UKC Terrier Group
Small, agile, versatile farm dogs were popular in rural Denmark and Sweden for hundreds of years due to their abilities to herd, rat, hunt, and serve as steadfast watchdogs and loyal companions. Known as the “Dansk/Svensk Gårdshund,” the dogs’ happy, alert demeanor also made them naturals as clown assistants in circuses.
In the twentieth century, as more and more farming families moved to cities, farms and farm dogs became less important and less common. Concerned that the breed could go extinct, in 1985 the Danish and Swedish Kennel Clubs began working to save the breed. Putting out a call for “white dogs with spots,” the clubs held events at parks, school grounds, and public halls to find healthy, breed-typical specimens. Eventually, 130 dogs (and 23 puppies) were selected and certified to become the founding stock. In 1987, these farm dogs were given the official name of “Dansk/Svensk Gårdshund” or Danish Swedish Farmdog.
The first Farmdog to be registered in the United States was imported in 1998. Five years later, several US breeders in the US founded the Danish-Swedish Farmdog Club of America. The breed was accepted into the AKC “Foundation Stock Service” in 2011. In March 2015, the AKC approved the dogs to compete in herding competitions.
Although there were only about 175 Danish Swedish Farmdogs in the US as of 2016, the dog has a reputation for being a highly talented canine athlete and it competes successfully in agility, flyball, dock diving, barn hunting, tracking, herding, and other sports.
The Danish Swedish Farmdog is a small, compact, and slightly rectangular dog. The head is triangularly shaped and somewhat small, proportionally, to the body. The stop is well defined, and the muzzle is well-developed and tapers toward the nose. The distance from the nose to the stop is shorter than the distance from the stop to the backskull. The jaws are strong, with a scissors bite (although a pincer bite is accepted). The eyes are slightly rounded, medium-sized, and have an attentive and kind expression. Dogs with black patches should have dark-colored eyes; dogs with yellow or liver-brown patches can have slightly lighter-colored eyes. The medium-size ears can be either rose or folded and should be set level with the skull.
The neck is medium length, strong, and slightly arched. The loin is short and slightly arched (not sloping). The chest is wide, deep, and large in comparison to the whole body. The ribs are well sprung, and the belly is slightly tucked up.
The tail can be long, short, or naturally bobbed (not docked). If the tail is long, it should be carried straight with a slight or sickle curve. Tail placement should be slightly dropped off the croup.
The forelegs are straight and parallel when viewed from the front. The pasterns are strong and springy. The upper thighs are broad and well-muscled. The knee and hock have strong angulation. The fore feet and hind feet are small and oval.
The Danish-Swedish Farmdog’s gait should be parallel and free.
The coat is short and smooth. The dominant color is white. Patches can be black, tan, brown, and fawn. Flecking is allowed.
- Height: 13 to 14.5 in. (male); 12.5 to 14 in. (female)
- Size: Small
- Weight: 15 to 25 lbs.
- Availability: Difficult to find
- Talents: Jogging, hunting, tracking, sighting, herding, tricks, lure, obedience, agility, and watchdog, guarding.
Danish-Swedish Farmdogs tend to mature late―it can take two to three years for their bodies to fully mature. As lively working dogs, they need regular exercise. They shed heavily twice a year. Their high prey drive makes them excellent ratters and mousers, but it also means they need to be watched around small animals.
These small working dogs are alert, lively, and intelligent. They love to work with and please their owners and are remarkably versatile. Whether it’s dock diving, flyball, K-9 Nose Work, tracking, agility, ratting, jogging, herding, doing tricks, or visiting sick children in the hospital, these little dogs excel at most activities. Indoors, however, they are able to settle down quickly and become quite calm. Due to their high intelligence, early training is recommended. Throughout their lives, they are very capable of picking up new skills. They thrive in environments with a good human-dog bond. Due to their adaptability, they are excellent dogs for novice owners.
- Children: Good with children
- Friendliness: Fairly friendly with strangers
- Trainability: Very easy to train
- Independence: Not particularly dependent or independent
- Dominance: Moderate (not particularly dominant or submissive)
- Other Pets: Good with pets if raised with them from puppyhood
- Combativeness: Not generally dog aggressive
- Noise: Average barker
- Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors
- Owner: Good for novice owners
- Grooming: Very little grooming needed
- Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
- Coat: Short
- Shedding: Seasonally heavy shedder
- Exercise: Moderate exercise needed
- Jogging: A good jogging companion
- Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
- Outdoor Space: A small yard is sufficient
- Climate: Does well in most climates
- Longevity: Moderately long lived (about 12-15 years)