Breed Profile: Norwegian Buhund

An ideal family pet, the Norwegian Buhund is a happy, affectionate and active herding dog who loves children.

This dog breed from Norway is happy and affectionate. By:
This dog breed from Norway is happy and affectionate. By: phunkstarr

Breed

Norwegian Buhund

Group

Herding

Physical Description

The Norwegian Buhund (boo-hund) is a medium-sized, Spitz-type herding dog who might also be called the Norsk Buhund or the Norwegian sheepdog. The dogs have medium-sized ears that stand erect and have pointed tips. The eyes are oval-shaped and dark, and the eye rims are black. The nose and lips are also black.

The tail is high-set, tightly curled and is carried over the back. The feet are oval in shape with tightly closed toes. The double coat features a thick topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. Longer hair is usually found on the neck, chest and legs. Coat colors include black and wheaten; a black mask may be present, as well as white markings.

The average height of Norwegian Buhunds is 16 to 18.5 inches. Their weights range from 26 to 40 pounds, and they have an average life expectancy of around 15 years.

Origin

Norwegian Buhunds originate in Norway. Evidence of the breed dates back to 900 A.D. Canine skeletons of the breed were found in a Viking grave in the Gokstad excavation. There were 6 dogs of various sizes in the grave, and they were representative of the Norwegian Buhunds we see today.

The dogs were used as herders, watch dogs and all-purpose farm dogs by shepherds. They herded cattle, sheep, small livestock, reindeer and pigs. The name is derived from the Norwegian word “bu” for farm or hut, and these structures were where the shepherds lived. The first Norwegian Buhund show in Norway was held in 1920. The Norsk Buhund Club formed in 1939, and the Norwegian Buhund Club of America was formed in 1983.

The Norwegian Buhund was entered in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service in 1996. They were moved to the miscellaneous class in 2006 and officially recognized in the herding group in 2009.

Purpose

The dogs were used as herders and farm dogs in Norway, and many of them are still used in these capacities today. They may also participate in conformation, agility, rally, obedience, herding, tracking, flyball, therapy and work as service dogs for the hearing impaired.

Temperament

Norwegian Buhunds are playful, affectionate, happy dogs. They love being with their family members and are especially fond of children. They are generally good around other pets but should be socialized. These intelligent dogs are easy to train and can be taught tricks. They are sensitive to harsh discipline, so positive reinforcement is recommended.

In this video, Norwegian Buhund “Binna” demonstrates her high-five trick at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show:

These dogs were bred to work and be alert to danger, so they are used to having something to do. Dogs of this breed that are not working should be exercised regularly to avoid boredom or destructive behavior. They are easily bored, especially with repetitive tasks, and need to be stimulated and challenged.

The breed’s strong, high-pitched bark travels far and can be used for communication or when the dog notices something or someone moving. They may try to herd people, so they need to be trained that this behavior is not acceptable.

Exercise Needs

Norwegian Buhunds have high energy and stamina because of their herding and watch dog instincts, so they need daily exercise and consistent training. Having a job to do would be best, otherwise they will create their own tasks (some of which might be destructive). Although they are active, they will settle down in the evenings and enjoy snuggling with their humans.

This breed is best kept as in indoor-only dog and should have access to a yard. They can do well in large apartments if given plenty of opportunities to exercise outdoors each day.

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Grooming Requirements

Maintenance of this breed’s grooming is easy. Shedding is minimal during the year, and the coat is easy to maintain with regular brushing; the coat does not typically tangle or mat. Bathing can be done as needed. Heavy shedding will occur seasonally, usually 2 times per year, and brushing should be done daily during these periods.

Regular grooming should be maintained as it would for any breed; brush the teeth, clean the ears and trim the nails as needed. Working dogs should have their paws, coat and ears inspected when they return indoors to remove any debris or insects.

Common Health Problems

The breed is considered extremely healthy. The only health issues worth noting are hip dysplasia and eye problems (cataracts).

Is the Norwegian Buhund the Right Dog for You?

Norwegian Buhunds are happy, active dogs who adore children and are very affectionate with their families. Although they do need a good amount of exercise each day, they are happy to settle down and snuggle in at the end of the day. They get along with other pets, too, and are regarded as a “people dog” since they are happy to meet anyone they can.

Although heavy shedding occurs 2 times a year, regular brushing the rest of the year is all that is needed. The dogs do best indoors with a yard, but they can live in large apartments if they are allowed to exercise outdoors daily. There are only two health problems considered common for this breed, and when added with the minimal grooming they are easy dogs to maintain. They do need training, however, but they are easy to train.

If you are looking for a playful, affectionate family dog with minimal grooming, good health and a love of children, consider the Norwegian Buhund breed for your next dog.

Adopt, Don’t Buy

Norwegian Buhunds can be difficult to find, but it is worth checking shelters and rescues first. Use our dog search to see if there is one of these dogs near you. If you choose to contact a breeder, make sure they are members of the Norwegian Buhund Club of America or have solid references you can check. Also beware of signs that the breeder is operating a puppy mill.

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Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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