The Norwegian Buhund is an ancient breed with a confident, alert temperament. These fun-loving, energetic dogs have excelled as hunters and herders—and their friendly, easygoing natures have made them popular family dogs.
Norwegian Buhund History
As its name suggests, the Norwegian Buhund originated in Norway. Historical documents show that these dogs traveled on Viking ships, and dogs believed to be Norwegian Buhunds turned up in Viking graves alongside their masters. Experts believe the breed is related to other Northern spitz breeds, including the Swedish Vallhund and Norwegian Elkhound.
On land, Norwegian Buhunds were all-purpose farm dogs. The breed name—‘bu' means homestead or farm, and 'hund' means hound—honors their origins. They functioned as herders, livestock guardians, and four-legged farmhands that worked alongside their owners all day and rested by their sides at night.
Norwegian Buhund Traits
The Norwegian Buhund is a medium-sized dog with a square build, well-muscled hindquarters, and an effortless gait.
Coat and Coloring
These double-coated dogs have soft, dense undercoats and thick, hard outercoats. Norwegian Buhunds have longer hair around their neck, chest, and back of their thighs.
The Norwegian Buhund comes in two colors: wheaten and black. Wheaten dogs can range from pale cream to bright orange with as little white as possible. They might have dark-tipped hairs and a black mask. Black dogs should have limited bronzing with as little white as possible. Areas of white are allowed in a narrow ring around the neck, narrow blaze on the face, and small patches of white hairs on the chest, feet, and tip of the tail.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Like other northern herding breeds, the Norwegian Buhund has a square build. It also has a wedge-shaped head; medium-sized, prick ears; dark, oval-shaped eyes; and a tightly curled tail.
Norwegian Buhund Temperament
The Norwegian Buhund is a self-confident and alert breed. These dogs often assume the role of self-appointed watchdogs. They take in their surroundings and alert their owners (usually by barking) if something is amiss. These instincts make them excellent watchdogs—but potentially problematic apartment dogs.
Though the breed is alert, Norwegian Buhunds aren't aggressive and feel comfortable living with families and other animals. But, due to their herding instincts, they might attempt to herd children and pets.
Bred as a working dog, the Norwegian Buhund has strength and stamina to spare. They like having a job to do and enjoy taking part in outdoor activities. Though they're hard workers, these dogs are calm and affectionate and love spending time with their families.
Norwegian Buhund Care
Feed the Norwegian Buhund a high-quality dog food that's appropriate for their age and activity level. Portion out their food in a measuring cup to avoid overfeeding. And limit treats to no more than 10% of their daily calories to keep them from becoming overweight.
The Norwegian Buhund requires minimal grooming aside from an occasional bath and brushing. These dogs do "blow" their coats during spring and fall. Daily brushing during these shedding periods can help remove dead hair and keep their coats looking their best.
In addition to regular ear cleaning and nail trims, start a dental care routine. At-home teeth brushing and professional cleanings are part of a good dental hygiene program.
The Norwegian Buhund is an active breed that likes to work. They required daily, vigorous exercise. Without an outlet for their energy, they may become bored, destructive, and difficult to handle.
Hiking, trail running, swimming, and romps at the dog park are ideal ways to exercise a Norwegian Buhund. They also enjoy dog sports such as rally, agility, flyball, and competitive obedience. And puzzle toys and interactive games offer both physical and mental stimulation.
Norwegian Buhunds may be easier to train than other spitz-type dogs, but they still have an independent nature. Consistent training is required starting when they are puppies.
Because they have stubborn streaks, it can be hard to maintain a Norwegian Buhund's attention. Skip repetitive training sessions and focus on fun, fast-paced, interactive activities. Use positive reinforcement and reward-based training instead of harsh commands. The Norwegian Buhund is a food-motivated breed, so have treats on hand to keep these dogs engaged during sessions.
Although the Norwegian Buhund is an outgoing, confident breed, regular socialization helps them remain comfortable around unfamiliar people and pets.
Norwegian Buhund Genetic Health Conditions
Hereditary Ataxia (Discovered in the Norwegian Buhund)
Hereditary ataxia is a disorder of the nervous system leading to uncoordinated movement and head tremors.
Knowing if your Norwegian Buhund is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.