Norwegian Buhund: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

norwegian buhund dog

By Anonymous - Own work, Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The Norwegian Buhund is a hardy, medium-sized herding breed from Norway with upright pointed ears, a thick double coat, and a classic spitz tail that curls over its back. Also called Northern breeds, spitz dogs are indigenous to mostly cold and snowy regions. Norwegian Buhunds can either have black or wheaten fur, which can be several different tan hues.

These dogs are known for having energetic, fun-loving personalities that can pair with a variety of families and lifestyles. Norwegian Buhunds do especially well with active owners that love to take their dog along for new adventures together.

Breed Overview

Group: Herding

Height: 17 to 18.5 inches (males); 16 to 17.5 inches (females)

Weight: 31 to 40 pounds (males); 26 to 35 pounds (females)

Coat: Double coat with a thick, hard, and smooth-lying outercoat and a soft, dense undercoat

Coat Color: Wheaten (ranges from pale cream to orange) or black

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Intelligent, confident, friendly, affectionate, courageous

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Norway

Characteristics of the Norwegian Buhund

Norwegian Buhunds have gentle, cheery, and very affectionate personalities. These dogs want to be with their people, and they thrive when provided with ample daily exercise, mental stimulation, and attention. Norwegian Buhunds are loving and devoted to their families, including respectful children and other pets when raised together.

Breed fanciers report that these dogs are fun and full of character. They tend to “sound the alarm” by barking if they hear or sense anything strange afoot, making them good watchdogs but not ideal for apartments. For owners that are prepared to keep up with this breed's energy level, training needs, and daily exercise requirements, the Norwegian Buhund can be an exceptionally loving and well-mannered companion.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Norwegian Buhund

The Norwegian Buhund is an ancient breed that has been around since before the Vikings, and it’s likely that this breed was even kept by Vikings. According to the Norwegian Buhund Club of America, during the Gokstad Viking ship excavation in Norway, skeletons from six dogs resembling modern-day Norwegian Buhunds were discovered.

Norwegian Buhunds were used as versatile farm dogs, herding livestock and guarding their families, flocks, and homes. In fact, the name Buhund translates to “farm dog” in Norwegian. Although ancestors of the Norwegian Buhund were around for many centuries, the breed as it appears today was cultivated in the western coastland area of Norway. The first Norwegian Buhund dog show took place in Norway in 1920, and the Norsk Buhund Club was formed in 1939. Today in Norway, the breed is still used for its original purpose as a working farm dog.

Norwegian Buhund Care

Like most herding breeds, the Norwegian Buhund has a high energy level that requires significant daily exercise to stay happy and well-mannered at home. Although these dogs don't need much other than basic grooming, owners should be prepared for two heavy shedding seasons each year. This breed can be trained using positive reinforcement methods that keep new lessons entertaining.


Norwegian Buhunds are sturdy dogs with the strength, stamina, and energy to work all day long. Thanks to their history as farm workers, they still require lots of exercise to stay content at home. At least two hours per day of long walks, jogging, hiking, or games like fetch are good exercise options for this breed.

It’s not enough to just exercise the Norwegian Buhund physically—providing lots of mental stimulation is key. Without it, a Norwegian Buhund might just find his own ways to have a good time, which can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing. This active, agile, and intelligent breed will be eager to take it up a notch with competitive dog sports like agility, herding, and tracking. At the end of a long and action-packed day, most Norwegian Buhunds love to flop at their owner's feet and relax.


The Norwegian Buhund’s natural, easy-care coat only sheds moderately, making the breed a wonderful house pet in terms of stray hair. The fur naturally repels dirt, so it also stays clean and relatively odorless. Brushing your dog several times a week can help cut down on shedding. Twice a year, your Norwegian Buhund will “blow coat,” a term used to describe the heavy seasonal shedding periods where the dog drops much of its undercoat. During these times, brush daily to remove as much loose undercoat as you can.

The coat is typically longer on the neck, chest, and back of the thighs. This breed doesn't need haircuts, but its nails should be trimmed regularly. Check your dog's ears for waxy debris and clean them with a pet-safe ear cleaner as needed. It's also important to brush your dog's teeth consistently to prevent dental infections.


Norwegian Buhunds are intelligent, but they can be challenging to train. Although they do want to please you, they are also independent thinkers that can easily lose focus. Fun, positive training methods like clicker training with lots of tasty treats work best. Like all puppies, Norwegian Buhunds benefit from early, frequent training and socialization. The key to bringing out the best in your dogs is to train them with plenty of consistency (showing exactly what you expect from them) starting from the day you bring them home.

Common Health Problems

The Norwegian Buhund is a relatively healthy breed, but like most purebred dogs, it can be susceptible to a few inherited health conditions. Reputable breeders test prospective parent dogs for these issues before breeding them to avoid passing on these problems. When adopting a Norwegian Buhund puppy from a breeder, always ask to see the litter's medical background.

The following are common health issues associated with this breed:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This condition causes a malformation in your dog's hip joints as they age. Severe cases may require corrective surgery.
  • Cataracts: Like humans, dogs can develop cataracts at different stages of life (typically in older age). These cloudy spots on your dog's eyes can cause vision problems if untreated, and in some cases, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove them.
  • Von Willebrand Disease: This bleeding disorder affects the blood's ability to clot properly. Owners of dogs with Von Willebrand Disease should actively do their best to prevent injuries.

Diet and Nutrition

Feed your adult Norwegian Buhund measured meals on a morning and evening schedule (puppies should eat three or four small meals per day). Use a measuring cup or scale to ensure you are feeding the correct amounts. Free feeding can cause weight gain, which can put your dog at risk for health problems including joint disease and diabetes.

If you’re not sure how much to feed your Norwegian Buhund or what kind of food is best, talk to your veterinarian or breeder. Your vet can help you determine the best nutrients and portion schedule throughout your dog's life based on its age, weight, and activity level.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Norwegian Buhund

Norwegian Buhunds are a very rare dog breed, so it's unlikely to find them in rescues. However, your local animal shelter can introduce you to similar dogs in need of forever homes that might just become your next best friend.

If you're planning to adopt a Norwegian Buhund puppy, it's essential to do your research and work with a responsible breeder. Your breeder should show you the litter's medical history, allow you to meet the parents, and show you the conditions the dogs are kept in. You may need to travel or join a waiting list to adopt a puppy. This breed typically costs about $2,000 to $2,500 from breeders, but prices can vary depending on pedigree and availability.

The following resources for the national breed club, breed-specific rescues, and the AKC can help you start your search:

Norwegian Buhund Overview

  • Affectionate and loyal

  • Great for active families

  • Intelligent and eager to work

  • Can be stubborn during training at first

  • Sheds heavily twice per year

  • Needs considerable daily exercise

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you love the Norwegian Buhund, you might also like these similar breeds: 

There's a whole world of dog breeds out there that can join your family. With a little research, you can find the perfect match for your home!

  • Is the Norwegian Buhund Rare?

    Norwegian Buhunds are a very rare dog breed in the United States. While it's not likely to find these dogs in shelters, prospective adopters can rescue similar breeds or research responsible breeders to join a waiting list for puppies.

  • Do Norwegian Buhunds Bark a Lot?

    Bred to be herding dogs that protected their families and herds of livestock, Norwegian Buhunds are great watchdogs. They are prone to barking when strange people or situations are present (which, along with their exercise needs, makes them unsuitable for most apartments).

  • Are Norwegian Buhunds Easy to Train?

    While they are very intelligent dogs that can be trained to perform a variety of jobs, Norwegian Buhunds can be difficult to train at first. Owners will likely find success by using positive reinforcement methods and providing consistency throughout the dog's life.

Article Sources
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  1. Norwegian Buhund Dog Breed. American Kennel Club.