Norwegian Buhunden

It’s easy to picture this dog standing in the prow of a Viking longboat, waiting to be one of the first to debark in the New World. The Norwegian Buhund has long been a partner to people, not only traveling with the Vikings but also serving as a multipurpose farm dog in his homeland of Norway. When you see him staring up at the sky, it’s easy to remember that one of his jobs was to ward off raptors, birds of prey that might carry off lambs or poultry.

Like all spitz breeds, he is characterized by prick ears, a foxy face, a thick, off-standing coat and a tail that curls tightly over his back. He is a medium-size dog, weighing 26 to 40 pounds. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering bringing a Buhund into your home.

Is the Norwegian Buhund the Right Dog for You?

The compact but sturdy Buhund is an alert and energetic chatterbox, communicating with his people through yips, chortles, barks, trills and yodels. Confident and lively, he will alert you to anyone approaching the home and patrol the yard in big circles, reminiscent of his past as a herding dog.

The Buhund is active and needs plenty of daily exercise to keep him from becoming destructive or noisy in an attempt to entertain himself. He enjoys being the center of attention, but is independent enough that he can be alone during the day while his family is at work or school.

This intelligent and highly trainable dog responds well to positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise and food rewards. Keep training sessions short and fun so he doesn’t get bored. For exercise, take him on long walks or spend time throwing a ball or flying disc for him to chase. He performs well in dog sports such as agility, obedience and rally, and some have been trained as assistance dogs.

Brush his double coat weekly to keep it clean and remove dead hair. During spring and fall shedding seasons, daily brushing will help to keep excess hair under control. In addition, trim his nails as needed, brush his teeth, and keep the ears clean to prevent infections.

Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Buhund needs to live in the house. It’s an unhappy Buhund who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Norwegian Buhund Puppy

  1. To find breeder recommendations, visit the website of the Norwegian Buhund Club of America. Choose a breeder who is committed to following the club Code of Ethics, which prohibits the sale of puppies to pet stores or wholesalers. Be aware that the Buhund is a rare breed. You may have to wait months or even a year or two before a puppy is available.
  2. Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Buhunden aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, a Buhund can live 13 or more years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.
  3. Puppy or adult, take your Buhund to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
  4. Don’t ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You’re more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
  5. Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Health Issues Common to Norwegian Buhunden

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

That said, the Buhund is a pretty healthy breed. Hip dysplasia and cataracts are the main health concerns. Ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy’s parents have hip scores of Excellent, Good or Fair from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or a PennHIP score and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia
Low $1,500-$6,000
Cataracts Low $1,000-$5,000
Estimates based on claims paid by Embrace Pet Insurance


Pet Insurance for Norwegian Buhunden

Pet insurance for Norwegian Buhunden costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Norwegian Buhunden are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Norwegian Buhunden are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Norwegian Buhund is when he’s a healthy puppy. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.