History & Overview
The Norwegian Lundehund, or Norwegian Puffin Dog, originated in Norway around 5,000 years ago where it was bred to hunt and retrieve Puffin birds in their inaccessible nesting locations on cliffs and inside caves. Today puffins are protected species, so the Lundehund is now prized as a companion. Still quite a rare spitz breed both in Europe and the United States, the Lundehund steadily gains popularity among dog enthusiasts for his alert, friendly and lively character. The Norwegian Lundehund can live up to 15 years.
Because of his unique anatomy (he has at least six double- and triple jointed toes on each foot), this dog is incredibly sure-footed. All toes are fully formed, jointed and muscled. Some individuals can have more or fewer than six toes per foot. In addition, the Lundehund’s head can be bent back to the point where the nose nearly touches his back, and his front legs can turn at 90-degree angles to the sides, much like human arms. An extra fold across the ear cartilage enables the dog to fold the ears shut to form a near-tight seal. These features all allow him to mold his body to fit into narrow rocky crevices.
The Lundehund has very strong hunting instincts and, therefore, cannot be trusted off-leash. He makes an excellent guard dog but is friendly with everybody, especially children. This breed is quite stubborn and may be hard to house train. Male dogs are prone to marking their territory.
This is an outdoor type dog that enjoys all kinds of family activities. Poorly socialized dogs can be quite shy. Some individuals may bark excessively, especially when left alone for long hours. Due to their history, Lundehunds should not be kept with birds, which they consider prey. They will cache food and enjoy carrying around items.
The Lundehund’s outer coat is dense and rough with a soft undercoat. It is short on the head and the front of the legs, more abundant at the level of the neck, rear of the buttocks and on the tail. The colors, which are always combined with white, are reddish-brown, black, and gray with black tips. The coat sheds twice a year. Lundehunds stand 12.5 – 15 inches at withers and weigh 13 – 15.5 pounds.
Known Health Risks
All Lundehunds are prone to a set of digestive disorders called gastroenteropathy that can lead to an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, and a loss of ability to absorb nutrients from food. In extreme cases, the dog can starve. There is no cure, though the disease can be managed.