The Norwegian Buhund, also known as the Norwegian Sheepdog, Norsk Buhund or Nordiske Sitz-hunde, is an all-purpose farming, herding and watch dog. It is a typical Spitz-type dog, with upright pricked ears and a sharply curled tail. Its ancestors date back to about 900 AD, when the skeletons of six dogs closely resembling Buhunds were found in a Viking grave at the Gokstad excavation in Norway. According to historical reports, when Vikings died, their most treasured possessions were buried with them, to provide care and comfort in the afterlife. Dogs were among the most cherished of all Viking possessions. The Vikings travelled with their Buhunds on all of their journeys, both by land and by sea. The refined, beautiful Buhunds we know today developed in the damp coastlands of western Norway, where they primarily were used to herd sheep and guard farms. This breed’s name comes from the Norwegian word “bu,” which means farm, shed, booth, stall or homestead, referring to the crude huts that Norwegian shepherds lived in while tending their flocks during the warm summer months.
Buhunds were virtually unknown outside of Norway until the 1920s, when a renowned Buhund enthusiast and Norway’s state counsel, John Saeland, began promoting the breed. He organized the Norsk Buhund Club (Norsk Buhundklubb) in the mid-1930s. Toralf Raanaas was the first President of that Club. Saeland and Raanaas were instrumental in development of the Buhund. They chose only the best animals in terms of breed type and working ability to use in their selective breeding programs. Buhunds arrived in England shortly after the end of World War II, and were formally recognized by the British dog registry in 1968. It has also been extorted to the United States, France, Australia and other countries. Today, Buhunds are excellent obedience and agility competitors. They also are actively used as service dogs and in police work. These are high-energy animals that enjoy having a job to do. They are easy to train and have an innate desire to please. The Norwegian Buhund was accepted into the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class in January, 2007. The breed became eligible for competition in all AKC events, as a member of the Herding Group, in 2009.
The Norwegian Buhund is a fairly healthy dog. Its average life span is 12 to 15 years. This breed may be predisposed to developing hip dysplasia and cataracts.