The breeds traditionally served farmers in their daily work, mainly as hunting and herding dogs. Today these dogs are kept for multiple purposes, serving as family dogs, show dogs, agility dogs – and of course the dogs are still used for hunting and herding.
Sweden has eleven national breeds and shares a twelfth with Denmark.
Eight of the Swedish breeds are fully recognised by the Fedération Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I.).
The Danish-Swedish Farm dog gained preliminary recognition in 2008 and is included in F.C.I. Group 2 (Pinscher, molossers and Mountain and Cattle Dogs). The Swedish hunting spitzes and herders in Group 5 (Spitz and primitive types) that are recognised by the F.C.I. are the: Swedish Lapphund, Norrbottenspets, Jämthund, and Swedish Vallhund. Two other hunting spitzes, the Swedish White Elkhound and Hälleforshund, and the Gotlandsstövare, a hound, are only recognised in Sweden. The Schillerstövare, Hamiltonstövare, Smålandsstövare and Drever are members of F.C.I. Group 6 (Driving dogs and search and sniffer dogs).