Norwegian Buhund

Also known as the Norsk Buhund or the Nordiske Sitz-hunde, this ancient breed has been used primarily as a sheep-herder, hut has also been co-opted for general farm work.

For over 2,000 years dogs fitting the general description of an under middle-sized spitz breed have helped farmers eke out a living on the barren slopes and narrow pastures of the Scandinavian countryside. Lithe and elegant, yet sturdy and well boned, the Buhund was primarily used as a sheepdog, but its innate sense of territory ensured a dual purpose role as a farmyard watchdog as well. The beginning of this century saw the Buhund make its first appearance in the show ring in Norway.


The Icelandic Sagas tell of the ancestor of the Iceland Dog arriving from Norway in the ninth century AD. That ancestor was the Norwegian Buhund and those early writings give us a record of just how ancient this breed must be.

Despite this long history, the Buhund remained solely a shepherd’s working dog, unknown in the show-ring or to the outside world, until the 1920s. It was then that its impressive spitz body attracted the attention of dog-breeders. The patron of the breed, who first set up a serious breeding programme, was John Saeland. In 1936 he had stabilized the type sufficiently to be able to form the first Buhund breed club.

The breed was brought to England just after the ending of World War II, in 1946 or 1947. More examples arrived there in the 1950s and 1960s and it was first given official recognition in 1968. In the show-ring it really took off in the 1970s, having the right kind of lively presence’ that suited the competitive world of the dog show.


In personality the Norwegian Buhund is fearless, loyal, intelligent, energetic and full of life. Its urge to herd is deeply ingrained and, if starved of sheep, it will round up anything that may be available, including goats, turkeys, geese, ducks and even chickens in a farmyard.

Full of character and very intelligent, the Buhund has been described as the ideal family pet. Very affectionate, it loves human company but requires firm handling. “No” must mean “no.” Excellent Obedience and Agility dogs, Buhunds have demonstrated abilities in fields as diverse as working with the British Royal Air Force, police dog training and as hearing dogs for the deaf.


Standing about 18 inches/45 cm, with bitches somewhat smaller, the Norwegian Buhund has a wedge-shaped, foxy head and pricked ears. The close lying coat, consisting of a thick undercoat with longer topcoat, a thick ruff and bushy tail, comes in shades of cream to gold, with or without black tips, and black with or without symmetrical white markings on the head, chest, neck and feet. In colour it varies from solid cream to light brown, to red and to black, but it is the wheaten shades that are most strongly favoured. Well-balanced and elegant, the Buhund moves with a light, active gait and is particularly agile, even at full speed.


The Norwegian Buhund is one of a large number of breeds which suffer from cataracts, although this appears to have little effect on the dogs. Notwithstanding this, the breed is extremely healthy and requires surprisingly little exercise in order to maintain a high level of fitness, although long walks and rambles are undertaken with relish.

Special Care and Training

A well-trained Norwegian Buhund is a delight to own. Easily groomed, they shed their coats once a year. Like a cat in their cleanliness, they do not have a “doggy” smell, even when wet.


The Norwegian Buhund adapts equally well to bungalow or mansion, town or country. However, everyday access to a garden, park or countryside is essential, as is companionship, preferably human, for the greater part of any day. An ideally sized, intelligent, active and homely dog, devoted to its family, particularly children, the Buhund is also an excellent watchdog. Whether working in its native country, as highly trained companions for the disabled, as Obedience and Agility dogs, show dogs, or quite simply as a family pet, the Buhund demonstrates exceptional loyalty and affection which is returned in full measure by its doting owners.

Gallery of Norwegian Buhund