Norwegian Buhund

Breed Notes 12th January 2018 Margaret Deuchar


Norwegian Buhund Day will be held on Saturday 3rd February 2018 at the AHT Newmarket CB8 7UU. It will start at 10.30am and there will be talks on Ataxia & Hereditary Cataract. It is free and for anyone interested in Buhunds but you will need to book a place by e-mailing ‘’

A few weeks ago I attended a seminar in my role as Breed Health Co-ordinator, it was held at the ‘Guide Dog for the Blind’ breeding Centre near Leamington Spa. Originally the centre was started at Tollgate house in 1960 also near Leamington Spa, the first brood bitch was a German Shepherd called Reiner. The centre ran there for 50 years moving to the new centre on May 3rd 2011, this is thought to be the largest and best in the world, which is needed for the 21st century and beyond. When I booked for the seminar on the form I was asked if I wanted to go on a tour of the centre before the seminar started. This meant arriving an hour earlier, everyone who booked the seminar went on the tour which was very interesting. We were divided into several groups, our group started with a visit to a short sensory tunnel; to walk through it one had to wear a blindfold. It gave the impression of what it would be like if you were completely blind; the tunnel was just wide enough so if you stretched out your arms you could feel the sides, which had different surfaces as did the floor you walked over. Having had horses for much of my life, in winter I often had to attend them on dark mornings and evenings, but this was something quite different as there was no light at all, I have to admit to being very pleased when I reached the end of the tunnel. Next, we saw the harnesses the dogs wear which are made on site. I certainly had not appreciated that they are tailor made to each handler, as often as well as being blind they may have other physical problems. We then moved on to the fabulous facilities for whelping and the growing puppies. They breed up to 1,500puppies a year and have bred over 9,000 puppies since they moved to the new centre. It costs about £50,000 to breed train and support a Guide Dog, the pure breeds most used are Labrador, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, but one of the most successful guide dogs have proved to be Retrievers x with Labradors. The centre has records going back to when they started and the brood bitches and stud dogs come from the lines that have bred the best Guide dogs. The stud dogs and brood bitches live with people and are called in when required and do not work as guide dogs. I am sure you all know that the puppies go out to puppy walkers, who acclimatize them to a variety sights and sounds and do basic training. When they are between a year and 14 months, they return to the centre for the training that will make them into a guide dog. The centre is divided into two halves, one where the puppies are born and raised and the other where they come back for training, so there is no risk of cross infection. A high percentage of the dogs that go into training pass but it still takes approximately 18 months for a person that is passed to have a guide dog before they actually have one.

The first Seminar was on common skin problems in dogs and was given by Dr Rosario Cerundola who is a Dermatology Specialist. It was stressed how easy it is to pick up skin infections at shows on benches, even in veterinary waiting rooms and while out on walks, with fleas and ticks easily being picked up from foxes, rabbits and other animals in the fields. Checking dogs daily is very important as infections caught in the very early stages can be cured so much more easily. There were a number of slides showing early stages and then more serious stages of fleas, ticks and ringworm. It was also said some infections can be passed to humans and vice versa. One thing I did not know was that dogs can get MRSA, while it is a major health issue in humans in dogs it can also be serious, being caused by Staphylococcus aureus and can be caught through skin wounds and wounds caused by surgery. In very rare cases humans can pass it to a dog, as one in three people carry the staph organism in their nose without causing them any illness.

The second seminar was given by Bonnie Wiles, the Health & Research Co–ordinator at the KC; she talked about ‘Breed Watch’. This is an early warning system to identify points of concern for individual breeds, and promotes the Health of Pedigree Dogs. All breeds fall into one of the following categories-: 1. No visible health concerns reported by judges or club/council. 2. Breeds with points of concern, visible conditions or exaggerations. 3. Breeds with Breed Watch points of concern. It was started in 2009 and of course has had a lot of critics, we were told of the most recent updates. It was interesting to hear how judges need to keep eye on other breeds that may be considered to have underweight exhibits, incorrect bite, legs too short or wrong coats. Happily, Buhunds are in category 1.

The third Seminar was on Eye Health given by Mr James Oliver (Ophthalmology). He had worked at several referral centres and has published literature on canine inherited eye diseases he is a BVA/KC/ISDS panellist.  He discussed the most commonly encountered eye diseases, and how they affect the eye.

Finally, the Kennel club has now approved the following change to the Breed Standard it now reads ‘straight line of back, level top line’.

Margaret Deuchar 02089542954

The views expressed in Margaret’s Breed Notes are hers and hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK