Norwegian Lundehund

Type: Hunting

Height: 12.5 - 15 inches.

Weight: 13 - 15.5 lbs.

Life Span: 12 years is average.

Litter Size: 2 - 3 puppies.

Country of Origin: Norway

Activity: Medium

Watch-dog: High. Lundes are alert, sensitive and shy towards new things, and will let you know with their bark.

Guard-dog: Low. Lundehunds are mostly friendly dogs, and should never show a great deal of aggression.


Description: The Norwegian Lundehund is an extremely physically unique breed. They have evolved polydactyl toes, which means they have more than the usual amount. Most Lundehunds have 5 toes, at least. They can also bend their head backward along their spine and upside down, and have ears that can fold flat forward or backward in order to seal out water. Their forelegs can bend outward from their body, like humans, and unlike other dogs. As well as being polydactyl and triple jointed in several places, they are also thought to be related to a breed that lived before the Ice Age due to their unique jaw that traces back to the ancient Ur Dog. Aside from these unique traits, the Norsk Lundehund is a small breed, agile and effective. They are very good at getting around rocky and precipitous places. They are affectionate, fun and lively. They enjoy being with humans, although they are independent and stubborn at times. Difficult to train, they are not the best to be around small animals, as they have been known to use their hunting skills for more than wild animals. Cheerful and fit, the Norwegian Lundehund is a very unique breed for the inquisitive soul.

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Other Names: Norsk Lundehund, Norwegian Puffin Dog, Puffin Dog, Lundehund

Colors: Sable and white, with a white ruff around the neck and other white marks on the legs, belly, and face.

Coat: Their coat is double coated, with short, rough, stand-off fur.

Temperament: Lundehunds are happy and lively. They are affectionate and fun, and will sometimes resort to primitive hunting skills within the household. They are cheery and get along with other dogs and people, but are wary of strangers. Training is difficult with this breed, as they can be independent and strong minded. They may not be trustworthy with small animals. They truly enjoy being with family, and even become slightly protective of them.

With Children: Yes, this breed does well around children, if introduced properly. Once they are socialized, they do not mind the irritabilities of children that many other breeds will not tolerate.

With Pets: Yes, good with dogs but not with small animals.

Special Skills: Puffin hunter and family pet.

Care and Training: Lundehunds need plenty of exercise, and this breed quite enjoys exercise. They should be walked daily or played with daily. Lundehunds are difficult to train, as they can be stubborn and independent. Consistent training from puppyhood is necessary, and they should be crate trained as soon as possible. As with all breeds, positive reinforcement is best when training this breed. Some owners have stated that their Lundehunds were never quite housebroken. They need consistent, firm training.

Learning Rate: Medium. Obedience - Low. Problem Solving - Medium.

Special Needs: Activities, exercise, medical care, socialization and training.

Living Environment: Lundehunds are adaptable, but they have special needs due to their high frequency of Lundehund Syndrome. They also do better in a rural or suburban area, even though they are most often simply household pets.

Health Issues: Gastrointestinal disease, and Lundehund Syndome, also known as protein-losing enteropathy. Protein-losing enteropathy is a disease of the intestinal tract which disallows the body to absorb nutrients from food. Up to 90% of all Lundehunds are estimated to be diagnosed with this disease, which causes them to have a substantial reduction of their life span. There is no cure for this disease, but not all dogs are severely affected by it, and it can be managed.

History: This breed is thought to be relative to a breed that lived before the Ice Age. Its jaw, one of its many unique features, is the same type of jaw found on the Ur Dog that lived before the Ice Age. As far back as the 1600s these dogs have been puffin hunting on the rocky crevices the island of Veroy, Vaerog and Rost in northern Norway. Their unique flexibility and agility have allowed them to creep through rocky and tough terrain that humans cannot. The Lundehund would retrieve puffins, many at a time for their owners in Norway. They also retrieved the Puffins' eggs for their masters. Families in Norway ate Puffin during Lent, and its meat is said to replace and imitate fish for even the most sensitive fish-eaters. Their unique triple-jointed paws have at least 5 toes on each paw, usually 6. This allows them to actually grip the rocks, almost like fingers. They also possess the ability to flatten their ears to their head, avoiding water drops in the puffin caves, as well as bend their heads completely backward so that it is aligned with their back spine or upside down, which allowed for them to reach in unlikely places. These dogs were prized as much as one cow, and were often sought after eagerly by Puffin hunters. After easier ways of puffin hunting were invented, such as nets, the Lundehunds' numbers declined. A breeder named Eleanor Christie sought out the breed after reading articles on the Lundehund, and discovered about 50 of them in Haastad in southwestern Veroy. She then purchased some of the puppies in 1939, but in 1942 an outbreak of distemper left only one lone Lundehund on Veroy. Christie went after the poor hound and rescued it to breed it with her stock. After World War II, the breed's numbers were so low that it is thought that there were only 6 remaining due to distemper outbreaks and no vaccines. From these small numbers were the beginnings of the current breed. They were accepted by Scandinavia's breed club in 1943. Today there are small numbers of them in the United States, some estimate as few as 250. There are more in Norway, estimated at around 1100.

First Registered by the AKC: 2011

AKC Group: Non-Sporting Group

Class: Non-Sporting

Registries: FCI (Group 5), CKC, (Group 2), UKC (Northern), KC(UK) (Hound)