Danish-Swedish Farmdog: A Comprehensive Breed Overview

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog, originally known as a Danish Pinscher, has deep-rooted origins in both Denmark and Southern Sweden. It is a small, energetic, and versatile breed that has been around since the 18th century. The Farmdog was almost extinct; however, it was saved by the joint efforts of the kennel clubs of Denmark and Sweden in 1987. Today, this breed has gained popularity all over Scandinavia and has become a sought-after companion for many families.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog

These compact dogs stand between 12.5 and 14.5 inches tall and typically weigh 15-20 pounds. Their coats are short and can come in different colors and patterns. They have a triangular-shaped head with a well-emphasized stop. The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is known for its intelligent, trainable, and attentive demeanor, making them an excellent choice for various tasks on the farm, sports activities, and even as therapy dogs.

Key Takeaways

  • The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is an energetic, trainable, and attentive breed with origins in Denmark and Southern Sweden.
  • This compact dog has a short coat, stands between 12.5-14.5 inches tall, and weighs 15-20 pounds.
  • Almost extinct in the 1980s, the breed was saved through the efforts of Danish and Swedish kennel clubs and is now popular across Scandinavia.

Origin and History

Denmark and Sweden

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog has its roots in Denmark and southern Sweden, where it has been a popular breed for centuries. It is believed to have existed in these regions since the 1700s and was commonly found on farms in Denmark, southern Sweden, and even parts of Scania and Schleswig Holstein.

Scandinavian Native Breed

This breed is an old native breed to Scandinavia, having historically lived on farms in the eastern parts of Denmark and southernmost part of Sweden. Due to its unique location, the Danish-Swedish Farmdog became a versatile and adaptable dog, trained to carry out various tasks on the farm.

Hunting Dog and Rat Catcher

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is known for its skills as a hunting dog and rat catcher on the farm. Its tenacity, agility, and intelligence have made it an excellent working dog in both hunting and controlling vermin populations on the farm.

Danish Pinscher and Scanian Terrier

Though often mistaken for a Terrier, the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is most closely related to the Pinscher family. Its origins can be traced back to the Danish Pinscher and Scanian Terrier, which were bred to create the modern Danish-Swedish Farmdog. The breed’s soft and gentle temperament also makes them excellent companion dogs.

Breed Characteristics and Appearance

Compact Body

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a sturdy, well-balanced dog with a compact body. Their size ranges from 12.5 to 14.5 inches in height, and they weigh between 15 and 20 pounds. The breed has a strong back, with a slightly sloping croup, and its body length is slightly more than the height at the withers.

Head and Stop

The head of the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is proportional to the body, displaying a well-defined stop. The skull is slightly rounded, and the muzzle is well-shaped with tight-fitting lips, showcasing a strong and confident expression.


The tail of the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is set high and can be naturally short, of medium length, or long. It’s usually carried in a loose curl when the dog is active or alert.

Coat and Colors

The coat of the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is short, smooth, and close-fitting. Its texture is neither too coarse nor too soft, providing a practical and easily maintained cover for the breed. The coat’s standard colors can appear as tri-color or bi-color, often with a variety of patterns including:

  • Black and white with tan markings
  • Red and white
  • Brown and white

It is common for these colors to come in patches, adding distinction to each individual dog’s appearance. They may also have small white markings on their chest, toes, and tail tip.

Temperament and Behavior

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is known for its friendly and easygoing temperament. These dogs are often gentle and calm, making them a perfect fit for families with children. They are also affectionate with their human companions, forming strong bonds and thriving on interaction.

These dogs are quite intelligent, which in combination with their eagerness to please, makes them relatively easy to train. This also contributes to their success in various dog sports and activities, such as agility, obedience, and even as sidekicks for clown acts in circuses.

While their mild mannered nature may not immediately suggest it, Danish-Swedish Farmdogs have a history of working as watch dogs on farms. Although they are not typically used as guard dogs for property protection, their alertness and attentiveness make them excellent watchdogs, notifying their owners of any unusual activity or unfamiliar visitors.

Activities and Sports

Agility and Rally

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is an intelligent and energetic breed with a natural aptitude for dog sports, particularly agility and rally. Thanks to their high energy levels, these dogs excel in activities that challenge them mentally and physically. In agility, they maneuver through obstacle courses with ease, while in rally, their ability to follow cues and obedience commands make them strong competitors.

Flyball and Lure Coursing

Another two sports that Danish-Swedish Farmdogs enjoy are flyball and lure coursing. Flyball is a fast-paced team sport where dogs race to retrieve a ball and return it to their handlers, showcasing the breed’s speed and determination. Lure coursing, on the other hand, involves chasing a mechanically operated lure, tapping into their instinctive drive to chase and catch prey.


Lastly, the Danish-Swedish Farmdog has a natural aptitude for earthdog trials. These events simulate the “going to ground” instinct that many small breeds possess, where dogs locate and follow small game, such as rodents, in underground tunnels. Earthdog trials highlight this breed’s ability to use scent and listening skills to locate prey, displaying their confidence and tenacity in challenging environments.

