As a breed population Swedish Vallhunds are considered a hardy and healthy with few issues beyond what any dog may encounter during their life. This may change over time, particularly if the gene-pool shrinks or dogs become too closely related over multiple generations.
Structural soundness of a Swedish Vallhund contributes to life long health and also functionality.
- Breeders in New Zealand should be aware that the Swedish Vallhund breed, while essentially a healthy and robust breed of dog with few known inherited health conditions prevalent in the population, have an eye issue that is being monitored. Beyond eye disorders that can occur in the canine world,
- Swedish Vallhunds can have a P.R.A (type) condition which is not yet well agreed on/understood by the experts. Blind Swedish Vallhunds are not common. In the interests of caution however responsible breeders are opting to check their breeding dogs for eyes clear of disorders and disease.
- Hip dysplasia in Swedish Vallhunds is rare, and there are no known/confirmed cases in New Zealand.Hip scoring refers to a grade based determination of hip x-rays. Veterinary observation is made looking at the formation of the hip joint. Where the hip is malformed a dog can suffer from lameness and in severe cases so effected that they are in much pain, are unable to walk and may be euthanased. Hip dysplasia may be exacerbated and effected by diet and environmental factors, however it is also a congenital condition. Breeders may opt to have their breeding dogs scored. The benefits of knowing for certain that a dog's hips are well formed does need to be weighed up against the risk associated with general anesthesia, which is necessary to obtain the radio graphs for scoring. General Anesthetic is not without risk which may include death, so should not be undertaken lightly.
- Hydrocephelus - This is a serious malformation that can lead to severely impacting a dog's quality of life and also lead to death. This is a rare condition, but known to have occurred in the breed.
- Carpel Hyperflexion - (also known as Carpel Laxity Syndrome) A condition that may effects the front legs of growing puppies. Affected puppies typically develop symptoms and signs of this deformity when they are 6-weeks - 3 months of age, but may develop the condition as late as 6 - 7 months of age.
The buckling of the pastern joint and associated tremble in the legs is caused by the temporary imbalance in growth rates between the bones and tendons of the front limbs. This condition may be exacerbated by over nutrition-ing, although this theory is unproven. Whether or not diet contributes to the degree of affectedness in a puppy, the predisposition to develop Carpel Hyperflexion appears to be inherited. The good news is that almost always Carpel Hyperflexion will remedy with time, with resolution typically is seen within 2 - 8 months from onset.
Carpel Hyperflexion, or Carpel Laxity Syndrome
- Other leg issues - Swedish Vallhund's are a slow growing and a slow maturing breed of dog and being a 'dwarfed legged' breed can have some problems around growth plate issues or 'knuckling over', and bowing of the front legs.
The best way to avoid bone and supporting ligament issues in an adult dog is to take care of their diet from puppy hood and to not over exercise young joints. High-nutrition, grain-based, dried-kibble foods are not in our opinion the best feed for Swedish Vallhund pups. We reccommend K9 Natural, or BARF/raw feeding type diets that are meat based and are not heavily supplemented with added calcium and nutrients.
(left) Bowed Anterior Radius, or turning 'East/West". (right) Young pup showing signs of 'Knuckling Over'