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Norwegian Lundehund Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Norwegian Lundehund Association of America, Inc.

Native Country

Other Names
Lundehund, Chien Norvegien De Macareau, Norsk Lundehund, Norwegian Puffin Dog, Lundehund Noruego

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-14 Years

Litter Size
Average 2-3 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC Non-Sporting

General Description

The Lundehund is a small, rectangular Spitz type dog. The Lundehund has a great range of motion in its joints, allowing it to fit into and extricate itself from narrow passages. Dogs of this breed are able to bend their head backwards along their own spine and turn their forelegs to the side at a 90-degree horizontal angle to their body, much like human arms. Their pricked, upright ears can be folded shut to form a near-tight seal by folding forward or backward. The Lundehund is a polydactyl: instead of the normal four toes per foot, the Lundehund normally has six toes, all fully formed, jointed and muscled. Some specimens may on occasion have more or fewer than six toes per foot. The outercoat is dense and rough with a soft undercoat. The Lundehund is adapted to climb narrow cliff paths in Rost where it originally would have hunted puffins.

Breed Standard

Head: Medium width, conical shape. Slightly domed skull. Pronounced eyebrows. Pronounced stop. Slightly arched nose bridge. Absence of premolars is common.
Ears: Medium size, triangular. Broad at the base. Very mobile, carried erect. When the dog is underwater, the ear folds back sealing the ear canal.
Eyes: Slightly almond shaped. Yellowish-brown color.
Body: Rectangular outline. Strong. Fairly strong neck with collarette. Long chest is well let down. Straight back. Slightly sloped croup. Slightly tucked up belly.
Tail: Set high. Moderate length. Richly clad. Carried either in a ring, slightly curled over the back, or hanging.
Hair: Dense and heavy. Short on the head and front of the legs. Longer on the neck, back of the thighs, and tail. Soft undercoat.
Coat: Color always in combination with white: chestnut to fawn sprinkled with black-tipped hairs; gray; white with dark spots. Tips of hairs darken with age.
Size: Dog: 35 to 38 cm.Bitch: 32 to 35 cm.
Weight: Dog: approx. 7 kg.Bitch: approx. 6 kg.


The Lundehund originated on Vaeroy Island, one of the Lofoten Islands off the northern coast of Norway. The breed is thought to have been developed in the village of Mostad. In the past, the Lundeund was used for hunting web-footed birds and puffins (Lunde in Norwegian) on cliffs and for guarding livestock. When this work was abandoned, the breed almost disappeared. It was not reestablished until after 1960. This breed is esteemed for its special skills and the fact that its anatomical structure is very similar to that of primitive dogs.


This vigorous, energetic, alert, lively dog has an independent streak, but is not aggressive. He is a cheerful, affectionate pet. The breed is remarkably agile and flexible. In fact, Lundehund can turn his forelegs straight out at 90-degree angles, and his neck is so flexible, he can touch his back with his head. Firm training is required.

This dog cannot be confined indoors. He needs space and considerable exercise. Regular brushing and combing are required.


Hunting Dog, Pet.


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, though the disease can be managed.

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