Norwegian Buhund

Breed Notes 20th November 2020 Margaret Deuchar


I hope that you are all coping with the various restrictions on your life brought about by this deadly global pandemic wherever you live. I know we were all told about light at the end of the tunnel, with the announcement that a vaccine has been developed, which will hopefully mean that eventually, over time, life will return to normal. We still have to get through the next few months as it has not been approved yet, and having worked in the research side of the dairy industry for many years after leaving college, I know the importance of temperatures in making and storing things so having to store the vaccine at -70 will logistically be quite difficult but I am sure it will be overcome as it is so important.

On a positive and exciting note for the breed I received the following e-mail from Lorraine Bolton last Thursday -: ‘The Norwegian Buhund is a very rare breed, on that I am sure we all agree. What is also well documented is the loss of breed vitality and viability if we choose to ignore Coefficients of Inbreeding (COI). Do not get me wrong, judicious line breeding is, and I firmly believe, always will be, the only way to ensure that the quality of the dogs we are so lucky to see today is retained. The problem we have, and it has always been thus, is that any new bloodlines are quite rightly pounced upon by breeders and within 2 generations we are back to looking for stud dogs that are not closely related to our bitches.          This has been an ongoing cycle for decades and if we keep going as we are then it will only get worse. Why? Because of the total uncertainty surrounding Brexit and fewer and fewer people are able to afford the kind of investment needed, of course, not to mention the odd pandemic or two.

So, what to do? Well, here is the thing, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust is a charity based in this country and is one of the world’s foremost authorities, working to ensure the survival of some of our rarest breeds of domesticated animals. Their remarkable success in maintaining these breeds has come from creating and maintaining semen banks and they have been doing it for many, many years. Their target is 25 unrelated, (or as unrelated as possible), collections – that is semen from 25 animals. Of course, the bank is not static, and is constantly added to as it is used. I would certainly recommend going to their website – fascinating stuff – and a lot to learn if we in dogs are to catch up.

At the beginning of this year I lost my Dad. Now Dad was the rock on which Rikarlo was built. Mum and I enjoyed the planning, showing and all the great stuff associated with breeding and showing dogs, and Dad stayed at home to look after everything. He loved the dogs and had an excellent ‘stockman’s eye’. Dad left us a wee bit of money and I cannot think of a better tribute to him, and all those people who work so hard behind the scenes, than setting up a semen bank for Norwegian Buhunds. So, here we are today, having taken a tiny step towards creating a semen bank for the Norwegian Buhund. I must express my gratitude to Bjorg Helgesen and Lies Hekhuis who pulled out all the stops to make this great start. Two dogs, who between them carry, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and American lines new to this country. It is a start and there is so much to do. In the future I want this project to involve everyone. To this end I am working very closely with our Chairman, in her capacity as a successful business owner, to thrash out the structure that will promote and ensure what has been started, is put onto a solid foundation and is able to grow and invest in the future of this wonderful breed, the Norwegian Buhund.’ Thanks, Lorriane so exciting.

We have been talking about creating new life, but of course sadly there is always the other end of the scale. On November 2nd Bev Hall had to say goodbye to her ‘Jay’ and she sent me this Obituary to him. ‘Ailort Just The Ticket RL4Ex  23/10/2008-02/11/2020. I was introduced to Buhunds through Debbie Penniston-Fleming, from whom I had a Groenendael at the end of 2007.I reserved a puppy from her next litter which was a repeat mating between Ch Olpenden Malachy at Parvodene x Ch Fullani Farek of Ailort. The previous litter were having a good success in the show ring.

I showed Jay for a few years, but he grew a little tail (and wide!) and he did not enjoy it, never showing himself off to his full potential. By this time, I had found agility with my Groenendael and stopped showing. Jay was unable to join in with agility as he was reactive to other dogs. He still accompanied me every week to agility shows and I would wear him out by doing bits of Obedience (which he loved).This, without me knowing, set him up for his short Rally career,  as he had learnt to work with distractions at the agility shows. Jay loved to work but his attention span was not great. He flew through the lower levels and was only one qualifier away from his Level 5 title, when Covid stopped play earlier this year. I learnt not to take competitions with him too seriously, as long as he was enjoying himself, I did not really mind what he did on the day, some days he was brilliant, some days he could not be bothered, and he would  never work on an afternoon! At home he was a loveable clown who was very  protective of me and his property, he always wanted to  be outside in the garden, even in the rain, which led me to buying him a little outdoor kennel where he would shelter. He was quite a complicated dog who taught me a lot. It is very quiet without him and I will miss him dearly.’ Jay made Rally his own, he was the most successful Buhund doing Rally, level 3 and over, must be done off the lead showing yet again that Buhunds can be trained.

Margaret Deuchar

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.