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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Norwegian Schmuuhund Standard

A year old Norwegian Schmuuhund

The Norwegian Schmuuhund (or NS) is a small to medium-size versatile Nordic-type breed.

In the times of the great Norse warriors, the Norwegian Schmuuhund was a companion of the home and hunter of small rodents.  Many zoologists believe that the Black and Tan Norsk Squirrel's eradication is attributed to the Norwegian Schmuuhund.

The Schmuuhund’s traditional use was that of a home companion dog. They were also used for guarding, nurse-maids (both sexes) hunting, pulling small loads and herding of fowl.

Ancient legends say that Frigg, Goddess of the Home and Hearth worried about her earth children in The Cold Times when days and food were short and brought forth from her breast the first Schmuuhund: "Fra kjærlighet gir jeg deg gjerne."

Many tales are told of Schmuuhunden saving their children and families from extreme weather by using their body heat.  The ancient Norse epic poem, "Hunden min holdt meg varm med kyss" is almost surely about the loyalty and warmth of a Norwegian Schmuuhund.

The Schmuuhund is a progenitor of the Spitz types of dog. Its cousins comprise of the Norwegian Elkhound and Buhund (whom it greatly resembles, although the Schmuuhund is much older and rarer), the Finnish Lapphund, Finnish Spitz and Icelandic Sheepdog.  Many mammalogists also have findings that would indicate the Schmuuhund is also a distant ancestor of the larger sled dogs: malamutes, huskies, Klee Kais, Akitas and even such breeds as the  Shiba Inu and Japanese Spitz.

As of 2013, a DNA ancestral test is being speculated by scientist Dr. Marvin De Marschen of Institute of Science in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France but as the Schmuuhund is so rare, a wider control base is needed.  A world wide search for Schmuuhunden is under way and those who dogs have tested as purebred Schmuuhund or half-bred are encourage to contact Dr. Marschen through the Institute's website.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not related to the Valhund; that breed goes back, as do Corgis, to the Australian Poppleschnotz, an extremely ancient, very rare breed whose image can be found in ancient Egyptian art.

The Schmuuhund was known as the "home fire" dog or Frigg's Dog and this is seen today in modern Schmuuhunds as they like the comforts of home, ensconced on a soft bed. Interestingly, many of these dogs do not like water activities. This is not a dog to be left out in the yard or barn by itself.

Typical body shape and proper tail
carriage when alert
A classic female N. S. head

Breed Standard 
AKC (rare Breed), UKC (Nordic), CKC (Misc.), KCGB

The Norwegian Schmuuhund should give an moving impression of cobbiness, strength and endurance. Its expression should be curious, alert and extremely beguiling. Males will have more bulk and bone; the females are lighter and more delicate but both sexes should not exhibit differences in temperament, whether altered or intact.

Body: The Schmuuhund's body length should be a ratio of ten to nine of its height. A square dog is acceptable as well. The withers should be slightly above the base of the tail but the back should be fairly level and straight. A slight roll of flesh at the shoulders and base of neck is highly desired.
Faults: Coarseness or refinement. Extreme length of leg or back.

Legs: The length of Leg is ideally equal to the length from wither to the base of the breast bone. The front legs should be straight but a slight pigeon-toe is not faulted and flexibility when at rest is highly desired. A typical Schmuuhund should be able to fold its front legs inward, much as a cat can. The hide legs are straight with a slight angle at the knee.
Laying in a "Frog Legged" position when at rest is common and does not indicate joint problems.
The feet should be small, delicate, and tight with somewhat elongated, compact toes with black toe nails. The legs are often slim in comparison to the body over all.
Faults: Over-angulation, wide spread feet, long or "hare" feet. White or pink toe nails.

The Tail is carried in a curl or curve over the back in a scimitar shape or C-shape during the trotting movement and while standing at alert. The tail must not have a double curve or be straight as this is a severe fault.

The Schmuuhund Gait is somewhat stifled at the trot but should give the impression of covering ground efficiently for an elongated period of time. The Schmuuhund should move horse-like at faster gaits (canter and gallop).
 Faults: Flashy gaiting as well as a hackney or high knee action is penalized.

The Head is one of the Schmuuhund’s most distinctive features. The Eyes should be a deep, dark brown almost to black. They are somewhat small but not prominent. Eyes should be outlined in black or very dark brown with lines going out to the side. There may be a tan outlining around the eyes, giving the appearance of spectacles. This is highly desirable. The expression should be one of alert, curious watchfulness coupled with a melting warmth.
 Faults: No black around the eyes, protuberant eyes, slit eyes. A "cold" or unfriendly expression in the eyes is a severe fault.

