Norwegian Buhund

Breed Notes 5th October 2018 Margaret Deuchar


The show results this week comes from Northern Ireland. A few weeks ago, you may remember, I told you that Brenda and Tony Bethell had sold their house in Wales and headed off across the Irish Sea, living in their caravan until they can move into their forever home in Eire. Brenda has posted that ‘whilst waiting for the paperwork on the house to complete, we took the opportunity to enter Belfast Show Society Champ Show held at the Eikon Exhibition Centre. There were no Buhund classes only AVNSC, Freddy and Freya flew the Buhund flag and found some more people interested the in the breed. Freddy was BD, shown by Tony and Freya second in open  behind the BOB. A very pleasant show and if they do put on classes then we will probably enter again’ many congratulations. Freddy is Zodiac’s Featuring Fredrik At Taevas Of Minforst(Imp US) by Ch Hundehaven’s Captain Voyger x Am Ch Zodiac’s Gracious Gretchen. Freya is Lux/Int Ch A Glad Di Ola by Ch Trelowen Conar Tun x Ch A Kiss and Tell for Sturtmoor. Club member Addrienne Frost Treadwell who lives in Eire was thrilled when at the same show her young Foxhound Frostisen Treadington, who she co owns with her parents Kerry & Fritz Frost and Jacqui Walmsley was BOB and qualified for Crufts.

I recently attended 2 seminars run by the KC, one at Nottingham University and the other a Breed Health Symposium for Breed Health Coordinators at Stoneleigh. The latter had several excellent talks one on cancer which I have written about for Bu News, and another one given by Rosario Cerundolo European & RCVS in Veterinary Dermatology, was on ‘Common Skin Problems In The Dog,’ happily most Buhunds do not suffer from skin problems as some breeds do, apart of course from occasional Bacterial and Fungal infections that can infect any dog. During the talk food allergies of course were discussed, as in humans in dogs ‘You are what you eat’. I was interested to hear that Vegetarian diets can help skin problems, and interesting a few days later on the BBC One Show, there was piece about dogs being feed vegetarian diets as more and more people are becoming vegan and vegetarian. Ever since I was at agricultural college many, many years ago I have been interested in diets for animals, of course since then there has been such an advance in nutrition, with a huge increase in companies that manufacture animal food, particularly for pet animals. When I had my first horse apart from straits such as oats etc there was just Horse & Pony cubes, now I could not possibly list all the types of foods available. There are also many veterinary diets available on prescription to help with various ailments particularly in dogs and cats.

I was very interested to hear that dogs could have vegetarian diets, so I thought I would look into the rise of these diets. Veganism is thought to have risen by 360% over the last decade in humans. There are somewhere around eight and half million dogs in the UK, so of course there has been a rise in dog foods for dogs that belong to vegans and vegetarians. Dogs are a subspecies of the wolf and although there are differences they can still inter breed. There has been a study of wolves in Yellowstone Park in the US, where they have found that in the summer their diets contain small rodents, birds and insects as well as much larger prey and  74% of faeces contain plant matter (grasses),other studies have shown that wolves eat both grasses and fruit. Of course dogs have been domesticated for up to 100,000 years, so gradually they have become more and more used to human food. Dogs are now five times better at digesting starch found in grains and potatoes than wolves, as they can produce an enzyme called amylase. Researchers have also found that dogs have another enzyme called maltose, this is similar to a type found in cows and other omnivores rather than wolves, this helps dogs to live on a non-meat diet. Other research has also been into the bacteria that live in the gut flora and it shows that it is quite different to that in wolves, with more evidence of bacteria that can break down carbohydrates and to some degree produce amino acids normally found in meat. The way we give our food to dogs is also very different to the way the wolves eat. It is thought that the change in diet has led to a smaller body and teeth size. Often dogs have tooth loss and fractures probably due to the lack of calcium from bones in their diet. There is also the fact that bones, and meat-based chews can offer significant behavioral benefits to dogs, chewing can be an immensely satisfying and relaxing experience for dogs, in a world where many pets experience long periods of time alone. There are very few studies about the vegan and vegetarian diets for dogs, however as dogs are omnivores dogs should be able to adapt to properly prepared commercially available vegetarian diets, so long as the essential nutrients are present. If you decide to feed you dogs this way you need to be careful, as in the US 25% of these diets did not contain all the nutrients necessary to keep the dog in good health, but one study showed even sled dogs can be kept on a well produced vegetarian diet. Homemade vegetarian diets are very difficult to produce correctly. You will see that there is research going on into what dogs and wolves eat, but some of it is quite fragmented. Would I go down that road with my dog? I am not sure but if for any reason I thought it might be a good idea, I would certainly seek veterinary advice first.

Feeding cats is more complicated and although they can eat and digest plant food, their metabolism has a need for nutrients only found in meat.

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