with disproportionately short legs. Aside from its short stature, it vaguely resembles other herding and working dogs with its thick gray and black coat, large, triangular and erect ears and a naturally thick tail that curls onto its back. In parts of the world where docking (banned in Australia) is permitted, this breed’s tail may be short. It has a wedge-shaped head, a long muzzle and dark, wide-set eyes. Its body is muscular and well-balanced.

The Vastgotaspets has a double coat that is medium in length. Its outer fur is coarse and smooth and its undercoat is soft and thick. It was bred to work outdoors, so its coat makes it suitable for a wide variety of weather. In addition to gray and black, its coat may also have shades of brown, yellow, white or red. The coat’s base is typically light in colour with spots of darker shades throughout its body and head. Its coat is fairly low-maintenance and should be regularly brushed to remove dead hair and to reduce shedding.

Temperament

This breed is remarkably alert and focused, so it is well-suited for an environment that challenges it both mentally and physically. It needs considerable exercise and does best when it has a large amount of land on which to roam. If it does not have a job to do, the Vastgotaspets may enjoy agility exercises such as obedience or tracking. It gets great satisfaction from physical labour and praise from its owner. It is a fearless and brave dog that is happy to serve a protective role for its family and has a deep bark to alert its owner of people approaching the land or home.

The Vastgotaspets is also very loyal to its owner and prefers to always be nearby. It is not content to spend extended periods of time by itself. It has a pleasing and playful personality and enjoys positive attention. It is also an even-tempered and sociable breed that generally does well with strangers and other animals, provided it is properly socialised. This breed typically gets along well with children, though it may display good-natured herding behaviour towards them such as nipping.

Health

The Vastgotaspets breed is prone to back problems due to its long spine and short legs. It may also be predisposed to eye problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy or retinal dysplasia. Other common conditions include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and hyperthyroidism.

This breed is typically long-lived and tends to have an average lifespan of 13-15 years.

Vastgotaspets Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

Vastgotaspets Organisations in the UK
SPECIALKLUBBEN FÖR VÄSTGÖTASPETS The Official Club

Vastgotaspets Organisations in the US
Schweizer Västgötaspets Klub
Vastgotaspets – American Canine Association

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