It is quite amazing what utilitarian dog breeds can do. There are hunting dogs that can track and retrieve game for their masters, and work dogs that can do a variety of household chores and farm work. These dogs are highly regarded by their owners because they have proven their worth in making life easier for their masters. One of these seemingly all-purpose dog breeds is the Norwegian Buhund.
The Norwegian Buhund, which is also considered Norway's farm dog, is a herding dog that comes from the Spitz family. This dog has the typical characteristics of a Spitz when it comes to being active and self-confident. It also has an independence that is typical of a Spitz, and like the other dogs in its family line, the Buhund also loves its home and it can be easily trained to do a variety of chores. However, unlike the other Spitz breeds that are used as draft and hunt dogs, the Buhund does not have much of an inclination to hunt. This is because it was primarily bred as a herding dog.
The Norwegian Buhund is a very exemplary herding dog. In fact, part of its name, "Bu", is a Norwegian word that refers to homestead, or particularly the mountain hut abode of shepherds at the summer pastures. The "hund" part of its name is the Norwegian word for dog. One of the most notable tasks of the Norwegian Buhund is shepherding. This dog breed is one of the most complete shepherds or shepherd companions in the world. For many years, the Buhund has been used in Norway to circle and gather sheep around, and lead them to the pastures. Buhunds are so adept in shepherding that the shepherds sometimes leave them alone to guard the sheep.
In Norway, it is customary for the sheep to be driven up the mountains during springtime. This is where the sheep are free to roam and get some fresh food. Only Buhunds and a few shepherds are left to watch over the sheep. When autumn arrives, the sheep have to be herded back to the lower pastures and the Buhunds will be tasked to gather and drive the sheep to the open fields below the mountains. Sometimes, one Buhund can be in charge of twenty to thirty sheep. These dogs do their shepherding by barking at the sheep, signaling for them to move.
Like any shepherd, the Buhund is also very good in guarding its flock. On the way down from the mountain, it will make sure that no sheep is separated from the herd, and no harm will come upon them. With its great shepherding abilities, the Norwegian Buhund is probably the best sheepdog any owner can have.