The densely coated Norwegian Buhund, a Nordic spitz-type closely associated with the Vikings, is a medium-sized cold-weather worker adept at herding and guarding. As family dogs, Buhunds are smart, affectionate, and steadfastly devoted. There’s truth to the romantic tales of Buhunds who sailed with Nordic invaders, the Vikings, some 1,200 years ago.
And though Buhunds might’ve enjoyed looting and pillaging their way across the continent alongside Vikings they are, at heart, homebodies. In fact, their name derives from the Norwegian word “bu”, meaning “homestead” or “farm.” For centuries Buhunds served as herders, guardians of flock and family, and all-purpose farmhands.
Norwegian Buhund Appearance
Norwegian Buhunds are 16 to 18.5 inches tall and weigh 26 to 40 pounds. The Norwegian Buhund is a herding dog. It is a typical northern breed, a little under medium size and squarely built, with a tightly curled tail carried over the back. The head is wedge-shaped and not too heavy, with prick ears.
Norwegian Buhunds do not need extensive grooming. They are naturally clean and basically odorless dogs, even when wet. The Buhund has a double coat: an outer coat that is thick, rich, hard, and smooth lying, and a soft, dense, and woolly undercoat. The coat sheds most foreign substances with ease, and dries itself after a bath. Buhunds do need to be brushed two to three times a week, and more often during the shedding season like other double-coated dogs, Buhunds blow their undercoats once or twice a year. Coat colors are wheaten or black.
Buhund’s life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. They have a lot of energy, strength and stamina. This self-appointed watchdog is also content lying at your feet at the end of the day.
Full of character and highly intelligent, the Buhund is an excellent family pet. It is very affectionate and naturally gentle. The Buhund has an even and cheery temperament and is eager to please. These dogs are easy to train to obedience, but they are independent thinkers and will become bored with repetition. They need a job to do or they will make up their own games and puzzles to solve.
Buhunds are a vocal dog. Their strong and intense bark travels far distances and is used to communicate. While herding, their high-pitched bark carries through the mountains alerting the shepherd and other dogs to their position. In general, a Buhund will not bark senselessly, but they can find a lot to bark about. A Buhund will bark to alert if an object is in motion; this can include people, cars and birds as well as sheep.
The breed is motivated to work and eager to please, which makes initial training easy. However, they are sensitive and positive training techniques, such as clicker training and food baiting work well with this breed. The Buhund is a dog bred to work for hours at a time. He is very energetic and playful and requires physical exercise. These dogs love to run, play Frisbee, retrieve balls, or go for long hikes.
Caring for a Norwegian Buhund
Next, we’ll go into how you should care for a Norwegian Buhund.
The Norwegian Buhund should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to becoming overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Buhunds have been bred to work and herd for hours at a time. This can result in very energetic dogs who need vigorous exercise that allows them to run fast twice a day for optimum physical and mental health. This breed is not content lounging around all day and thrives when they have jobs to do.
These dogs love to run with a bicycle, retrieve balls, or go for long, all-day hikes as well as playing with their canine friends at a dog park. They can also exercise the mind and body by participating in obedience, tracking, and agility activities with their owner.
Buhunds are extremely intelligent by nature, consistent training is needed from early puppyhood. Compared to other Spitz and Northern breeds, Norwegian Buhunds are easier to train, but they still retain the independent characteristics of such breeds. Buhunds do have a desire to please, but their independence is often stronger, which makes it challenging to maintain their focus and convince them to continue training.
Fortunately, most Buhunds are highly food-motivated, therefore positive-training techniques such as clicker training work well. At the same time, most Buhunds are extremely sensitive to their environment, which makes them challenging in the dog show ring.
In general, Norwegian Buhunds tend to be healthy and hardy. There have been cases of Pulverulent Nuclear Cataracts, epilepsy (one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs resulting in seizures) and skin allergies reported in the breed. On the flipside, the breed has a very high incidence of hip dysplasia; which is passed down from the parents to the offspring.
In a healthy dog, the ball and socket are perfectly shaped to match each other and a strong ligament holds the two bones together. In cases of hip dysplasia, however, the joint may be abnormally structured and/or the muscles and ligaments may be underdeveloped. This causes the two bones to lost contact and separate. Hip dysplasia usually affects large dogs, however considering that the Norwegian Buhund is not a large breed of dog, breeders and enthusiasts are alarmed at this quickly increasing problem.
Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinding tool to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Use a damp cloth to clean the ears. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
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Norwegian Buhund Club of America