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Norwegian Lundehund
Characteristics, History, and Health

Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund, also known as the Norsk Lundehund, is an ancient dog breed that originated on the remote islands of Norway, particularly the Lofoten Islands. The breed's exact history is shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to have been developed as a specialized puffin hunter. The Lundehund's unique physical features, such as the ability to bend its head backward, extra toe on each foot, and flexible joints, allowed it to excel in navigating the treacherous cliffs and narrow crevices where puffins nested. The breed faced near-extinction in the mid-20th century, but dedicated breeding efforts helped to preserve and revitalize the Lundehund population.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Lundehund, Norsk Lundehund, Norwegian Puffin Dog
Life Expectancy
12-15 years
Average Male Height
13-15 inches
Average Female Height
12-14 inches
Average Male Weight
15-18 pounds
Average Female Weight
12-15 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Tan, Reddish Brown, Sable & White, White, Fallow
Coat Pattern
White Markings, Black Tips, Red Markings, Black Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Inherited health conditions associated with the Norwegian Lundehund include atrophic gastritis, follicular dysplasia, gastric carcinoma, lymphangiectasia, patellar luxation, protein-losing enteropathy, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Lundehund syndrome is an inherited disease of the stomach and intestines that results from a mutation in the LEPREL1 gene. Genetic testing can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Norwegian Lundehunds are known for their curious and independent nature. They are alert, intelligent, and have a strong prey drive. Due to their history as puffin hunters, they may have a tendency to chase small animals. They can be reserved with strangers but are typically loyal and affectionate with their family. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure they grow into well-mannered pets.

Fun Facts

The Norwegian Lundehund's unique physical features, including six fully functional toes on each foot, allow it to climb steep cliffs and squeeze into narrow crevices with ease.

They have an exceptional range of motion in their shoulder joints, enabling them to bend their head backward to touch their spine.They can also fold their ears closed, backward, or forward at will.

The Lundehund was recognized by the FCI in 1943 but didn't gain recognition by the AKC until 2008.

Due to their historical isolation, the breed's population dwindled to a critical low of only six dogs during World War II.

The Lundehund's ancient origins make it one of the rarest and most unique dog breeds in the world.