12 Swedish Dog Breeds (With Pictures!)

Swedish dog breeds

Dogs have a long and important history in Sweden. Many of the amazing Swedish dog breeds on this list are said to be descended from Viking dogs! Although, unfortunately, Vikings weren’t particularly good at recording dog breeding, so we can’t know for sure.

Many of these incredible breeds are hard-working herding dogs that have been around for centuries. They’re versatile and intelligent, and all are very cute. Here are 12 Swedish dogs that we absolutely love! Which one will you adopt to join your family?

It’s always important to research dog breeds carefully and adopt a pooch that suits you and your family. Many of these wonderful canines are working dogs and need to be part of an outdoor family that likes to go on adventures. Make sure you research the breeder to ensure they’re ethical or look in your local pound.

Swedish Vallhund

swedish vallhund jumping

The Vallhund is one of the most popular and famous Swedish dog breeds. These adorable, medium-sized dogs look a lot like Corgis but, genetically, they’re not similar at all. 

Swedish Vallhunds are very intelligent dogs that love to play and make up their own mischief. They don’t mind entertaining themselves for a bit (they can get imaginative) but they love having a human to play with. They’re very loyal pups and are good watch dogs too. They can get a bit vocal, so are better for those who don’t live in an apartment. 

Training a Swedish Vallhund should be easy, they’re so eager to please and love positive reinforcement. They excel in canine classes and are happy to work hard on a ranch or farm.

These charming dogs are very active and need to be part of a family that can keep up with their exercise needs. They’ll enjoy long hikes, running, and time exploring woodland and fields. Vallhund translates to ‘shepherd dog’, so these dogs really need to spend lots of their day enjoying fresh air.

Smaland Hound

smaland hound standing

These beautiful, tan and black dogs are distinctive compared to some other Swedish breeds on this list. It’s thought that they’re the result of breeding spitz dogs with German and English hounds.

Smaland Hounds are great hunters and prefer to work alone. They’re capable of hunting rodents, squirrels, and birds. As is common with hounds, these pooches need lots of outdoor exercise and activity. They can easily get bored which could lead to destructive behaviors.

Although they’re hunting dogs first, Smaland Hounds can also be great family pets. They get on well with children and love playing. They’re usually calm dogs but don’t think they’re not alert. These hounds are very aware of their surroundings and make great watch dogs too.

As one of the native dog breeds of Sweden, they have a thick coat that can withstand extreme temperatures. It only requires weekly brushing and they don’t shed a lot either.

Swedish Lapphund

swedish lapphund

These stunning black dogs are spitzes that were bred as herders. They have a long history of herding reindeer but can be very versatile and excel in a range of different jobs. 

Swedish Lapphunds are obedient and intelligent dogs. They can put their mind to anything! Whilst this normally makes training easy, they can be a bit stubborn. Start training young and keep it fun so they’re more willing to participate.

These are lively dogs and make great companions for active owners. They’re playful and energetic and love to go on walks, runs, and play with their family. Although hard workers, they really thrive as beloved pets. They’re capable of relaxing in the evening and curling up for you to stroke them.

Interestingly, the Swedish Lapphund is the oldest of all Swedish dog breeds and is considered one of the most ancient breeds today.

Schillerstövare or Schiller Hound


Schiller Hounds are another Swedish breed that is the result of breeding German Hounds with Swiss Hounds. They’re named after Schiller, a farmer and dog breeder who first exhibited the dogs in the ring.

Like other Swedish scent hounds, the Schiller hound is a tireless hunter that can spend hours on the scent of prey. They’re incredibly devoted to their owners and tend to create strong bonds with a single person, making them a good choice for solo owners too.

These dogs are courageous but calm and gentle too. They can be suspicious of strangers and even aloof. They shouldn’t be fearful of people but they will protect their family, especially the children.

If you’re looking for a loyal hunting dog that also makes a great family pet then this dog could be great for you! 

Swedish Elkhound or Jämthund

Swedish Elkhound running

The beautiful Swedish Elkhound is a dog that looks a lot like a husky. Just like Huskies, they’re a spitz breed that was originally bred to pull sleighs and hunt.

These strong dogs are determined, courageous, and very hard-working but they’re also happy to turn off at the end of the day and relax. Swedish Elkhounds need lots of exercise and will love taking part in races or agility classes.

These pups are very sociable and love being part of a group. This can, however, sometimes be problematic as they can have a dominant streak. Early training and socialization are really important so that they know that you are the head of the pack.

If you want a Swedish hunting dog that loves the outdoors and nature, the Swedish Elkhound is perfect. They’ll be happy to accompany you on hunts, hikes, and anything you do outdoors! They also get on well with children.

Hamilton Hound or Hamiltonstövare

hamilton hound dog portrait

The Hamiltonstövare is a very famous dog in Sweden. The breed was actually first bred by the founder of the Swedish Kennel Club. He wanted to breed hunting dogs that could hunt both foxes and hares. As you might be able to tell from its appearance, the Hamiltonstövare has English Foxhound blood, as well as that from Harrier and other German hounds.

