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Norwegian Lundehund
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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. 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 a thousand dogs worldwide.

Their unique foot structure (at least six toes on each foot) and unusual flexibility enabled them to climb the steep, rocky cliffs and navigate the small burrows and crevices where the Puffins nest. These special physical characteristics attest to the ancient history of the breed, as these are primitive qualities that have been lost in the evolution of most other breeds of dog.

Today, the Lundehund is a true companion, loyal, playful and virtually non-aggressive to people and other dogs, even when challenged. While their history and remarkable physical characteristics put them at the center of conversation, their superior personality, even disposition, and small size make them an ideal, easy-to-live-with pet.

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