The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

When the American Kennel Club accepts a new breed into its registry, it is with the expectation that the breed will have general appeal. The Danish-Swedish Farmdog Club of America has done a phenomenal job representing the breed, encouraging health testing, and striving toward producing a consistent quality of conformation within the breed.

To learn more about Farmdogs, I thought we might go through the Breed Standard, which adheres as closely as possible to the standards of their countries of origin. Commentary is interspersed between sections of the Standard.

DANISH-SWEDISH FARMDOG BREED STANDARD

INTRODUCTION

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a cheerful, small, compact, smooth-coated, and multipurpose barnyard dog. It originated in Denmark and Southern Sweden and was commonly found on small farms up until the Industrial Revolution when many of those farms closed down.

The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

While its specialty was vermin control, it could occasionally be found hunting or helping to bring the cows in. Hunting and herding were not originally among its main purposes and are, therefore, not required abilities. Its skill and drive to chase mice, rats, and other vermin continues to be a characteristic of the breed. It is coordinated, agile, and blazingly fast—important abilities for a vermin catcher!

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a friendly, outgoing, attentive, and lively companion. Frequently a playmate to the farmer’s children, it is well suited as a companion. Its open-minded, quick-to-learn style earned it a place in old-time circuses as a performer, and now endears it to dog sport enthusiasts and families alike.

The Farmdog served as an able little watchdog, alerting its owners to the presence of strangers approaching the farm. Its warning bark serves a strictly “doorbell” function. It must never show aggression, quieting as soon as the owner has accepted the visitor. It must be friendly, greeting visitors with a wagging tail. A reserved and shy Farmdog has a completely undesirable temperament.

While the origins of the breed were intended to produce an all-around working dog for small farms, the qualities they embody make them perfect for every sport AKC has to offer. Farmdogs literally excel at everything! As a “pinscher type” dog that will eventually enter the Working Group with AKC, their positive attributes are innumerable. They are generally quite healthy and long-lived, many reaching 16 to 18 years of age.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A small, compact, lively, smooth coated, and slightly rectangular dog. Known to mature late. The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is not to appear refined or elegant. Clear differentiation between the genders is important.

Diminutive in size, Farmdogs sport a solid, athletic frame. Fast and agile, they are built for the speed needed to herd or “rat.” Size may be the only thing small about them.

The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

SIZE, PROPORTION, AND SUBSTANCE

Height at the Withers: Males: 13.5-14.5 inches +/- 1 inch. Females: 12.5-14 inches +/- ½ inch. Proportion: The Farmdog should be slightly longer than tall. It must not give the impression of either long or short legs. The body should be slightly rectangular, a proportion of 9:10. The proportions between depth of chest and height at withers should be 1:2. Substance: Farmdogs develop slowly. This should be considered during judging. The breed is not fully developed until the age of 3-4 years, in some cases even longer for males. FAULT: Elegant general appearance.

Beautifully balanced with a powerful stride, the structure commonly results in a natural “stack” when the dog comes to a stop. Gait is quick, steady, and agile, as though they could work all day and still be ready for rousing play.

HEAD

The Head should be triangular and a bit small in proportion to the body. The rather broad skull creates the basis and the head is gradually narrowing towards the muzzle, which is slightly shorter than the skull.

Skull: Rather broad and slightly rounded. Stop: Well defined. Cheeks pronounced without exaggeration. Eyes: Medium-sized, slightly rounded, neither protruding nor sunken. Attentive and kind expression. Dark eye color in dogs with black patches. Slightly lighter eye color permissible in dogs with yellow, or liver/brown patches. Ears: Medium-sized. Rose or button, in both cases the fold should be just above the skull. It is not unusual to see a Farmdog with one of each. Button Ears: The tips should lie close to cheeks. FAULT: Prick ears. Muzzle: Well-developed and gradually narrowing towards the nose, but must not give a snipey impression. Muzzle slightly shorter than the skull. Nose bridge straight. Jaws: Strong. Nose: Color in accordance with the color of patches. Bite: Scissors bite with even and well-developed incisors. A level bite is acceptable.

The head being slightly small in proportion to the body may aid in vermin hunting, as do the incredibly strong jaws. The ears frame the skull, accentuating the lovely balance of the triangular shape. There is an intense, yet soft and appealing quality to their expression.

NECK, BODY, AND TOPLINE

Neck: Medium length, strong, and slightly arched. No throatiness. FAULT: Neck too long. Body: Compact with good substance. The body is substantial due to the deep and roomy rib cage, which has a good spring of ribs. A fully developed, compact body cannot be expected until maturity, but it is important that the proportions are correct even in young dogs. Topline: Strong back, slightly arched short loin, slightly rounded croup. If the tail is set too high, the croup is too flat and this gives the impression of terrier-type. Loin: Short, broad, and slightly arched. Croup: Slightly rounded. Must not be flat. The slightly rounded croup must never be confused with a steep or sloping croup. An overly sloping croup does not facilitate the breed’s free movement. FAULT: Steep croup. Chest: Long, deep, and roomy with very well sprung ribs. Forechest well-defined. The front is slightly broader than the ribcage. The chest should reach to the elbow. FAULT: Lack of depth in the chest. Narrow in front. Ribs: Well sprung. The rib cage must be relatively wide compared to the size of the dog. FAULT: Flat or short rib cage. Underline/Tuck Up: Belly only slightly tucked up. The long rib cage and short loin make for an only slightly tucked up belly. Tail: Not too high tail set. Long tail or naturally bobtailed. It is never docked. The tail should be carried straight, with a slight curve, or like a sickle. The slightly rounded croup causes the tail not to be set too high. FAULT: Curled tail or tail carried flat on back.

The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

The Charming Danish-Swedish Farmdog

FOREQUARTERS

Upper Arm: Oblique, not too steep. Shoulder Blade: Oblique, not too steep. Legs: Front legs straight and parallel. Due to the wide and deep chest, the front legs are placed rather wide. FAULT: Low on legs. Pasterns: Strong and springy. Dewclaws: Front dewclaws are present. Feet: Small, oval, and moderately tight-knit.

HINDQUARTERS

Legs: Parallel and well-muscled. Thigh: Fairly broad. Stifle: Well-angulated. Hock Joint: Well-angulated. Rear Dewclaws: Accepted.

COAT

The coat is short, hard, and smooth.

Resilient and easy care, many Farmdogs carry a “low shedding” gene.

COLOR

White dominating. Patches of different colors, sizes, and combinations permissible (black, brown, agouti, yellow, and all shades of tan and fawn). Patches also on head, with or without tan markings. Flecking accepted. FAULT: Head entirely white.

Color varies widely in this breed and may migrate or change as the puppy grows.

GAIT

Parallel and free.

The muscular build, slightly rounded croup, and roomy chest combine to produce lightning speed, and the sturdy tail can make an effective rudder. It’s the body of a supreme athlete.

TEMPERAMENT

Alert, friendly, attentive, and lively.

Farmdogs are experts at winning hearts. They are highly social with both people and other dogs. Committed cuddlers, they make wonderful Therapy Dogs. I think of them as “chronically cheerful.” (You simply cannot have a bad day with a Farmdog around.) Highly biddable, they learn at an astonishing rate.

FAULTS

Any departure from the foregoing points would be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in proportion to its degree and effect on the health and welfare of the dog.

Conformation Judging Procedure: The Danish-Swedish Farmdog is to be examined on the table.

Small in size but large in stature, the table is the best place for judges to appreciate the symmetry and substance inherent in the breed.

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog Club of America appreciates and celebrates the working potential of the Farmdog. These dogs are energetic and playful, engaging, quite biddable, highly social, curious, brilliant, and charismatic. A “busy” dog that also loves to cuddle in your lap, they are proving to be superstars in all AKC events. From Agility to Obedience, Rally, Scent Work, Barn Hunt, Fast CAT, Trick Dog, etc., Farmdogs set the bar for most other dogs to follow. Once you own a Farmdog, you won’t want to live without one—or more!

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  • The creation of this US Farmdog Breed Club is a modern tale of lives that became significantly intertwined by the Internet. The idea to create an American Danish/Swedish Farmdog club began with conversations between three very different women who had individually imported a Danish/Swedish Farmdog as a family companion.

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