Norwegian Buhund

Temperament: Confident, Smart, Perceptive

  • Height: 17-18.5 inches (male), 16-17.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 31-40 pounds (male), 26-35 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Herding Group 

The densely coated Norwegian Buhund, a Nordic spitz-type closely associated with the Vikings, is a medium-sized cold-weather worker adept at herding and guarding. As family dogs, Buhunds are smart, affectionate, and steadfastly devoted.


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 puppy-hood. The Buhund has a lot of energy, strength and stamina. This self-appointed watchdog 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.

About the Norwegian Buhund

The Buhund, a prototypical spitz, provides a good opportunity to explain the term. Spitz are cold-weather breeds characterised by a dense coat, a tail curved tightly over the back, a wedge-shaped head, and erect, pointed ears (“spitz” means “pointed” in ancient German). They can be pint-sized like Pomeranian’s, mighty like Malamutes, or mid-sized like the lithe but sturdy Buhund. Males can stand 18.5 inches high and weight up to 40 pounds. Coat colours are wheaten or black.

NUTRITION The Norwegian Buhund should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING Compared to other breeds, Norwegian Buhunds do not need extensive grooming. They are naturally clean and basically odorless dogs, even when wet. The Buhund has a double coat: an outer coat that is thick, rich, hard, and smooth lying, and a soft, dense, and woolly undercoat. The coat sheds most foreign substances with ease, and dries itself after a bath. Buhunds do need to be brushed two to three times a week, and more often during the shedding season—like other double-coated dogs, Buhunds blow their undercoats once or twice a year. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly.

EXERCISE Buhunds have been bred to work and herd for hours at a time. This can result in very energetic dogs who need vigorous exercise (that allows them to run fast) twice a day for optimum physical and mental health. These dogs love to run with a bicycle, retrieve balls, or go for long, all-day hikes. The breed can also exercise mind and body by participating in obedience, tracking, agility, and other activities that dog and owner can enjoy together.

TRAINING Compared to other Spitz and Northern breeds, Norwegian Buhunds are easier to train, but they still retain the independent characteristics of such breeds. Buhunds do have a desire to please, but their independence is often stronger, which makes it challenging to maintain their focus and convince them to continue training. Fortunately most Buhunds are highly food-motivated, therefore positive-training techniques such as clicker training work well. At the same time, most Buhunds are extremely sensitive to their environment, which makes them challenging in the dog-show ring.

HEALTH In general, Norwegian Buhunds tend to be healthy and hardy. Responsible breeders screen their breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and eye disease. Potential puppy buyers are always advised to confirm the health screening of the sire and dam.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

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