Classified as a Northern breed, the Norwegian Buhund was primarily bred as a versatile working dog, capable of herding livestock, guarding property and protecting its master from frightful predators like bears and wolves. The breed is referenced in many ancient records, having accompanied the Vikings in its homeland of Norway. The recent excavation of a 10th century Viking grave uncovered the skeletons of six dogs, believed to be the early forebears of the Buhund breed. Closely related to the Icelandic Sheepdog, the Norwegian Buhund was imported to the United States in the 1980s and was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 2009.
A hardy Nordic herding breed - perhaps one of the first - the Buhund is characterised by a medium-sized, proportionate build, dark, ovular eyes, and a weather-proof double coat in colour variations of black, wheaten, biscuit, red-yellow and wolf-sable. The breed possesses sharp senses and is vigilant to change and threat, making it an efficient guard and watch dog. Its intelligence and energy demands regular enrichment, and the breed's natural herding instinct requires management from an early age.
Though inclined by its in-bred, herding instincts, the Buhund is a highly trainable breed, making it a suitable choice for families or the dedicated sole owner as long as the dog's demands are understood and fulfilled. Independent by nature, yet obedient to instruction and attentive to its master, the Norwegian Buhund is a versatile breed, equally capable of protecting its family from potential danger and exercising gentle sociability within any setting. The weight of a healthy Buhund is 12-18 kg, depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when shown appropriate care.
Typically healthy, resilient and long-lived, the Norwegian Buhund is not susceptible to any known hereditary or genetic diseases. As with any breed, afflictions like hip dysplasia and optical disorders such as retinal atrophy and cataracts have been documented in the Buhund, and care should always be observed to recognise the early symptoms.