The Nose is as long as from the base of the eyes to the back of the skull. The muzzle should be black tapering to tan near the eye area. A slight Roman tilt to the nose is desirable and the muzzle should be an elongated, somewhat narrow V-shape. The nose leather is tight and always black. A small tan or gray beard underneath the chin, called “Odin’s Thumbprint” is highly desirable. This may be very prominent in a puppy but should remain in an adult dog and may extend out along the muzzle and mouth as the dog ages.

The Mouth: The lips are tight and black and the teeth must be a scissor bite. A level bite can be acceptable, provided the rest of the dog excels beyond the standard. Faults: Severe over- or under-bite, square muzzle.

The Ears must be triangular in shape and should stand upright at attention. The ears are extremely expressive, indicating vividly the dog's frame of mind. A curve at the tip or slight wrinkle in the outer side of the ear is allowable. The ear set gives the impression of a bat’s ear but the point of the ear should a sharp clean edge, not rounded. The ear leather is substantial. A drop ear is sometimes seen but not desirable.
 Faults: Rounded ears, drop ears, hound ears, ears standing at ninety degree angles.

The Coat: The Schmuuhund coat is of medium length and soft textured. The standard and most highly desired color is tan with black tips and light tan to cream legs. Other acceptable colors are Tan, Dark Tan, Brown-red, Soft Red (which must have tan legs and underbelly), Dark Wheaten and Black and Tan. Muzzle must be black or very dark brown. A few white hairs on the chest are allowed.
 Color dismissals are: Solid Black, Solid Red, Brindle, Solid white, White on the head.  A White spot on the chest larger than 2 inches in diameter. White body spots. White socks on the legs.

Height and Weight: Males stand 15 to 21 inches, females 15 to 19 inches. Any height over or under shall be severely penalized in the ring. Weight is between 25 to 45 pounds for males, somewhat less for females.
A mature Schmuuhund's diet should be watched carefully as they gain weight easily.  Proper exercise and dietary controls are essential especially as the breed reaches maturity.

Temperament: The Schmuuhund's temperament is one of its outstanding features. The typical Schmuuhund is a loving dog. It should be a friend to children. They should be watchful, alert, curious, intelligent yet affectionate and somewhat playful.
The Schmuuhund may attach himself to one particular person but it should enjoy the company of the entire family.
Schmuuhunden often excel at Therapy or Library programs due to their gentle, loving nature.
They can be vocal with strangers but must be amenable to handling in the ring and with invited guests.
The Schmuuhund can tend toward dog aversion or aggression, continual socialization with easy-going dogs is highly recommended.
Although prey-driven, a well-balanced, well-socialized Schmuuhund ideally will do well with other types of farm or typical household animals.
The Schmuuhund can be a mouthy breed in youth and thus must be taught bite inhibition.
The Schmuuhund, having been a house dog for thousands of years does not do well alone in a yard or isolated from human contact.

One of the most curious Schmuuhund traits is gazing at people tenderly and licking  a person's face.  They sometimes will groom other pets. While in Therapy training, the face-licking is not desirable, it must be understood that it is part of the Schmuuhund's basic temperament.

The Schmuuhund also likes to lay on humans, and its body warmth often creates a slightly narcotic effect known as "Schmuubein" or "Sleeping Time."  It is not uncommon to see several Schmuuhund owners dozing with their "Schmoos" on their laps.  This goes back to the dog's ancestral roots as bed warmers in Norse houses.

Health: The Schmuuhund is a relatively healthy dog.  It may suffer from seasonal allergies but most health problems are due to obesity.

Trainability: High. Learns quickly. Usually extremely food and/or praise motivated. The Schmuuhund does not respond well to harsh training methods.

Energy Level: Moderate to low in maturity. Exercising is encouraged as to avoid the potential for weight gain and the joint and heart problems associated with obesity.

Guarding Level: Fairly High. Good Guarding Instinct. Can be noisy as it alerts by barking.

Good with Children: Yes, if socialized properly and children are respectful.  Can be extremely devoted to children.

Good with Other Animals: Yes, if socialized properly. The Schmuuhund can be fearful or aggressive around other noisy or rude dogs. Proper introductions are key.

Pssst, it's not a real dog breed.....
Wow, I'm that good?

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