Norwegian Lundehunds are small dogs with several unique physical characteristics, including six toes on the front paws, the ability to bend the head backwards to the point of touching the backbone, and prick ears that can fold forward, backward, or closed at will. The breed's double coat is dense and ranges in color from tan to reddish brown to fallow. There may be black hair tips and white marks on the body, or white hair tips with dark or red markings. The eyes are light and almond-shaped. Norwegian Lundehunds measure 12 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh about 15 pounds.
A cheerful and loving breed, these dogs are easy to live with and make great companion animals for families, although they require a good amount of exercise and are known to be heavy shedders.
This breed loves attention and tends to attract a lot of it. While Norwegian Lundehunds may be initially shy with strangers, their craving for attention quickly overcomes any reservations they may have. A cheerful and loving breed, these dogs are easy to live with and make great companion animals for families, although they require a good amount of exercise and are known to be heavy shedders.
Norwegian Lundehunds are known for their cuddly, foxlike appearance, and this look often attracts owners who are seeking the adorableness of a smaller dog, but in a bigger package. However, in addition to being cute, these dogs are very active and do not make good lapdogs.
Norwegian Lundehunds are friendly, happy, and playful, and they get along very well with children, other pets, and strangers. However, unless they are socialized at a young age, these dogs may become shy and fearful. They should never be aggressive, though, even when around unfamiliar people or dogs.
These dogs are protective of their human family, but in a non-violent way, and they make loyal and loving companions. However, they love to dig and hide food, a trait that can be traced all the way back to their Norwegian roots. They also enjoy spending time outdoors and benefit from a securely fenced yard to run and play in.
Because of their even disposition, loving nature, and friendliness with everyone, these dogs are easy to live with and make good pets for first time owners. However, they are not suitable for very busy families or couch potatoes; these dogs need someone who will take them outside frequently and play with them daily.
Free of most genetic diseases, Norwegian Lundehunds are a fairly healthy breed. Of course, this does not guarantee that any individual dog will not suffer from a health problem or genetic condition. It is important to purchase or adopt one of these dogs only from reputable sources.
Norwegian Lundehunds are prone to a digestive disorder called Lundehund syndrome, or leaky gut syndrome. This disorder may result from an allergy to grain, and a grain-free diet can sometimes help prevent or reverse the condition. Dogs afflicted with the syndrome are unable to absorb certain necessary nutrients and may have a shortened lifespan. This condition is common in Lundehunds and there is no cure at present. However, there are methods of controlling the disease and managing its side effects.
Routine veterinary care, proper nutrition, a grain-free diet, and regular exercise help ensure the longest life possible for this breed. In most cases, Norwegian Lundehunds live up to 12 years.
Norwegian Lundehunds are trainable dogs, but they can be stubborn and difficult to house-train. The best training approach with this breed is to use positive reinforcement techniques, such as play, praise, and food rewards. They respond especially well to praise and may become resistant if faced with harsh criticism or punishment.
Crate training is also beneficial, as Norwegian Lundehunds enjoy being in cavelike spaces. If individual dogs become anxious during storms or at other times, providing a crate may be calming. Also, these dogs tend to bark a lot, and this behavior can become excessive without training to correct it.
Because this breed tends toward shyness, it is crucial to begin socialization very early in life. Introducing Norwegian Lundehunds to a variety of sights and sounds, and involving them in activities that include unfamiliar people and other dogs, will help ensure tolerance later in life. Additionally, these dogs will benefit from continued socialization throughout life by frequent walks around town, visits to neighbors' homes, and trips to the dog park.
Norwegian Lundehunds are a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming, but they are known to shed a great deal. A daily brushing with a firm bristle brush should remove loose and dead hair and keep it from accumulating on clothing and furniture and along baseboards.
Bathing these dogs is rarely necessary, unless it is to remove some harmful, stinky, or sticky substance from the coat. When bathing is needed, a gentle canine shampoo and a thorough rinsing will protect the skin while making sure the coat ends up clean and manageable.
The nails need trimming every week or two to prevent snags and breaks, and the teeth should be brushed every day with a canine toothbrush and toothpaste. Weekly ears checks are also important, and excess wax accumulation or signs of infection should be reported to a veterinarian right away.
Norwegian Lundehunds originated on an island in their native Norway sometime during the 16th century. They were developed to hunt a type of bird called a Puffin, which was a popular feather and meat crop for farmers. The dogs would retrieve the birds from crevices in the sides of steep vertical cliffs, and over time, their body adapted to make this job easier. The breed developed unique characteristics, including extra toes on the front paws and a double-jointed neck.
In the 19th century, Norway made Puffin birds a protected species, which meant hunting them became illegal. Because of this, demand for Norwegian Lundehunds declined and the breed's numbers began falling. The breed neared extinction around World War II, but the dogs were saved due to the dedication of two concerned Norwegian friends.
Today, the breed is not at threat of extinction anymore, but its numbers still remain limited. These dogs are moderately popular as companion animals, and they are beloved by active families who desire a small and loving pet.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Norwegian Lundehund in 2011.