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Norwegian Buhund

Quick facts

Norwegian Buhund AKC Group: Herding
Height: Male: 17 - 18.5 inches, Female: 16 - 17.5 inches
Weight: Male: 31 - 40 pounds, Female: 26 - 35 pounds
Colors: Wheaten or black
AKC recognized in: 2007

The Norwegian Buhund has a long and fascinating history dating back to the time of the Vikings. Also known as the Norwegian Sheepdog, this all-purpose farm dog was skilled at several tasks, from herding livestock and guarding property to hunting and running off predators such as wolves and bears.

This dog breed often traveled with the Vikings on their journeys, both by land and by sea. The excavation of a Viking grave dating back to the 10th century turned up the skeletons of 6 dogs of various sizes. These were thought to be the forebears of today's Buhund. According to historical records, when a Viking died, their most cherished possessions were buried with them, to provide comfort and solace in the afterlife. Their dogs were among the most cherished of all Viking possessions and were often buried with them.

Over the years, the Norwegian Buhund escaped the bounds of its herding past and starting being trained as a hearing dog. It was also trained for certain types of police work as well as participating in agility and obedience trials.

These dogs were first exhibited at dog shows in Norway in the 1920s, and a breed club was established in the country in 1939. They were first imported to the United States in the 1980s.

Physically, Norwegian Buhunds are spitz dogs with prick ears, thick coat and a tail that curls tightly over its back. They are compact, sturdy, alert and energetic. Intelligent and easy to train, this dog makes a great companion for an active family or for someone who is committed to providing it with enough physical activity to expend its excess energy.


Norwegian Buhund Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance five paws
Ease of Training three paws
Energy level four paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children three paws
Friendliness: Other Animals three paws
Friendliness: Other Pets three paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance two paws
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability five paws

The Norwegian Buhund is an alert and friendly chatterbox. They communicate with other people through chortles, trills, yips, yodels and barks. Lively and self-confident, these dogs love patrolling the yard in large circles, reminiscent of their past as herding dogs.

They love children and are very affectionate and gentle with them. They are friendly dogs and usually get along well not just with other people but with other animals as well.

As with many other herding breeds, the Buhund is very intelligent and easy to train. However, they do need consistent training in order keep them out of trouble. They are alert and will bark to warn you of any stranger approaching, which makes them good watchdogs.

Their high activity levels mean these dogs require plenty of daily exercise to keep them from barking unnecessarily or becoming destructive in an attempt to entertain themselves.

Although they love being the center of attraction, these dogs are also quite independent and with sufficient training will stay alone while the family is away, without making too much noise or destroying anything, provided that they have sufficient toys to play with and sufficient space to run around and play.

Intelligent and highly trainable, the Norwegian Buhund responds well to positive reinforcement. Lots of praise, plenty of play and regular food rewards will pay rich rewards. However, they do best with training sessions that are short and fun. These dogs lose their interest and get bored with longer routines that stay the same. Long walks and hikes interspersed with opportunities to play catch or chase a flying disc or a stick will keep them entertained for hours.

As long as they get at least one or two 20 to 30 minute walk or playtime every day, the Buhund will be satisfied to then share the couch with you when you relax in the evening. He has plenty of stamina though, and may be up for even more exercise if you are. Without this daily exercise, you can give up all hopes of being able to settle down comfortably at the end of the day.

A people loving dog, Norwegian Buhunds need to live inside the house with the family. Relegating a Buhund to the backyard with little or no human companionship can make your pet miserable.

The Buhund's alert nature makes him an excellent watchdog, but it also makes him highly vocal. His loud bark will let not only you but also all your neighbors know that every time a leaf falls in your garden or a car passes by your house. Teaching him to moderate his voice right at the outset will save you and your neighbors a lot of grief.

Fast and agile, this breed usually grabs top spot at several dog sports such as agility, herding, and rally. Buhunds also have the potential to be excellent therapy dogs, visiting facilities such as nursing homes and children's hospitals.


The average lifespan of the Norwegian Buhund is 12 to 15 years.

While the Norwegian Buhund is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Cataracts - A cloudiness in the lens of the eye, with varying degrees of opacity. Symptoms vary depending on the degree of opacity.


The Norwegian Buhund require brushing once a week to remove dead hair and keep its double coat clean. During the spring and fall shedding seasons, this will have to be increased to a daily brushing.

Having such a high energy level, the Norwegian Buhund requires a lot of exercise. Give her at least 30 minutes a day of vigorous activity. They are very good in dog sports like agility training and ball fetching. They also are tireless when playing with their children. Due to their heavy coats, exercise during the summer months should be restricted to early morning or late evening.

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