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Norwegian Buhund Dog -The Dog of the Vikings

A Norwegian Buhund in the snow

The Norwegian Buhund is a medium-sized spitz-type dog that was known to have traveled with the early Vikings as they explored and conquered Europe by land and sea. They were a valuable addition to the lives of early Norwegian settlers. These dogs served as a multipurpose farm dog, alerting their owners to danger and herding the farm’s livestock.

Their coat was and still is ideally suited for the harsh, cold climates of the Norwegian countryside where they originated. This cheerful, energetic pup derived its name from the Norwegian word “Bu” meaning farm or homestead or a simple shepherd’s hut and “Hund” meaning dog.

The Norwegian Buhund At A Glance

  • Breed: Norwegian Buhund
  • Breed Group: Herding
  • Temperament: Perceptive, Intelligent, Confident
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -7/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: Norway

General Information And Breed History

The modern-day Norwegian Buhund can trace its heritage back to the dogs that were companions to the Vikings.  Though they had been found in Scandinavia earlier than the days of the Vikings, their exact origin is unknown. The Gokstad Excavation of a Viking grave from 900 A.D. found skeletal remains of six dogs, which were the ancestors of today’s Norwegian Buhund.

The Norwegian Buhund shares an ancestor with the Icelandic Sheepdog.  The Bunhund of today is an example of these ancestry roots and from the West Coast of Norway.

In the 1600s, they became considered a distinct breed but didn’t have their first show until 1920. These shows were usually held in conjunction with goat and sheep shows and were instrumental in fuelling a growing interest in the breed. This interest saved it from extinction as numbers had seen a deep decline in the early 1900s. This decline was due to the import of other dogs that grew and surpassed the Buhund in popularity. 

With dedicated registration, shows, and breeding programs, the Buhund enjoyed a resurgence in numbers. Finally, in 1939 the Norse Buhund Club was founded. Today the numbers of these dogs are still small, with only 100-150 pups registered annually. With effective breeding efforts, hopes are high that their popularity will continue to increase.

The Norwegian Buhund is ideal for harsh cold climates that are the norm in Norway. Sporting a thick double coat, this multipurpose farm dog lived with the livestock it herded. The Norwegian Buhun liked to sleep in the barn at night, and in fields, and pasture herding and protecting their farm family throughout the day.

Even today, in some remote areas of Norway, some of these dogs are still working on farms doing the same jobs their ancestors did.

General Appearance

A Buhund is a medium-sized dog but falls on the smaller side of this spectrum. It has a squared build, with a wedge-shaped head and pricked ears. Their tail sits high and is curled tightly over their back. The thick rough double coat keeps it comfortable in the harsh conditions it was bred for. These smart, spirited, and loving dogs with endless bundles of energy.


Ranging between 16″ to 18 1/2″ depending on the dog’s gender, the Norwegian Buhund can weigh between 26 lbs to 40 lbs. Their wedge-shaped head has a well-defined muzzle that roughly equals the length of the skull. 

You will want the nose to be black with dark lips and a scissor bite pattern to their teeth. They have endearing, dark, oval-shaped eyes with black eye rims, which will melt your heart. Their pricked pointed ears stand erect but are mobile, shifting back when showing how much they love you. 

Their neck is of medium length leading to a level back and has a croup with a minimal slope. The chest is deep, and they have well-sprung ribs.


This little darling has a thick rough outer coat that lays quite smoothly against their body. Like most of these cold-weather dogs, they have a dense, soft undercoat that keeps them warm in inclement weather. Their fur is shorter on the head and forelegs, while the hair on their neck, chest, and back is longer. 

Their coats come in two different colors: Wheaten and Black. Wheaten, ranges from pale cream to bright orange. This color variant may have dark-tipped hairs and quite possibly a dark mask. Black, which has little bronzing and minimal white fur unless the white coat is in the following areas: a narrow white ring on the neck, blaze on the face, small white chest patch, and white feet or tip of the tail.  Anything else is undesirable for showing.

Legs & Feet

The Norwegian Buhund has moderately sloped shoulders and well-set elbows. Their forelegs are strong, straight, and parallel. They have oval feet and tightly closed toes.

Tail & Hindquarters

Their hind legs are sturdy and straight facing. The feet have the same characteristics as the front, which is oval-shaped, and their toes are tightly closed. Their tail is highly set and stands at attention, tightly curled over their back.

Differences Between Female And Male

The male Norwegian Buhund Stands 17 to 181/2″ at the shoulder and can weigh between 31 and 40 lbs. The female is smaller, standing only 16 to 17 1/2″ at the shoulder and weighing between 26 and 35 lbs.

Personality-wise, males are a little more challenging to train as they are more likely to challenge their owners for dominance but prove to be more loving and affectionate. Females are less challenging and a bit more aloof, as they are quite content with their own company.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Male Height (at the withers): 17 inches-18.5 inches (46 cm- 47 cm)
  • Female Height (at the withers): 16 inches – 17.5 inches (38 cm – 45 cm)
  • Male Weight: 31 lbs – 40 lbs (14 kg – 18 kg)
  • Female Weight: 26 lbs-35 lbs (12kg – 16 kg)

The recommended dog house dimensions for the Norwegian Buhund Dog can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed. But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 18.7 inches (48 cm)
  • Door Width: 11.9 inches (32 cm)
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 23.0 inches (58 cm)
  • Interior House Length: 37.4 inches (95 cm)
  • Interior House Width: 23.8 inches (60 cm)

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $2,500 USD

Starter Costs: $3,500

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots, and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500-$1,000

How The Norwegian Buhund React To Babies/Children

The Norwegian Buhund makes a wonderful companion. These loyal, friendly family dogs get along great with children. Although they love their human counterparts, they shouldn’t be left alone with the wee humans who may accidentally scare or injure the dog, but this is true of any dog.

Other Dogs

These social dogs get along well with other dogs. They have a long lineage of cohabitation with other animals and dogs.


Cats aren’t an issue with the Norwegian Buhund. Again as a herding dog, they get along well with other animals.

Other Animals

Historically used as a farm dog, they thrive alongside animals they help care for on farms. They get along well with other animals; however, the herding instinct may kick in, and you may find them herding the rest of your furred family.

Care Requirements


Are you looking for a loyal and loving dog that makes a great companion for your active pursuits? The Norwegian Buhund enjoys an abundance of energy, perfect for herding animals as they originally were intended. Nowadays, they need to burn off that energy in other ways, or you may find them a little unruly. 

Vigorous exercise that allows them to run their legs off twice daily is essential for the health and happiness of pup and their humans alike! Of course, these dogs love spending time with their humans, so activities you can do together are a perfect way to meet their exercise requirements and will allow for a little bonding as well.

Biking, running, long hikes, fetch, and obedience classes, rally, and agility all fit the bill well.

Grooming Coat Info

These little firecrackers are naturally very clean dogs. They are meticulous with their self-grooming, so much so they are akin to cats in that regard. This breed does not suffer from the typical “dog” smell even when they’re wet. The double coat of the Bahund sheds most debris easily. Therefore you will not need to bathe the Norwegian Bahund often. Brushing 2 to 3 times a week will keep their coat looking neat. 

During shedding season, they will require more frequent brushing to deal with the loss of fur, but their hair isn’t subject to tangling much, so brushing will be reasonably accessible. Regular nail clipping comes recommended, just like any dog.

Health and Nutrition

The Norwegian Buhund loves its food. Therefore, you need to watch how much you feed this dog, as it can become obese. The best type of food for the Buhund is high-quality dog food. Check with your veterinarian to find out which brand is best for your dog.

If you are going to feed your dog some human food as a treat, make sure you know which foods are safe and which are not. There are quite a few foods that are okay for us to eat but are toxic to your dog.

Norwegian Buhunds are generally healthy. Some things to make sure a potential breeder screens their stock for is hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and Von Williebrands disease (common inherited bleeding disorder)


The Norwegian Buhund is a very intelligent dog, which means they are highly trainable. They are eager to please their owners, but they are incredibly independent thinkers because they are so smart and tend to challenge their trainers when they become bored. Fortunately, they are very food motivated, and using treats as a reward for good behavior works well when training.

They tend to be conversational dogs, expressing their opinion on pretty much anything, so put this tendency to work in your favor by teaching them to alert you to intruders or strangers entering your premises. 

This dog is more well suited as an alarm system because they are not typically a very defensive dog. Starting training at an early age is advised to prevent bad habits from setting in. They will learn your weaknesses and use them against you very quickly.

The herding instinct runs deep in their soul, and this may tempt them to take chase after any 4-legged animals that scoot by, so keeping them on a leash or in a fenced yard is a good idea. 

Finally, males and females differ when it comes to training. Males tend to challenge their owners for dominance. However, they are usually more loyal and affectionate than their female counterparts, who tend to be content with their own company. Females also tend to be less stubborn and a little easier to train.


  1. Coile Ph.D., D. Caroline. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds: Third Edition. Hauppauge: Barron’s
  2. “Norwegian Buhund”. “American Kennel Club”. Access date July 13th, 2020.
  3. “Norwegian Buhund”. “Canadian Kennel Club”. Access date July 13th, 2020.
  4. “Norwegian Buhund”. “Norsk Kennel Union. Access date July 13th, 2020.
  5. “Breed Information”. Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK. Access date July 13th, 2020.

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