Is a Norwegian Buhund a good first dog?

Ever wondered why the Vikings, renowned seamen and warriors, practically revered one breed of dog? What made this breed so special that it accompanied these fearless Norsemen on their epic voyages as well as served them loyally at home? This remarkable breed, known for its stellar intellect, robust health, and undying loyalty, is none other than the Norwegian Buhund.

Interestingly, the name Buhund translates from Norwegian as “farm dog,” vividly illustrating their history as multipurpose helpers to Norwegian farmers. Realizing their irreplaceable value, farmers engaged Buhunds in herding livestock, guarding properties, hunting game, and yes, as a warm and friendly companion during those cold Nordic nights!

Despite their historic pedigree, Norwegian Buhunds have remained relatively unknown, often overshadowed by more popular dog breeds. They may not have the fame of Retrievers or the cuteness overload of Poodles, but their versatility and dashing personalities will have you seriously considering why you don’t own one!

But here’s the kicker. Can such a storied and versatile breed be the perfect first dog you’ve been looking for? Let’s embark on a journey to discover what makes the Norwegian Buhund a fascinating choice for first-time dog owners.

Personality and Temperament

First things first, let’s talk about personality. Norwegian Buhunds are known for their ever-vibrant, always-up-for-it character. They have buckets of charm, with a delightful sense of humor that can cheer up even the rainiest of days.

Buhunds are highly intelligent dogs. They are fast learners and remarkably inquisitive. When you toss a Frisbee in the park, don’t be surprised when your Buhund not only catches it but throws it back! This means they pose an exciting challenge for first-time owners interested in training their dog and resorting to a variety of fun and stimulating tasks.

Moreover, Buhunds are known to develop a deep and affectionate bond with their human family. You got it right; they are tremendous ‘people’ dogs. They are loyal, friendly, and protective, albeit without displaying an overbearing nature, making them the perfect addition to families with children or other pets.

Size and Look

Size-wise, the Norwegian Buhund falls in the medium category. They stand tall at about 17 to 18 inches for males and 16 to 17 inches for females, weighing roughly between 30 to 40 pounds. Their compact size makes them comfortable in most living spaces, be it a small city apartment or vast farmhouses.

The breed has an endearing fox-like look with brisk, pricked ears, a bushy tail that curls over their back, and expressive eyes full of warmth and mischief. Their double coat, dense and soft, primarily comes in shades of wheaten (from pale cream to bright orange) and black.


Norwegian Buhunds are one of the healthiest breeds, a testament to their sturdy Viking lineage. They have a lifespan of around 12-15 years, and with proper care and love, you can enjoy your Buhund’s companionship throughout its golden years.

However, like any breed, they have a few health issues to keep an eye on. The breed’s primary concern is hip dysplasia, an inherited condition that can lead to arthritis. Eye issues, such as cataracts and late-onset retinal atrophy, are also known but relatively rare ailments.

Finally, regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet can ensure your Buhund leads a healthy and happy life.

Exercise and Training

These energetic dogs, bred to work on farms, require daily exercise. Long walks, games of fetch, or agility training will do the trick. It helps them stay fit and wards off boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior. Buhunds also excel in dog sports, with a natural affinity towards obedience, herding, tracking, and even showmanship.

Training a Norwegian Buhund can be a rewarding experience due to their high intelligence and eagerness to please. They respond best to positive reinforcement methods. Owning a Buhund, consequently, can be a first-time owner’s gateway into exciting dog training methods and techniques.


Buhunds have a thick double coat that requires weekly brushing to keep it tidy and free of mats. They do shed their undercoat twice a year (known as ‘blowing coat’), during which daily brushing will be necessary.

They are relatively low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming, with occasional baths as needed. To keep them in top health, regular teeth brushing, nail trimming, and ear checks should be part of their grooming routine.

Bottom line

While the Norwegian Buhund makes a fantastic addition to any family, it’s their intelligence, affectionate nature, and health longevity that truly makes them shine as a first dog. From being a loving companion to play fetch with in your yard to a diligent partner in agility and obedience trials, there’s no limit to what you and your Buhund can accomplish together.

For those ready to learn alongside their dogs while providing plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and cuddles, the Norwegian Buhund could indeed be your perfect first dog. So, go ahead, take the leap, and let a Norwegian Buhund bring a distinct Viking charm to your life!