Training and Socialization

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are a versatile and intelligent breed that enjoy challenges and thrive on consistent training. These medium-sized dogs were originally bred for hunting and watchdog duties, but have adapted well to being companion animals.

Obedience training should begin early with Danish-Swedish Farmdogs to establish a solid foundation for learning and to prevent any unwanted behaviors from developing. Start with basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come” and gradually progress to more advanced exercises including off-leash obedience.

In addition to obedience, Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are known for their aptitude in tracking and hunting activities. Engaging them in these pursuits can provide both mental stimulation and fulfillment for their natural instincts. It is best to consult with a professional trainer or join a dog sport club to ensure your dog receives proper guidance and exposure to these activities.

Socialization is another vital aspect of raising a well-rounded Danish-Swedish Farmdog. This breed is naturally sociable, so introducing them to a variety of people, dogs, and environments from a young age will help them become more adaptable and comfortable in different situations. Regular visits to dog parks, dog-friendly stores, and group training classes can provide valuable exposure and interaction for your dog.

It is also important to consider the daily exercise needs of Danish-Swedish Farmdogs. These energetic dogs require regular physical activity to maintain their health and happiness. Some options for exercise could include daily walks, runs, or games of fetch. Keep in mind that the breed’s level of energy can vary, so it’s essential to tailor the exercise regimen accordingly.

Health and Exercise

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a generally healthy and robust breed, but like any dog, they can be prone to certain health issues. One health concern that may be observed in this breed is hip dysplasia. This is a genetic condition where the hip joint fails to develop correctly, leading to arthritis and pain over time. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help monitor and address such concerns.

Despite their small size, Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are quite active and have a high-strung nature. They require adequate daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. A combination of physical activities like walks, jogging, or playing fetch as well as mental stimulation through puzzle toys and training is necessary to keep your farm dog happy and healthy.

It’s important to remember that exercise is not just about physical exertion, but also about providing mental engagement for your dog. As an intelligent breed, Danish-Swedish Farmdogs can become bored easily, which can lead to destructive or undesirable behaviors. Offering your farm dog opportunities to engage their mind, like learning new tricks or participating in scent work, can help alleviate boredom and promote a balanced and content pet.

In addition to regular exercise and mental stimulation, proper nutrition is essential for a healthy, happy Danish-Swedish Farmdog. Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet specifically tailored to their age, size, and activity level would be ideal. Consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations on the appropriate diet for your pet.

Responsible Dog Ownership

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a versatile and energetic breed known for its intelligence and friendly demeanor. When considering adding a Danish-Swedish Farmdog to your family, it is important to practice responsible dog ownership, which includes proper care and consideration of the breed’s specific needs.

As a member of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is recognized as a distinct breed that requires owners to adhere to guidelines for responsible ownership. This includes providing appropriate nutrition, exercise, training, grooming, and healthcare.

When it comes to nutrition, Danish-Swedish Farmdogs require a balanced diet that caters to their specific needs. This breed is generally small, averaging 12.5-14.5 inches in height and 15-20 pounds in weight. Accordingly, their nutritional requirements may differ slightly from larger breeds. Consult with your veterinarian about the most appropriate diet for your Danish-Swedish Farmdog.

Exercise is crucial for the overall well-being of your Danish-Swedish Farmdog. This breed is known for its active and energetic nature, which requires daily physical activity to keep them healthy and happy. Take your Farmdog on regular walks, incorporate play sessions, and consider participating in canine sports like Flyball or agility, as they are known for their strong drive and focus.

Socialization and training play an essential role in responsible dog ownership. Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them ideal candidates for obedience training. Begin socializing your dog from a young age by exposing them to various people, environments, and experiences. Enroll in a reputable training school that uses positive reinforcement techniques to ensure your companion dog develops into a well-behaved and confident adult.

Regular grooming is necessary for maintaining your Danish-Swedish Farmdog’s health and appearance. This breed has a short, smooth coat that requires minimal maintenance. However, routine brushing and bathing help reduce shedding and maintain the coat’s natural oils. Additionally, pay attention to dental hygiene, ear care, and nail maintenance for your dog.

Lastly, ensure your Farmdog receives regular veterinary care. Routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive measures are essential for maintaining your dog’s health and well-being. Discuss any breed-specific health concerns or recommendations with your veterinarian.

By practicing responsible dog ownership, you can provide a loving and healthy environment for your Danish-Swedish Farmdog to thrive in, while enjoying their companionship and benefiting from their adaptable nature.

Adoption and Transition

Shelters and Adoption

When considering adopting a Danish-Swedish Farmdog, it is important to look for reputable shelters and adoption centers. These organizations ensure that their dogs are well-cared for and have undergone necessary health screenings. Adopting from a shelter gives these dogs a chance at a loving forever home and helps alleviate overcrowding in shelters.

As you begin the adoption process, confidently approach the shelter with knowledge of the breed and its characteristics. Keep in mind that these dogs are energetic, trainable, and attentive. Take time to interact with the dog and ensure it is a good fit for your family and living situation.