Hamilton Hounds are very versatile dogs and are used in America as hunters, service dogs, show pups, and pets. They’re very motivated by food, so they can be easy to train – but weight gain can be a problem with this Swedish breed.

These beautiful dogs have both a high sight and scent prey drive and love to use both. They like exercise, but need to be kept on a leash as they have a tendency to wander off and follow their noses. They’re very relaxed at home and are even a little lazy. You’ll often find them napping on the couch!

Norrbottenspets or Nordic Spitz

nordic spitz standing

The Nordic Spitz is an ancient dog with a very interesting history. These canine companions were first bred to hunt small animals which their owners then sold in the fur trade.

With the decline in demand for fur and the two world wars, this breed was declared extinct by the Swedish Kennel Club in 1948. But these pups actually survived in rural villages where they continued to hunt and work as watch dogs. 20 years later they were back as a recognized breed!

These pups are very outdoorsy and like adventure and time in nature. They’ll enjoy games of flyball, going on hikes, and competing in agility classes. As hunting dogs, they do have strong prey drives and may chase other, smaller pets. 

Although intelligent and quite easy to train, barking can be a problem with these pups. They love to vocalize, which makes them alert watch dogs but a bad choice for those in apartments.

Danish–Swedish Farmdog

Danish–Swedish Farmdog lying down

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a robust dog that is an excellent ratter and family companion. They are also good herders and hunters, so can do a bit of everything! These small dogs are very playful, energetic, and affectionate. They love being part of a fun family and chasing after a ball is their favorite part of the day!

The breed was first established in 1987 by the Danish and Swedish Kennel Club. It was an effort to carry on the genes of the Danish Pincher, as this dog was known before.

These farm dogs need daily exercise and will enjoy both outdoor and indoor play. They get on really well with kids and other dogs and love to please everyone. They’re caring and are the perfect companion.


drever dog portrait

As is common amongst Swedish breeds Drevers are great scenting and tracking dogs that also make wonderful companion canines. They’re very friendly dogs that love being around kids and get along with most other breeds.

These dogs were specifically bred to hunt and herd deer. The terrain was difficult for other breeds, so hunters decided to breed a dog with a long body and short legs. They could cross the land more easily and herd the deer into the hunter’s path.

They’re very gentle dogs that can live in many different situations. Drever need regular exercise but as long as you’re willing to take them out, they can live in apartments too. They do, however, tend to bark when alerting you to something, which can make apartment living more difficult.

Hällefors Elkhound

Hallefors Elkhound standing

The Hällefors Elkhound is a strong and hard hunter that’s renowned for its ability to hunt Elk. They’re very loyal dogs that form strong bonds with one person. They might love and excel at hunting, but they’re also very loyal companions and are great pets for active families.

These spitz dogs will have the classic curly tail and thick, dense coats. Their coat color is always a shade of yellow and can range from very pale to almost orangey/red. You’ll need to brush them regularly although they have very little doggy smell.

Training and early socialization are essential with the Hällefors Elkhound. They can have a dominating streak, so it’s very important they learn to obey you from a young age. Luckily their wish to please their owner and intelligence usually means training is easy.

Gotlandsstövare or Gotland Hound

gotland hound

The Gotland Hound is a very rare dog that was first bred on the island of Gotland. It’s thought that these beautiful dogs are the descendants of East European Hounds.

These medium-sized dogs have short, smooth coats that can be any shade of yellow/orange. They have stunning, almond-shaped eyes and the typical, floppy Hound ears.

Gotland Hounds are amazing hunting dogs that are especially loyal to their human hunting companion. They are sweet-natured and very gentle around kids and other dogs, which makes them wonderful family pets. 

As with other Swedish Hounds, these pups need daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally happy. They’ll love going on hunts, long hikes, and having lots of time playing with their loved ones in the yard. If you’re lucky enough to find a Gotland Hound, you’ll be getting an amazing dog. 

Svensk vit älghund or Swedish White Elkhound

swedish white elkhound

According to the Nordisk Kennel Union, the Swedish White Elkhound was first recorded in 1942 when a very pale dog was born in a litter of Jämthund. It wasn’t until 1987 that breeders started to investigate just how many white colored Jämthund there were. After realizing there were more than 300, the Swedish Kennel Club recognized them as a breed in 1993.

These stunning dogs look a little like white Swiss Shepherds Dogs. They’re imposing yet beautiful and are physically made for hard work. They have thick, white coats that may have some yellow markings on them.

Swedish White Elkhounds are famous hunters. It’s said that their unique color startles the Elk, making them easier to hunt. If you adopt one of these wonderful dogs, you’ll be getting an alert and intelligent pup that’s a good guard dog and companion.

Last Thoughts

There are many beautiful, intelligent, and loyal Swedish dog breeds. They’re all hunters or herders, so do have quite high exercise needs and some will have strong prey drives too. It’s important you think about welcoming high-energy dogs into your home, but if you can, any of these amazing breeds will be a great pet!

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