ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Norwegian Buhund

Norwegian Buhund dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

One thing the Norwegian Buhund has not lost over the years is its willingness to make its owner happy! If you are looking for a dog that is great at sporting and doing work, then this is your breed!

This smart breed will learn quickly and complete tasks with ease! Let this dog herd its way into your hearts and homes!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 4 inches tall to 1 foot, 6 inches tall
Weight: 26 to 40 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

You can expect the Norwegian Buhund to be a hard worker knowing its background. Coming from Norway, they were a herding dog that moved livestock on a farm, as well as guarding the premises.

This smart breed can learn jobs quickly and make great competitors in dog trials for agility and obedience. Because of their high intelligence, you can expect this dog breed to do great things, like becoming a police canine or a service dog.

This breed fits in perfectly with a highly energetic family as they have a ton of energy to burn through the day. You can expect to give them plenty of exercise and play each day. They are also social dogs that love family time, so if you have children, they will have a great playmate.

Since they love to be included, you can take them to the park, beach, or anywhere that dogs are allowed, and have a fun time!

A Norwegian Buhund is considered a medium sized dog, with the males standing at 1 foot, 6 inches tall, and the females standing around 1 foot, 4 inches tall. The females weigh anywhere from 26 to 35 pounds if healthy and exercised, and the males weigh in around 31 to 40 pounds. The coat will be a shade of wheaten or black with the coat being less long on the head and legs.

They are a “spitz” type of dog, which means they are of the same lineage as the Jamthund and Icelandic Sheepdog. The name Norwegian Buhund comes from first, the name of those from Norway, and “bu” means, farm or home, and “hund” means dog. So if you put that together, you have a Norwegian Farm or Home Dog. One fun fact is that they are related to dogs that were used by Vikings in the western portion of Norway, on the coast.

Experts have even dug up graves of Vikings, and find bones from this breed of dogs buried with them, which, according to the Vikings, their dogs would care for them on the Other Side, after death. Documentation has been shown that these dogs often traveled with Vikings on journeys all over the place, even by sea.

Besides common dog health issues, this breed is mostly prone to hip dysplasia, as well as eye conditions, that are hereditary. As far as grooming, they are fairly easy to take care of, needing weekly brushing, and some extra brushing during the time their coat sheds, which is twice per year.

You can expect a happy, energetic, loving dog that is smart and always ready for an adventure! They love to be included in the family and partake in family events. Their intelligence is what puts them over and above most other dog breeds!

Main Highlights
  • This breed’s ancestors were a dear friend of the Vikings, generally living in the western portion of Norway. They were buried with their Viking owners, to care for them after they have passed over.
  • This medium sized dog is always ready to make its family happy and play with them. They require a lot of exercise each day, and love to play with kids!
  • You can find this dog in two colors; wheaten, which is a white and tan color, or black, with or without some white patches.
  • The name of the dog comes from its origin and “bu” meaning house or farm, and “hund” meaning dog. This matches them perfectly as they were bred to do work on the farm and around the homestead.
  • The breed is only genetically prone to health issues with the eyes and hip dysplasia. Otherwise, you will only see other common health problems.
  • Your dog will shed twice a year and need extra brushing. Otherwise, weekly brushing is fine so that the hair does not get matted, or debris does not get stuck in the fur.
  • They have a curled tail in the back, and their prickly ears are in the shape of a wedge. You will notice that they have a black nose and broad chest.
Breed History

Originally hailing from Norway, the Norwegian Buhund is a type of “spitz” dog that came from dogs who were used by Vikings on the coast of Norway. They traveled with the dogs and were even buried with them, because the Vikings believed that the dogs would look after them in the afterlife.

The dogs were used for herding livestock like cows and sheep, and they guarded the property for their owner.

The first show dedicated to this breed happened in 1920 in Jaeren, Norway, and was held by a fan of the dogs, John Saeland. He, along with a man named Toralf Raanaas, were the ones who sought out the best of the breed, as far as certain abilities. Raanaas was the first President of the Norsk Buhund Club, which started in 1939. The first Norwegian Buhund to be registered with the Club was named Flink.

The Norwegian Buhund Club of America was founded in 1983 and was vital in the breed being accepted by the American Kennel Club, which happened in 2009. Since then, the Club has been given licensing to hold AKC shows for the breed.

A hard worker, this dog has a ton of energy for the job, and has come a long way from the farm. They now have many jobs, including service dog, police dog, and loving family companion. You can see them in dog trials, competing for obedience and agility, too!

Size

Your Norwegian Buhund is a medium sized dog that can actually be considered “small”. The males will grow up to be 1 foot, 6 inches tall usually and weigh between 31 and 40 pounds if healthy and exercised. The females, like with most dog breeds, will stand 1 foot, 4 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 26 to 35 pounds.

Personality and Character

Happy is one word that sums up this dog breed! They are always happy to do a job around the farm, or for you and the family. They can learn just about anything and are eager to show off their capabilities. Do you want them to fetch the paper?

Train them, and see them excel at it! Their energy level can be through the roof, so you need to make sure they are exercised, both mentally and physically. They are so smart, that they need to keep learning so that they do not get bored and begin destroying your home, or becoming too stubborn.

Known to form strong bonds with those they love, they will want all of your love, cuddles, kisses and attention that they can get! Also, due to this, they will be great guard dogs and may need to be watched around strangers. You can assure they will alert you if there is something they hear or see that is not normal.

If you enjoy jogging, running or any sports, this breed would love to tag along with you to play or run. They are a great breed to take hiking or for a bike ride, because they are hard to wear down sometimes, when it comes to their energy level.

