Is this photograph of a Swedish Vallhund real?

In the summer of 2021, social media users excitedly shared a long-running meme that claimed to introduce readers to the “Swedish vallhund,” a breed of dog described as “essentially wolf-corgis.”

The similarity of the dog’s face to that of a wolf, combined with a low body and stocky limbs, would naturally lead some observers to wonder if the photo was the result of digital retouching. Over the past decade, this particular image has seen several waves of popularity online, including in 2013.

Not only is it authentic and not digitally altered, but we know the exact origins of this photo, which indeed shows a Swedish vallhund. Therefore, we assign the rating “True”.

The dog shown in the photo is Misty, or Missy, who might have unwittingly been the most famous Swedish vallhund in the world. She was owned and bred by Cindy Kingsley, who previously operated Osafin, a Swedish vallhund kennel in Austin, Texas.

A page from the Osafin site, archived in March 2015, shows the photograph in question, along with several others of Misty, noting that she was born on May 29, 2006, and even describing two generations of her lineage. The caption under the image reads: “It’s Misty’s first day in Texas after living in British Columbia where she needed this cold weather jacket. She is now a Texas Swedish Vallhund with a lighter coat.


(An archived version of the same page, from November 2007, definitively establishes that Kingsley’s website was the original source of the famous photograph, years before it appeared in internet memes).

The Swedish vallhund (known as västgötaspets in Swedish) is a relatively rare breed, first recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2007. The AKC website describes it as follows:

The long and low Swedish Vallhund, Viking dog of ancient legend, is an intelligent and sociable shepherd with a dense coat and unlimited energy. These hardy cattle dogs are known for their zest for life, unique vocalizations, and cheerful demeanor.

With their thick sable coat, sturdy build and overall unadorned appearance, Vallhunds are a timeless breed, as at home in a suburban backyard as they were in the bows of Viking longships there. is 1200 years old. These lively herders are built long and low, in a way not as exaggerated as their distant cousins ​​the corgis, but the idea is the same: their height makes it easier to pinch the heels of cattle and avoid kicks. head to toe. . Balance, power and fluidity of movement are the characteristics of the breed.

According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI, a Belgium-based association of various national canine clubs), the exact historical development of the Swedish Vallhund remains an intriguing mystery:

The Swedish Vallhund is considered an authentic Swedish breed although there is still some uncertainty as to the relationship to the type as the Welsh Corgi. Whether or not the Vikings brought Corgi-type dogs from the British Isles to Sweden or Västgötaspets-type dogs from Sweden to Britain will never be resolved. But modern research believes that the Västgötaspets are of Swedish origin.

According to the FCI, their ideal height is just over a foot at the withers (between the shoulder blades).

Misty died in January 2021, at the age of 14. In a Facebook post, Kingsley wrote:

“She was a wonderful companion, mother and grandmother. She always brought me her dish after meals and checked the other boxes in case there was another dish to pick up for a little treat. Rest in peace my sweet Misty.

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