AKC group: Non-sporting
UKC group: Working
Average lifespan: 11 – 13 pounds
Average size: 12 – 30 pounds
Coat appearance: Short and rough
Coloration: Red, reddish-brown with black tips
Other identifiers: Small, wedge-shaped head with deep brown eyes and double-jointed neck; ears are able to move back and forth, flip from side to side and close up; strong and flexible hind legs and shoulders; six toes on each paw and two dewclaws; tail curls onto back
Possible alterations: Older dogs may be darker in color
The breed has a long history. They are the most ancient of the Nordic dog breeds, scientific research indicates that the breed has been in existence since before the last Ice Age, surviving by eating fish and sea birds. It is thought that the Lundehund is actually a descendant of the primeval dog, Canis forus, rather than the domesticated dog breeds, Canis familiaris. The Lundehund was a valuable working animal, essential in hunting puffin birds along the Norwegian coast for food as well as the commercial export of puffin down from the Viking Age through the 16th and 17th centuries. Its flexibility and extra toes were ideal for hunting the birds in their inaccessible nesting locations on cliffs and in caves. Interest for the breed declined when new methods for hunting puffins were incorporated and a dog tax was created. Around 1900, they were only found in the isolated village of Mostad , Lofoten. The breed was nearly extinct around World War II when canine distemper struck Værøy and the surrounding islands. In 1963, the population was further decimated by another outbreak of distemper. This time, only six dogs survived, one on Værøy and five in southern Norway, Hamar. The latter five were from the same mother. This created a population bottleneck. Due to careful breeding with strict guidelines, there are now an estimated 1400 dogs in the world (2010), with around 600 of the population in Norway and ~350 in the United States.
The breed is being tested in Tromsø airport by the Norwegian Air Traffic and Airport Management as a solution to airplane bird strikes. The dog is used to search for bird eggs around the airport for disposal.
The Norwegian Lundehund Association of America, Inc. is recognized by the AKC as the Breed Parent Club for the USA.
The Norwegian Lundehund was approved into the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class on July 1, 2008, after a unanimous vote by the AKC Board of Directors on November 13, 2007. The Lundehund made its AKC conformation debut at the Roaring Fork Kennel Club show in Eagle, Colorado on July 12, 2008. It made its introductory premier at a major US event at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach, California, on December 13 and 14, 2008.
On February 12, 2010, the Board of Directors of the American Kennel Club voted to accept the Norwegian Lundehund into the AKC stud book on December 1, 2010. On January 1, 2011, it became a part of the Non-Sporting Group.
Lundehunds are cheerful, alert, inquisitive, watchful and sometimes stubborn little dogs that make wonderful companions when placed into the right homes. Long-time Lundie owners treasure the breed’s intelligence and playfulness. These are free-thinking dogs that can be quite independent. Some Lundehunds are wary of strangers, although they are not known to be aggressive even when challenged. Generally, they are fun and easy to live with. Lundehunds get along quite well with children and other animals, especially when they are well-socialized from puppyhood.
Early and extensive socialization is important for this breed. Lundehund puppies should be exposed to loud noises, unfamiliar people, animals of all ages and types, unusual environments, cars, motorcycles, new and potentially scary situations and as many other stimuli as possible starting at a young age. Lundehunds that are not well-socialized tend to become shy, hypersensitive to sounds and easily stressed by unfamiliar situations. It can be difficult to undo these traits once they become ingrained.
Prone to Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lymphagetasia, Lundehund Syndrome (a series of digestive problems). This unique syndrome renders the lifespan of a particular dog almost unpredictable if not fed properly. It is reported that it is not a disease but an inability to digest grains of any sort. Fed a diet with no grains, the dogs do not get sick. They need only the same care that any dog should get and they live a long life. This syndrome or allergy is under research.
The Norwegian Lundehund is known to shed a great deal, requiring daily coat brushing with a firm bristle-brush. It can also tend to be a shy breed, so the dog should be socialized at a young age. The Norwegian Lundehund enjoys just about any outdoor activity and is very energetic. A large yard is best for this dog breed; however the intelligent Lundehund is good at escaping, so a secure fence is suggested.
The Norwegian Lundehund would do best living in a house with at least a small, fenced-in yard.
The Norwegian Lundehund is intelligent, but can prove to be stubborn when it comes to training. For the best results, use positive training techniques. A common complaint with the Lundie is house training, so this is not a dog for the novice owner. You’ll find that introducing crate training early on will help curb this problem. In fact, crate training can prove to be easier with this breed, as it likes to be in cave-like spaces.
Because the Lundie is so agile, you should consider enrolling your dog in agility training courses. It’s a great form of exercise and it will allow them to use their natural agility abilities.
Lundehunds are high-energy animals that love to participate in almost any outdoor activity. Lundehunds are especially happy when they can play and explore outside, with plenty of opportunities to find and proudly retrieve unusual treasures for their owners. They enjoy taking long walks and trips in the car. They like romping in the park and strolling along sandy beaches. They love to explore new terrain. Lundehunds are athletic, active and extremely agile, making them excellent hiking and backpacking partners. They excel at canine sports that require speed, intelligence, discipline and precision. Lundies can be escape artists, which makes a safe, secure, well-fenced yard an absolute requirement for owners of this breed. Regular exercise and a loving home environment are important for the Lundehund’s long-term physical and mental well-being.
This is a Northern or Spitz breed with an undercoat that sheds heavily twice a year. He also sheds small amounts daily.
Brush the Lundehund’s double coat once a week to keep it clean and remove loose hair. During spring and fall shedding seasons, daily brushing will help keep hair under control.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every 3 to 4 weeks or as needed. You may also want to clip the tufts of hair between the toes, but other than that, the coat needs no trimming. Brush the teeth often — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath, and keep the ears clean.
The Norwegian Lundehund puppy is a challenge to house train. You’ll have to keep a close eye on this little fellow when he’s not in his crate. Keeping up with a consistent routine will help the process go smoother, as will crate training. As well, early socialization is important to ensure he learns proper dog manners when meeting new people and animals.
Is this breed right for you?
A loving and cuddly breed, the Norwegian Lundehund loves people of all ages and sizes and being very close to them. Kind, he is likely to love with all that he has. Requiring a yard to play and romp in, the breed is not ideal for apartment life. A natural-born hunter, the Lundie enjoys sniffing things out and is easy to groom. The breed does have an incredibly hard time becoming housebroken and will require a lot of patience and intelligent training. In addition, a Lundie needs a human who is able to provide leadership and discipline to avoid behavioral problems. In need of a lot of socializing, he is a watchdog and barker.
Did You Know?
The Norwegian Lundehund is also known as the Norwegian puffin dog.
A dream day in the life of a Norwegian Lundehund
Given the opportunity, the Norwegian Lundehund would wake up next to his owner and stay in bed with her all day. But if this is not an option, the dog will instead poke around the house looking for affection and play. After a few fun games of fetch, he’ll head outside for a romp. Sniffing out any questionable smells, this natural-born hunter may chase a bird or two. As the day ends, the Norwegian Lundehund will love more cuddles and play before snoozing off to dreamland with his best friend at his side.