Health and Potential Problems

Overall healthy, you should be aware of two issues that are genetically predisposed to occur in this breed; eye problems and hip dysplasia. Otherwise, you can expect a healthy dog for the most part, unless a common illness occurs.

  • Cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in blurry vision. Surgery is an option, but left untreated, the dog will go blind because cataracts thicken in size. In this case, genetics is the cause of this problem, whereas it can also be caused by injury or old age.
  • Hip Dysplasia can be hereditary, like for this breed, but sometimes it occurs during injury or poor diet. This happens when the hip bone and thigh bone do not fit together in the correct fashion, which causes your dog to incur pain in that area.
  • Lyme Disease can occur after a bite from a tick that has bacteria that enters the dog’s body. This will spread, causing inflammation at the site, and if left untreated will affect the kidneys.
  • Parvo Virus is contagious and can be either intestinal or cardiac. With the cardiac version, the heart muscles are affected, whereas with the intestinal form, you will see diarrhea, vomiting and more. If your dog is not vaccinated, they can die from this.
  • Ear infections are very common for dogs and occur when there are allergies, yeast, hair growth or mites are growing. You should check your dog’s ears weekly for anything that is not normal. Cleaning your dog’s ears is simple and requires a cotton swab and some ear cleaner. Odors and redness will be a sure sign.
  • Food allergies occur when your dog’s food is not reacting correctly with the dog. They can experience vomiting, rash, and diarrhea. Speak to your vet about a new diet for them, which may include having to make your own dog’s food by hand. Special diet kibble exists for dogs with allergies, as well.
  • Separation Anxiety can plague even the best of dogs. This breed loves having human interaction, and without it, can become anxious and destroy your home, or urinate on the floor. Leaving them alone all day is not healthy for them. They require much attention from their owners.
  • Seizures can occur when a dog has experienced some sort of trauma, or has epilepsy. Issues with organs or the brain will cause seizures, as well as blood infections. There is no cure for this condition, though there are medications your vet can prescribe. If your dog is prone to seizures, do not let them go swimming, as they can drown if a seizure occurred.
  • Urinary Tract Stones can be a painful experience for you, let alone your dog. They are just like kidney stones, needing immediate attention by a vet. If your dog cannot pass them on its own, they may need to be blasted and broken down. The stones damaged the lining in the urinary tract, and surgery may be required. Some symptoms include not having to urinate, urinating a lot, possible vomiting, and lethargy.
Care Features

The Norwegian Buhund is a smart, energetic dog that requires a lot of exercise! You can hardly wear them down! They love going for jogs, hiking, biking, or any physical activity. They are the perfect exercise partner! This is just one reason why they are great for agility trials, as well as obedience, because they are easy to train and always ready to please their owner!

When they do tire out, they love to curl up with their loved ones and get a good cuddle, and maybe some kisses. They love to have attention, and are always happy. Since they do form such a great bond with their loved ones, they will be on alert for strangers or strange activity. This guard dog will be somewhat aloof with strangers and could potentially bite them if they feel the need.

Because they are so smart and active, if you leave them to their own devices, they can destroy things or become stubborn. You must keep them active and be a good trainer, while giving them lots of attention. This is not a breed that likes to be left alone all day, as they need to have people around to thrive.

Feeding Schedule

You can speak to your vet on an appropriate feeding schedule to be sure, but you can feed your dog 1 to 1.5 cups of dry kibble each day, split into two meals. While they are active and need proper nutrition, you should not leave kibble out for them to graze all day. This can cause weight gain, even if they are very active. Always leave fresh water for them, as they need to stay hydrated.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Because the Norwegian Buhund came from harsh climates in Norway, you can expect your dog to have a thick, yet hard top coat that guards against harsh weather. The undercoat will be very dense and soft.

The breed comes in two colors; black with some white markings that are usually on the chest, and wheaten, which is some white and tan shades. Some of them will have black tips at the end of the fur.

Grooming your dog is very easy to do, as they only need to be brushed once per week, with extra brushing when they shed twice per year. You will see a big shedding in the spring time, and a smaller second shedding during the autumn time.

You can brush their teeth a few times a week, or every day, to prevent disease and bacteria. If they do not naturally wear their nails down, they can be trimmed every six weeks, or as needed. You can bathe your dog as needed.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Since this is such a happy dog breed, you can believe that they will get along with children and other pets. They love to play with kids, getting exercise in, outside running or playing games. They love to be part of the team, or pack, with the family, and included in all family activities. Taking them to a park or beach will make their day!

You can expect them to get along with other animals, especially if they are raised with them in the home. They are playful and loving, so if your other animals are accepting, there should not be any problem. As long as they get the attention from people, they are happy. They get along great at dog parks, and while there, can learn tricks and train for agility, using the obstacles at the park.

In conclusion, you can expect a happy, healthy dog that loves its family and will guard you and the home. They love to cuddle or play with the kids, and they can do many jobs that are important to people.

Being short does not stop them from achieving great things like competing in dog trials. This long-standing breed has been around this long for a reason, because they are easy to fall in love with!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Meredith Jonas

    These dogs learn very quickly, so the owners should use this advantage to train them to establish reliable manners. Even though they are unlikely to bite or snap unless provoked, if not trained well, they will believe they are alpha over their humans (as a result of lack of leadership)

    • John Walton

      This is one of the dog breeds that critically requires early training and socialization because failing to do so might lead to improper use of physical energy and wrong interpretation of independence.

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