A Snippet of Buhund History

In the rural areas of most countries,  there is usually the presence of one or two reliable dogs on a farm or homestead. These dogs were so common as to be ubiquitous, and Norway had it own version – a small but sturdy member of the spitz family. Commonly known as Norwegian Sheepdogs, today’s fancier came to know the breed by the Norwegian words used to describe it: “Bu” for “homestead” or even “hut,” and “hund,” meaning dog.

An ancient breed, the Norwegian Buhund was known by Vikings setting sail from nordic lands over 1,200 years ago, but the modern world became more aware of the breed when an advisor for the Norwegian agricultural department organized, John Sæland, organized the first Buhund show in 1926 in Jaeren, Norway. Held in conjunction with a country livestock fair, it was intended to jumpstart interest in a revival of the breed.

It took a bit of time. The Norsk Buhund Club wasn’t founded until thirteen years later in 1939, and the first Buhund registered, “Flink I,” also became the first Buhund champion. In fact, the first breed standard was based on Flink’s conformation and type. Of him was written that was he was an ideal type –  powerful and compact, with a wedge-shaped head, straight short back with good coat and color. Again, however, came a wait. It wasn’t until 1943 that the breed became recognized in Norway.

The wait for recognition in the states took longer. Buhunds didn’t arrive in the US until the 1970s despite a letter written on the breed’s behalf to the AKC by Jon Danelius many years earlier. In the mid-1980s, a fancier named Janet Barringer saw a Buhund at Crufts and was totally smitten. Though her own breeds were Tervuren, Poodles, Siberian Huskies and the Finnish Spitz,  there was something about Buhunds that mesmerized her. Finding a Buhund of her own was problematic, but Barringer was relentless in her search and tracked down a breeder in Long Island, Aud-Marie Ferstad Maroni. The club Maroni had started in 1983 – made up mostly of the people who had bought one of her puppies – nevertheless was the genesis of the Norwegian Buhund Club of America. Aud-Marie returned to Norway in 1989, but it was Janet Barringer who continued the work of nurturing the club. The club’s registry was accepted into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service in 1996, and full AKC recognition came in  2009.  Sadly, Barringer had died two years before and never saw (at least, not from this earthly plane) how far her breed had come, but it had taken many affectionados of the breed to bring it along.

Image: Norwegian Buhund created from 10 to 20 individually hand cut pieces of paper in a variety of colors and patterns, combined in layers, then mounted on color stock, by Patricia Peters CanineCutUpsiah


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