What Does a Norwegian Lundehund Look Like?

These small dogs are typically about 12-15 inches tall and weigh around 13-16 pounds. As their name suggests, they’re a northern spitz breed and look like such. But they’re far from typical – their triangular ears can fold shut to protect them from moisture and dirt, and their little paws have 6 fully-functioning toes each.

The Norwegian Lundehund is a breed that was originally used to scale cliffs and steal eggs from puffin nests. Because of this, they have an amazing range of motion and are very acrobatic. In fact, they can bend their heads almost 180 degrees backwards! Their shoulders are so flexible they can extend their forelegs perpendicular to the body, and they have a distinctive gait because of that.

What Kind of Temperament Does the Norwegian Lundehund Have?

Besides being incredibly acrobatic, Norwegian Lundehunds are also known for being very vocal. They like to bark and make good watchdogs. They’re also quite mischievous and love to get into trouble – so be prepared to keep a close eye on them!

Another thing that makes the Norwegian Lundehund unique is their hunting and scavenging instincts. They are very good at finding food, even if it’s buried underground. This can be a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective – it means they’re less likely to go hungry, but it also means they may be inclined to dig up your garden.

How Hard Is It to Train a Norwegian Lundehund?

Training a Norwegian Lundehund can be a bit of a challenge, as they are very independent and have minds of their own. They’re also quite stubborn at times. But with patience and lots of positive reinforcement, you can train them to do just about anything, thanks to their high intelligence.

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Housetraining will also be a challenge, as these dogs are very determined to do things their way. Consistent crate training is a must, and you may need to install a doggy door.

Will They Get Along with Everyone?

The Norwegian Lundehund is a people-oriented breed, and they love nothing more than being around their human family. They’re typically okay with kids and other pets, but as with any dog, early socialization is key to a harmonious relationship.

Are There Any Health Conditions to Be Concerned about?

The breed is old, but suffers from a small gene pool because its population was once decimated by epidemics. The biggest concern is gastroenteropathy, which causes problems with digesting food and absorbing nutrients. In their case, it’s called the Lundehund Syndrome and typically presents between 2 and 10 years of age. Common symptoms are:

  • diarrhea,
  • weight loss,
  • vomiting,
  • hair loss,
  • lethargy.

Not all Norwegian Lundehunds will develop this disease, and some can live 10 years or more in great condition. To reduce the risk of digestive issues, you can put your dog on a low-fat and high-protein diet from the beginning.

Apart from that, responsible breeders screen their breeding stock for patellar luxation (kneecap dislocation) and eye disorders. These may occur in your Norwegian Lundehund regardless, so it’s important to give them regular checkups at the vet. Like all small dogs, they can also be prone to dental issues. Brushing their teeth daily with a dog toothpaste will minimize the risk.

What Are the Grooming Needs of a Norwegian Puffin Dog?

These dogs have a thick undercoat, and need to be brushed at least once a week to keep them looking their best. As with all dogs, they will need their nails clipped at least once a month, unless they lead a very active lifestyle and wear them down naturally. Also, check your pet’s ears a few times a week and clean them if necessary.

Where Can You Find Norwegian Lundehund Puppies?

Since they’re a rare dog breed, the best place to find puppies is through a breeder belonging to the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America (NLAA). Be sure to interview several breeders before selecting one, and ask to see health clearances for both parents.

Puppies should be at least 12 weeks old before they’re adopted, and should have been vet-checked, dewormed, and started on their vaccinations. They’ll typically cost $2,000 or more, but remember that you’re paying for generations of responsible breeding.

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Can You Adopt a Dog of This Breed?

There are very few Norwegian Lundehunds in rescue, but if you’re interested in adopting one, be sure to contact the NLAA. There’s a good chance they won’t have any available right now, but they may know of someone who is looking to rehome their dog.

What Is the History of the Norwegian Lundehund Dog Breed?

The Norwegian Lundehund is a very old breed that is thought to have originated in the far north of Norway, on the island of Værøy. They were used to hunt puffins and their eggs, which people couldn’t do themselves because these birds nest on inaccessible cliffs and in caves.

When new methods of hunting puffins were developed and a dog tax was introduced, the breed’s popularity fell. It almost went extinct around World War II when canine distemper struck the islands it lived on. After another outbreak in 1963, only 6 Norwegian Lundehunds survived, 5 of which lived in the town of Hamar and were the offspring of one mother.

Careful breeding was required to save the breed and avoid the issues that come with inbreeding. Eleanor Christie, an experienced breeder of English Setters, took on the challenge and succeeded.

Currently, there are probably more than 1,500 Norwegian Puffin Dogs in the world, and 350 were reported to live in the United States in 2010. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2011, and its popularity has been growing steadily ever since.

Is This Dog Breed Right for You?

The Norwegian Lundehund is a high-maintenance dog breed that not everyone will be able to care for. They need a lot of exercise and plenty of training. If you can’t meet these needs, then another breed may be better suited for you.

Although they can get along with children and other dogs, they’ll be happiest living with a single owner who will give them their undivided attention and take them on outdoor adventures.

If you’re an experienced dog parent who has the time and energy to devote to training and supervising them, the Norwegian Lundehund can make a great pet. They’re loyal, loving, and very playful, and will keep you entertained for hours with their acrobatics. Just be prepared for the occasional mischief!

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Fun Facts about Norwegian Lundehunds

Is there anything else to know about this fascinating spitz-type breed? Yes! Here are a few more facts we found.

  • The Norwegian Air Traffic and Airport Management is currently testing these dogs as a solution to airplane bird strikes. They’re supposed to look for bird eggs around the airport, so they can be disposed of.
  • The breed has great potential in falconry – they can flush birds from hard-to-reach places for easier hunting. An even better candidate would be the hybrid between the Norwegian Lundehund and a pointer breed of some kind.
  • Their name comes from the Norwegian words lunde, which means ‘puffin’, and hund, which means ‘dog’. While puffins are now threatened by overhunting, they were once an important source of food for Norwegian island dwellers.
  • They were found to have the same jaw as the Varanger Dog, which is a fossilized canine dating back to 5,000 years ago. Just like that dog, they have two fewer teeth than most breeds – indicating that they’re probably ancient.

Ready to Bring a New Puppy Home?

If you think the Norwegian Lundehund is a good fit for your lifestyle, be sure to do your research before bringing one home. Make sure you can provide the dog with plenty of exercise, training, and supervision. And remember – these dogs like to get into trouble, so be prepared for some shenanigans!

Do you have questions about this breed that we didn’t answer here? Ask in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to help.


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