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May 22, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Norwegian Lundehund

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Overview:

  • Height: 12"- 16”
  • Weight: 13-20 pounds
  • Historical function: Puffin hunter
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Non-sporting group

Physical Characteristics:

The Norwegian Lundehund, also known as the Norwegian Puffin Dog, is a small Spitz-type dog that has traits no other dog has. Their unusual features include having six toes on each foot that are all fully functional, highly mobile prick ears that fold closed. Also, Lundehunds can bend their heads backwards along their own spines and turn their front legs to the side at a 90-degree horizontal angle to their body, much like human arms.These features were perfectly suited to hunt Puffins and their eggs on cliffs.

History of the Breed:

The Norwegian Lundehund was developed in Norway as a daring little dog that was designed to hunt Puffins and their eggs off the faces of slippery, rocky cliffs. They have many adaptations that made them highly successful at the job. They were so successful, in fact, that it became illegal to hunt Puffins. After the law change, the Lundehund found himself unemployed and their numbers dwindled. The breed nearly became extinct after bouts of canine distemper swept the land. A few dedicated enthusiasts rebuilt the breed, but due to the lack of genetic diversity, the breed has some health problems. The Norwegian Lundehund is still very rare.

Temperament:

The Norwegian Lundehund is a primitive breed and as such, they have unique behaviors including food stashing, and alerting their pack to any changes in the environment. This means they can bark a lot. Because they retain their pack instinct they often do well with other dogs after the pecking order has been established. Do not trust this breed with non-canine pets as they retain their prey drive. The are not easy to house train because of their primitive drive to mark their territory. They are very busy, and like to carry items around with them. They climb, dig, and can get into very small spaces. They have cat-like personalities which means they are intelligent, but only choose to obey with the right incentives. Keep training sessions short and fun for best results. 

  • Best suited for: Active families with a good amount of patience and anticipation for the creative means these dogs use to get what they want.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog does best in environments where their free-thinking and humorous personalities are appreciated.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Lundehunds are heavy shedders requiring regular brushing.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk or run. Puzzle toys are a must for mental exercise.
  • Life expectancy: 12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues. These problems can be alleviated and/or cured with grain-free diets. (Remember this is a primitive breed suited to a primitive diet.)

Breed Club Links: Norwegian Lundehund Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Puzzle Toys!

Have any stories about a Norwegian Lundehund? Please share!

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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