It gave me great pain and sorrow reading this news, since I have previously had 2 dogs from this breed. It saddens me that I cannot take one in to my home since I have already made a commitment to a Basenji pup and am only permitted 1 animal in my appartment.
These Norwegian Buhund’s are a wonderful breed, loving, energetic, playful, intelligent, gentle, …they truly are the “potato” (good with everything) of the dog world. And a big snuggler!!
This is a translated news article from VG, a Norwegian newspaper:
Norwegian dog breeds dying out - six out of seven can disappear
Verdens Gang (transl.), July 1, 2009
The Norwegian Kennel Club is warning that that six out of seven Norwegian dog breeds are in danger of becoming extinct. Dog owners are hoping celebrities could save them.
Halden Dog (Haldenst?ver), Norwegian Hound (dunker), Puffin Dog (Lundehund), Hygen Hound, Norwegian Buhund (norsk buhund), Norwegian Elkhound Grey (Norsk elghund gr?) and Norwegian Elkhound Black (norsk elghund svart) are the names of the seven Norwegian dog breeds. But now six of them are seriously endangered, warns the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK). According to them only the Grey Elkhound is safe. For some of the breeds, especially the Halden dog and the Hygen Hound, there are barely any known specimens outside Norway. Therefore it would be impossible to import the breed from abroad when it dies out.
"The Norwegian dog breeds are caught in a vicious circle. There are few individuals, and so as a result few people are introduced to them. Ask a person on the street if he has heard of the Haldenst?ver (Halden dog) and the answer is no," says Espen Engh, administrative director of NKK. "What the Norwegian breeds need first and foremost is publicity", he adds.
Engh hopes Norwegian celebrities will make the breeds more popular. He points to Paris Hilton's Chihuahua and Barack Obama's Portugese Water Dog as examples of successful celebrity advertising.
(FYI: the Crown Prince/Crown Princess just bought themselves a family dog, a Labradoodle)
"If the Crown Prince-couple had bought themselves a Haldenst?ver then clearly more people would have known about it," says Engh but underlines that the Crown Prince-couple should be allowed to choose whatever dog they want.
Buhund owner Ellen Katrin Enge thinks the main problem is competition from foreign breeds, "Norwegians choose foreign dogs. The Buhund was used as a herding dog, but a few years ago it was 'outcompeted' by the Border Collie." Enge explains that there is dangerously low breeding of the Norwegian dogs, making them hard to come by. Only about 60-70 Buhunds are registered each year in Norway.
The original Norwegian dogs also vanish because Norwegians have simply forgotten about them. Very few recognize a Buhund when they meet it. "When I'm out walking my Buhund a lot of people go 'Oh my God, what kind of dog is that?' They think it's a Japanese Spitz or a Shiba."
In addition to publicity it's a challenge in itself just keeping the breeds alive. A sperm bank has already been created to maintain the Norwegian dog genes. The NKK will intensify their work in this area, and the Norwegian Gene Resource Center has given more money to the sperm bank.
The Norwegian breeds have a reputation of being good work dogs. One example is the Buhund, a farm- and herding dog which has also been used for hunting since before the viking age, many would even accompany their viking owners on their travels overseas. Enge, vice president of the Norwegian Buhund Club, is hoping more people will notice the breed; "The Buhund is the perfect family dog, it's fun, friendly and active, its fur can stand both heat and cold and it demands little maintenance. I'm surprised not more people have discovered this."
Some Norwegian breeds are exported abroad. In January of this year the Norwegian Buhund was finally recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.
I just felt it my duty, to spread the word about this news, and hopfully draw attention to this truly beautiful breed. And maybe help it gain popularity, and save it.
If you know someone considering a dog, why not inform them about the Norwegian Buhund?
Some more info on the breed: