You are never given the dog you want, but the dog you need.

Wordless Wednesday Follow Up: Breed All About It!

Welcome back everyone!

The week is almost done and we are celebrating with our weekly “Breed All About It”  series! For those of you that are new, each Thursday we cover a new dog breed- some old, some new- for our readers to enjoy. If you would like to assist in the picking of the next breed that we cover, we have been randomly selecting a country and then a breed that looks interesting, so drop us a line in the comments below and we’ll let you know who got chosen in the upcoming week! We had some good guesses about what the breed in yesterday’s ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post was, but no one who hit the ball on the nose. This one was a toughie and it isn’t a well known breed in the western world yet, although it is gaining in popularity slowly. Our breed of the week is known as the Norwegian Puffin Dog, Norsk Lundehund, or more simply, the Norwegian Lundehund.

The Norwegian Lundehund


Unique, “distinctive,” and “unusual” are words that have become almost commonplace in the jargon of rare breed dogs. But of all the breeds of dogs in the world, none is more deserving of these adjectives than Norway’s little hunter, the Norwegian Lundehund. For this is a rare and ancient breed with uncommon physical characteristics, and an intriguing history.

The name Lundehund is a combination of the Norwegian words “lunde,” the Puffin bird, and “hund,” meaning dog. It is a member of the Spitz family and originated in Vaerog and Rost in northern Norway. Originally, they were bred to hunt and retrieve the Puffin, a meat and feather crop for the Norwegian farmer of past centuries living along the fjords and on the islands off the west coast. Written references to the breed date back to the fifteenth century. When the Puffin bird became a protected species in the 1800’s, the dogs were no longer useful to the farmers and breed numbers were allowed to dwindle. The breed was saved from near extinction after World War II through the friendship of two concerned Norwegians, but even today there are only a thousand dogs worldwide. The Norwegian Lundehund was first recognized by the AKC on July 1, 2008.


The Norwegian Lundehund is a small rectangular and agile Spitz breed with unique characteristics not found in any other breed. As this breed of dog was used to wrestle and retrieve live puffin birds from the crevices of steep vertical cliffs, they had to develop some interesting traits. To enable the dog to climb, descend, and brake on these cliffs, unique structural characteristics have evolved and must be present, as they define this breed. They must have a minimum of six toes on each foot and elongated rear foot pads, an elastic neck that allows the head to bend backward to touch the spine, letting the dog turn around in narrow puffin bird caves, and shoulders flexible enough to allow the front legs to extend flat to the side in order to hug the cliffs. This shoulder structure produces a peculiar rotary movement. Finally, the ears close and fold forward or backward to protect from debris.

The eyes are brown and fairly deep-set and the head is small and wedge shaped. It has moderately muscled hindquarters suitable for agility rather than speed with strong legs. The tail is carried ring-shaped, or slightly rolled over the top line, or hanging. It has a short, rough, stand-off coat with its dense topcoat lying flat against the body. The coat can be reddish-brown to fallow with more or less black hair tips, or black, or grey, all with white markings, or white with dark markings. The full-grown dog usually has more distinct black in the outer coat than the young dog.

Multiple toes for extra grip and stability.


Norwegian Lundehunds are friendly and love people. They are not aggressive and will snuggle with people or other dogs for hours. They love to play and will enjoy long sessions of it. Curious, they are ready to explore the world. This breed is intelligent and can be trained for agility. Because of the Norwegian Lundehund’s very unique characteristics, it makes an exceptional hunter. The Norwegian Lundehund is somewhat primitive and can be extremely difficult to housebreak. Some owners say they never do get their Norwegian Lundehunds housebroken.

The Norwegian Lundehund is usually good with children. It doesn’t mind having its ears or tails tugged, especially if it’s by others in its pack. So long as they are introduced to each other in a positive environment, the Norwegian Lundehund will grow into a great family dog. They are friendly with other dogs and most love to meet others of their species. This breed is usually good with other pets if raised with them. Lundehunds were bred to hunt, and hunt well. But their quarry was puffins, so unless you have a fish or water bird, it may be alright, however, be sure to carefully introduced the animal to them, using your best judgment. This breed usually prefers his own family to other people, and has a tendency to be shy of them, but not aggressive. Socialize this dog well. The Norwegian Lundehund needs a firm, confident, consistent pack leader. Without one, he will be stubborn, obstinate and demanding. He may also become an obsessive barker, as he tries to tell you what HE wants YOU to do.


The Norwegian Lundehund needs to be exercised every day with a long daily walk or jog. In addition, it will greatly enjoy sessions of play.

Health and Life Expectancy:

Lundehund gastroenteropathy is a set of digestive disorders that can lead to an overgrowth of digestive bacteria, and a loss of ability to absorb nutrients from food. In extreme cases the dog can starve due to its inability to derive nutrients and protein from food, regardless of food intake. All Lundehunds have the genetics to have this illness, though not every Lundehund is severely afflicted and some are symptom free. There is no cure as of yet, although research is ongoing, and the disease can be managed through careful monitoring of what foods are given. Due to these health issues, the average lifespan of this breed varies wildly.

Demonstrating this breed’s unique ability to fold their head back against their spine.

That’s all we have for you today though guys! Thanks for dropping by and learning about our newbreed of the week! The Lundehund is quite the fascinating breed, is it not? We hope that you enjoyed your visit and that we will see your smiling faces back from our future ‘Breed All About It’ breeds. Drop us a line in the comments below if there is a country that you would like us to consider for the upcoming week and we will be happy to add your country to the hat! Don’t forget to click the FreeKibble banner in the sidebar and help feed some shelter animals!



One response

  1. Very cool!!! I have never seen or heard of this breed.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

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