The Norwegian Buhund Protects Home, Hearing, and Herd - dummies

The Norwegian Buhund Protects Home, Hearing, and Herd

By Sarah Densmore

The Norwegian Buhund is a multi-tasker second to none. This herding dog breed’s penchant for helpful, hard work began on the sheep farms of Norway centuries ago. Today, the Buhund, is still a faithful homesteader, but he also works as a hearing assistance dog and police aide.

Serious work is only one aspect of this diverse breed. The dog successfully competes in obedience and agility competitions as well. During the Buhund’s recent introduction as a new herding breed at the 2010 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, it secured honors for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, and Award of Merit.

Viking origins of the Norwegian Buhund

Excavations of Viking graves dating back to 900 A.D. revealed bones from the ancestral equivalent to the modern Norwegian Buhund. They were buried alongside their Viking masters. These dogs were faithful Viking companions. They herded livestock, chased away animal predators, and guarded the home against intruders. The dogs even accompanied the Norse warriors on their sea explorations. The Vikings believed if they buried the dogs with them, the dogs would continue to help them in the afterlife.

Until the early 1900s, Buhunds were confined to herding and protecting homesteads on the western coast of Norway. However, the breed’s versatility became more apparent when Norway held the first Buhund show in 1920. In 1939 the Norse Buhund Club was formed.

The Norwegian Buhund has been slow to make its way to North America, but in 2009 the breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club’s herding group.

The Buhund’s build

The Buhund is a medium-sized dog with a distinctly curled tail and pointed ears. Its dense, short coat can range in color from cream to orange. Black markings on its face are common.

Full-grown males reach 17 to 18.5 inches tall. Height for adult females is 16 to 17.5 inches. Males weigh 31 to 40 pounds; females weigh 26 to 30 pounds.

A homebody breed of dog

The etymology of Buhund indicates the type of environment that best suits these dogs. Buhund is a combination of “bu,” the Norwegian word for homestead and “hund,” which means dog. They are bred to work around the house and its land, so they need a home with a large yard that allows for plenty of exercise.

Buhund’s are very intelligent and train easily. They are eager to be given an assignment and carry out the task. Train them well and keep them busy.

Give Buhunds a variety of tasks to perform, or a mix of work and play, such as doing tricks or catching a Frisbee. They’re intelligent animals that bore easily. If you don’t give them something to do, they’ll find ways to amuse themselves, and those amusements may not be to your liking.

Interestingly, the dogs’ protective instincts don’t make them leery of people. They’re friendly and cheerful with people they know. They’re also gentle with children. However they will bark at strangers and their herding instinct can cause them to chase other animals unless they’re trained not to.

Few health problems among Buhunds

Norwegian Buhunds have a history of good health and fairly long life. The two conditions common to the breed are cataracts and hip dysplasia. The breed’s average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Maintain a consistent feeding program with your Buhund. They’re known for trying to convince their owners that they need food when they don’t. If you give in, you could contribute to your Buhund’s unhealthy weight gain.

Finding a Bruhund breeder

Norwegian Buhunds are hard to find outside of Norway, but it’s not impossible. The American Kennel Club can provide you with breeder referral contacts.