article image

Meet the Danish-Swedish Farmdog

I was introduced to the Danish-Swedish Farmdog in 2006 after my Jack Russell/Corgi mixed passed away from a lung disease. I was incredibly sad after she died, as we always are when we lose a beloved pet, so I immediately put feelers out for a new pup. A very good friend of mine who was active in agility had seen a Farmdog at a trial and referred me to a breeder. Once I read the breed standard, I knew this was the exact dog I had been looking for. I was fortunate: There was a litter in San Francisco, and we were fortunate to get a female, Pacific Rims Bolinas Cloud. We named her Lexi.

Lexi came into our family. My daughter was 14, my son 11. She fit right in. When Lexi was 6 months old, my friend who had her littermate included me in a foundation agility class, and I played agility with Lexi until she was 3 years old, upon which time she had her first litter of five pups then had a second litter of five pups a year and a half later. She has been an outstanding agility, lure coursing, family dog, companion, therapy dog to those with life threatening illness, hiking companion, and queen of the roost. I also have one of her daughters, Gracie, who is now 8.

The farmdog originates in Denmark and southern Sweden and was originally called a Danish Pincher. The breed dates back to the 1700s and was used on small family farms as a ratter, livestock herder, hunting dog, doorbell, and companion. The most important job for the farmdog is to keep the farmers’ feet warm at night, an important trait most still possess today.

The breed was nearly lost until in the late ’80s when the Danish and Swedish kennel clubs worked together to save the breed from extinction. The dog is small, compact, and slightly rectangular. It is alert, attentive and lively, but the best feature is that the dogs have an off switch. The coat is short and smooth, harsh on the body with white as a dominate color with patches of color and flecking allowed. The head is triangular in shape and slightly small in proportion to the body. They have either rose or button ears, and a tail that is usually long and happy, but natural bobtails exist and are allowed.

The Farmdog is AKC Foundation Stock Service and currently has 152 dogs registered. These dogs are fantastic show dogs, therapy dogs, athletes and family dogs. They hold many confirmation, agility, lure coursing, scent and nose work, herding, and flyball titles.

Our West Coast Farmdogs have made a splash in the dog world — in flyball, there are two farm dogs that are Top Dogs: in NAFA, the North American Flayball Association, there is Matilde’s Nellie, and in U-FLI, the United Flyball League International, is Flora’s Lady Eva Annalise. They are very fast, but sane. When, they are finished competing, they are happy to hang in your arms, on your lap, or tucked into their crate.

Another notable young dog is Bullet who is a champion in three agility organizations: AKC (American Kennel Club), USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association), and UKI (UK Agility International), not to mention being third at the Westminister Kennel Club’s 12-inch division in agility. Many of Danish Swedish Farmdogs have titles as Canine Good Citizens and are certified therapy dogs. I don’t think there is much a farmdog can’t do, and they are very smart and willing to work. Just don’t make a mistake in your training — because they will remember and call you on it.

Allison Hunt of Valhalla Kennel began riding and showing horses when she was 9 and loved vaulting, or gymnastics, on horseback. She thought about horses nonstop, riding and caring for them with assistance from great equine mentors who taught her to study movement and health. Hunt grew up with German Shepherds and loved all four-legged creatures. When she married and started a family, her husband adopted a pup from the barn — a Corgi/Jack Russell mix, Tippy. After Tippy passed away and as horses proved an economic challenge, she got Lexi, her first Danish-Swedish Farmdog. She has a master’s degree in clinical Ppsychology and is a marriage, family therapist and practices through her health coaching business. A competitive rower, she has her dogs compete in confirmation and rally and loves hiking with her Danish-Swedish Farmdogs.

Bullet, top photo, is an athletic Danish-Swedish Farmdog, and Solo, below, was the first Farmdog pup born in the Unites States.

FD-Solo

Main article photo by: Photos courtesy Allison Hunt