Space and Base

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are well suited to both urban and rural living situations. They typically weigh between 15-20 pounds and measure 12.5-14.5 inches in height. However, they do require adequate space for exercise and play. Ideally, having access to a fenced yard or nearby dog park is essential for these dogs to thrive.

During the initial transition period, it is essential to create a comfortable and safe space for your new dog to feel secure. Set up a designated lounging area with a cozy bed for them to rest and adjust to their new surroundings. Establish boundaries early on and gradually introduce the dog to your daily routine.


Danish-Swedish Farmdogs have a moderate appetite and need balanced nutrition to maintain their energy levels and overall health. A high-quality dog food, specifically designed for small to medium-sized active breeds, is recommended. Proper portion control is crucial to prevent overfeeding and potential weight-related issues.

You can ask the shelter for guidance on the dog’s current feeding schedule and preferred dog food. This will help maintain consistency in their diet during the transition period. Gradually, you can introduce any new food or feeding schedule changes to avoid digestive issues.

Throughout the adoption and transition process, maintain a confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear approach. Prioritize the well-being and comfort of your Danish-Swedish Farmdog while keeping their unique characteristics in mind. With time and a nurturing environment, this adaptable breed can become a beloved family member.

Breed Recognition and Standards

American Kennel Club

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog (DSF), also known as Dansk-svensk gårdshund and Danish Pinscher, is not fully recognized by the American Kennel Club yet. However, breed standards have been established and are followed by enthusiasts and breeders in various countries.

FCI Standard

The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) provisionally accepted the Danish-Swedish Farmdog in 2008 and it became eligible to apply for full recognition in 2019. The FCI standard has set the ideal size for a Danish-Swedish Farmdog to be between 30-39 cm in height with a compact body. The ratio between withers height and body length should be 9 to 10. The head is described as small and triangular with a well-emphasized stop.

The breed, known for maturing late, has been used traditionally as a watchdog, ratter, and companion on farms in Denmark and Sweden. Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are small, compact, and slightly rectangular in shape. These versatile, energetic, and intelligent dogs are recognized and registered by kennel clubs in various Nordic countries.

Registration statistics show a steady increase in the number of Danish-Swedish Farmdogs in Nordic countries since 1990, indicating a growing popularity and appreciation for the breed. As the breed gains more recognition, enthusiasts and breeders continue to uphold its standards and promote the unique qualities of the Danish-Swedish Farmdog.

Dog Care Tips for Danish-Swedish Farmdogs

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are friendly, energetic, and intelligent dogs that make wonderful companions for active families. These dogs require consistent care and attention to keep them happy and healthy. Here are some dog care tips to help you cater to their needs.

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs have a strong drive and require daily exercise to expend their energy. A combination of physical and mental stimulation, such as walks, runs, or engaging in dog sports like agility and flyball, can help keep them satisfied.

Consistent training and socialization are essential for this intelligent breed. Start training early, use positive reinforcement techniques, and expose your dog to various experiences, people, and other animals to encourage proper behavior.

For situations where outdoor potty breaks are not feasible, such as during winter or when living in an apartment, an indoor pet loo or potty system featuring synthetic grass can be a practical solution for your Danish-Swedish Farmdog. Synthetic grass on a pet loo mimics the feel of real grass, making it easier for your dog to adapt. The system should have a collection jug underneath to catch and dispose of urine efficiently.

Grooming your Danish-Swedish Farmdog regularly is crucial for maintaining a healthy coat. Their short coats are relatively low-maintenance; however, regular brushing can help reduce shedding and keep their fur clean and tangle-free.

Maintaining proper dental hygiene is also imperative for your Danish-Swedish Farmdog. Regular teeth brushing, combined with dental chews or toys, can help prevent dental issues and contribute to their overall well-being.

By providing routine preventive care, you can ensure your Danish-Swedish Farmdog remains healthy and happy. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention are all essential components to your dog’s long-term wellness.

Keep these dog care tips in mind to help your Danish-Swedish Farmdog lead a fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big does a Danish-Swedish Farmdog get?

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are small dogs, with an average height of 12.5-14.5 inches and weight of 15-20 pounds. They are well-proportioned and muscular, with a compact and sturdy appearance.

Are Danish-Swedish Farmdogs rare?

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are not extremely rare, but they are a less common breed in the United States. They are more popular in their native countries of Denmark and Sweden.

What breeds make a Danish-Swedish Farmdog?

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is an old breed that has developed through years of natural selection. Though not much is known about its exact ancestry, it is believed to have originated from a mix of local Danish and Swedish dogs, with possible contributions from other European breeds.

What is the lifespan of a Danish-Swedish Farmdog?

These dogs have a life expectancy of 11-13 years. With proper care, they can live a healthy and happy life.

Are Danish-Swedish Farmdogs good with children?

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs typically have an affectionate and friendly nature, which makes them great companions for children. They are also known to be patient and tolerant, but like with any dog, adult supervision is necessary when around young children to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog.

What is the temperament of a Danish-Swedish Farmdog?

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are intelligent, charming, and animated dogs with a strong attachment to their humans. They have a genuine desire to please but can be a bit stubborn at times. These dogs are active and enjoy being around an active person, but they also love cuddling and relaxing with their family.

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