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Norwegian Buhund


The Norwegian Buhund, also known as the Norsk Buhund, the Norwegian Sheepdog, the Nordiske Sitz-hunde or simply the Buhund, is one of a number of dogs loosely referred to as being of the "spitz type." "Spitz" refers generally to so-called "Northern" or "Nordic" dog breeds that have conformational characteristics resembling those of wolves. The Norwegian Buhund is an ancient breed, thought to be the main ancestor of the Icelandic Sheepdog. It gets its name from the Norwegian word bu, which means "shed," "booth," "stall," "homestead" or "mountain hut." This refers to the crude shelters that were (and still are) inhabited by Norwegian sheepherders and their dogs while they tended their flocks during the warm summer grazing months. In addition to being a keen working dog, the Buhund is a vigilant watchdog and makes a wonderful companion for active families. The Norwegian Buhund was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the Herding Group in 2009. It is slowly but steadily gaining recognition and popularity world-wide.

History & Health


The Norwegian Buhund is an ancient breed, first recorded in Norway during the 800s, presumably after having traveled from the North to Scandinavia with the Vikings. This breed was developed first and foremost as a working farm dog, because farmers recognized that it had a particular aptitude for herding sheep and other livestock. It served as a guard dog to protect farm and family, and also was used to hunt wolf, bear, pheasant and other fowl along the rainy western coastlands of its native country. The Buhund remained strictly a working dog for centuries. It only became known to the outside world starting in the 1920s, through the efforts of John Saeland, one of the patrons of the modern breed. Mr. Saeland initiated a selective breeding program and, by the mid-1930s, had stabilized the Buhund's breed type sufficiently to form the first specialized breed club in Norway. The Norsk Buhundklubb was founded in 1939.
The first Norwegian Buhunds were exported to England in the mid-1940s, after the end of World War II. Others followed in the 1950s and 1960s. The English purebred dog registry officially recognized the Buhund in 1968. The breed accelerated in popularity during the 1970s, especially in the conformation show ring, where its lively presence and snappy attitude pleased dog fanciers from many backgrounds and disciplines. Today, the Buhund is well-established in France, Australia, the United States and many other countries, and it is highly popular in its native Norway.

Health Predispositions

The average life span of the Norwegian Buhund is 13 to 15 years, making it a fairly long-lived breed for its size. Breed health concerns may include hip dysplasia and cataracts. All-in-all, this is considered to be a healthy, hardy breed.

Temperament & Personality


Norwegian Buhunds are smart, sociable and highly loyal to their people, with an innate desire to please. They are gregarious, brave and fearless. Buhunds usually adapt effortlessly to a wide variety of new situations and are not known to be suspicious or wary around strangers. They are not high-strung, fussy or clingy dogs, nor are they overly boisterous or pushy. In fact, most Buhunds have an independent streak and tend to do just fine if they need to be left alone for a reasonable period of time. They get along well with children, dogs and other pets and more than anything love to be involved in family activities. Because of their intelligence and alertness, the Buhund makes an excellent watchdog. Today, it is also successful in police work, agility trials and competitive obedience, and also is being used as a valued service dog for the hearing-impaired.

Activity Requirements

Norwegian Buhunds are never off-duty. They are athletic, high-energy animals with a thirst for herding anything that moves and is alive. This sturdy breed thrives on physical and mental stimulation, especially when its activities are varied throughout the day. Buhunds have tremendous stamina They are competitive contestants in obedience, agility, utility, flyball, herding and other canine sports. They also enjoy taking long walks with their owners, romping in the park and playing with their canine and human pals. Buhunds certainly are not couch-potatoes, although they enjoy a warm, cozy nap just as much as the next person. After a full day of work or play, they usually are found curled up at their owner's feet, completely content.


Norwegian Buhunds are one of the smartest, most adaptable and most trainable of all spitz-type breeds. Because they are such quick learners, it is important to keep their bodies and minds occupied with a wide range of training tasks, obedience work, play time and other activities, so that they don't become bored. This breed is becoming increasingly successful in an array of competitive dog sports. Their innate sensibility, stability and strong work ethic have contributed to their success as police dogs and as valued service dogs, especially for people whose hearing is impaired. These trends will no doubt continue as the Norwegian Buhund gains more and more recognition and avid fans in the United States and throughout the world.

Behavioral Traits

Buhunds are not particularly yappy or vocal dogs. However, they will bark if they are startled or think that something is amiss in their environment. They make excellent watchdogs, because they are vigilant but not excessively noisy unless they have reason to bark. They are great with kids and other animals and are not known to be destructive of furniture or landscaping.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
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. As it is extremely intelligent by nature, consistent training is needed from early puppyhood. The Buhund has a lot of energy, strength and stamina. This self-appointed watch dog is also content lying at your feet at the end of the day. Broken teeth and honorable scars incurred in the line of herding duty are acceptable.

Size, Weight, Proportion, Substance
Size - Height at the highest point of the shoulder blade in dogs, 17 to 18 ½ inches; in bitches, 16 to 17 ½ inches. Disqualifying faults: more than a half inch under, or one inch over the height at the highest point of the shoulder blade. Weight - For dogs 31 to 40 pounds; for bitches, 26-35 pounds. Proportion - Square in profile. The height, measured vertically from the ground to the highest point of the shoulder blade, equals the length, measured horizontally from the prosternum to the rear projection of the upper thigh. Substance - Substance and bone is in proportion to the overall dog.

The size of the head should be in proportion to the body and not too heavy. The skull is wedge-shaped, almost flat, and parallel with the bridge of the nose. The muzzle is about the same length as the skull, with a stop that is well defined but not too pronounced. The nasal bridge is straight and well filled out under the eyes. The lips should be black and tightly closed. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite, with complete dentition. Disqualifying fault: overshot or undershot mouth. Eyes - Oval shaped, color as dark as possible, black eye rims. Ears - Medium sized, prick ears with pointed tips, carried strongly erect yet very mobile. When relaxed or showing affection the ears go back, and the dog should not be penalized for doing this during the judge's examination. Nose - Black.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck - Of medium length, is well set on, with no loose skin on the throat. Topline - The back is level; croup with as little slope as possible. Body - Chest deep, ribs well-sprung; tail set high, tightly curled and carried over the center line of the back.

Shoulders moderately sloping, elbows well set, turned neither in nor out; legs substantial but not coarse in bone, legs seen from the front appear straight and parallel; pastern seen from the side moderately sloping; feet oval in shape with tightly closed toes, feet turned neither in nor out.

Moderate angulation at stifle and hock, upper thigh powerful, well muscled; lower thigh well muscled, seen from behind legs are straight and strong, feet same as above.

Outer coat is thick and hard, but rather smooth lying. The under coat is soft and dense. The coat on the head and front of the legs is comparatively short. The coat on the neck, chest and back of thighs is longer.

Wheaten - Any shade from pale cream to bright orange, with or without dark tipped hairs; as little white as possible; black mask acceptable. Black - Preferably without too much bronzing; with as little white as possible. Areas where white is permissible: a narrow white ring around the neck, a narrow blaze on the face, a small patch of white hairs on the chest, white feet and tip of the tail.

The action is free and effortless. The topline remains level while moving. Sound movement is essential for working ability.

Self confident, alert, lively, and very affectionate with people.

The foregoing description is that of the ideal Norwegian Buhund. Any deviation from the above described dog is to be penalized to the extent of the deviation.

Disqualifying Faults
More than a half inch under, or one inch over the height at the highest point of the shoulder blade.
Overshot or undershot mouth.

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Sources: American Kennel Club


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