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  • Temperament: Loyal, Energetic, Alert
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 188 of 192
  • Height: 13-15 inches (male), 12-14 inches (female)
  • Weight: 20-30 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Non-Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Norwegian Lundehund sitting facing forward, head turned slightly left
Norwegian Lundehund standing in three-quarter view, head facing forward
Norwegian Lundehund head and shoulders facing left
Norwegian Lundehund coat detail
Norwegian Lundehund

Find a Puppy: Norwegian Lundehund

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small rectangular and agile Spitz breed with unique characteristics not found in any other breed. Originating on remote islands of arctic Norway, the dog was used to wrestle and retrieve live puffin birds from the crevices of steep vertical cliffs. 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: 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 temperament is alert but not expected to be outgoing toward strangers.

HEAD

The head is wedge-shaped, of medium width and clean. Eyes – almond-shaped, yellow-brown to brown with a brown ring around the pupil. Light eyes are preferred. Eye rims are dark and complete. Ears – medium-size, triangular, broad at the base, carried erect and very mobile. The ear leather can be folded and turned up, backward or at right angles so that the ear openings are clamped shut.

BODY

Level back, short loin and slightly sloping croup, slight tuck up. Ribs are carried well back, well-sprung but not barrel-shaped.

COAT

Double coat with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat. The coat is short on the head and front of the legs, longer and thicker around the neck and back of thighs. It is dense on the tail with little feathering. The male typically has a thicker ruff around the neck. The Lundehund is presented naturally with no trimming.

LEGS

Moderate angulation with very elastic shoulders so that the front legs can extend out to the side. The legs are straight with slightly outward-turned feet. The feet are oval with at least six fully developed toes, five of which should reach the ground. Eight pads on each foot. The additional toes consist of one three jointed toe, like a thumb, and one two-jointed toe along with corresponding tendons and muscles that give the foot a strong appearance.

HINDQUARTERS

Moderate angulation in balance with the forequarters. Strong muscular upper and lower thighs. Feet: Oval, slightly outward turned with a minimum of six toes, of which four support the dog’s weight. There are seven pads with the center pad elongated. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are close but parallel.

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About the Norwegian Lundehund

At a glance, Lundehunds seem a typical northern breed: A spitz type with triangular ears, curving tail, and a dense double coat. But a closer look reveals several unique traits. They have feet with at least six fully functioning toes and extra paw pads, an “elastic neck” that can crane back so the head touches the spine, ears that fold shut, and flexible shoulders that allow forelegs to extend to the side, perpendicular to the body. This last anomaly produces the breed’s distinctive “rotary” gait.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Norwegian Lundehund

Find a Puppy: Norwegian Lundehund

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Norwegian Lundehund Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Norwegian Lundehund should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Norwegian Lundehund has a low-maintenance double coat, with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat. A weekly brushing will help to remove dirt and loose hair and keep the dog looking his best. The ears should be regularly inspected and cleaned if needed. The nails should be trimmed often if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort and problems walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

The Norwegian Lundehund has a medium to high energy level and is happiest when he has the opportunity to engage in some form of physical exercise on a daily basis. He will enjoy a brisk, 30-minute walk or a couple of ball-chasing sessions with his owner every day.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

The Lundehund is very sensitive and can develop trust issues, and harsh training methods should never be used. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. The breed is incredibly clever, affectionate, and fun-loving, and they are very smart and are problem-solvers of the first order.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

The Lundehund is generally a healthy breed, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as patellar luxation and eye disorders. The teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Patella Evaluation
Norwegian Lundehund
Norwegian Lundehund
Norwegian Lundehund
Norwegian Lundehund
Norwegian Lundehund

History

For centuries Lundehunds were bred on Vaeroy, a remote and rocky island off the Norwegian coast. Puffins nest in crevices in the island’s cliff walls. Islanders depended on pickled puffin meat to sustain them through long Arctic winters, and the strong, flexible Lundehund was the only way to reach them. These compact puffin dogs would climb the sheer rock walls, worm their way into tiny passages, and snatch the birds. Then they’d skid down the cliffs, with the squawking, flapping prize in their mouth.

Did You Know?

The Norwegian Lundehund is AKC's 169th breed.
At the February 2010 Board Meeting the Norwegian Lundehund became eligible for AKC registration, December 1, 2010, and was eligible for competition in the Non-Sporting Group, effective January 1, 2011.
At the November 2007 Board Meeting the Norwegian Lundehund was approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class this became effective July 1, 2008.
At the December 2003 board meeting the Norwegian Lundehund became eligible to compete in AKC companion events effective January 1, 2004.
The Norwegian Lundehund can fold its ears closed, forward or backward, at will.
The Norwegian Lundehund has been recorded in the foundation stock service since 1996.
The Norwegian Lundehund’s unique structure allows tipping of head backwards so top of head touches back bone.
The Norwegian Lundehund always has six toes on each foot, not dew claws, but toes.
The Norwegian Lundehund has an odd rotating front leg movement when coming back (American judges somewhat startled at this oddity).

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small rectangular and agile Spitz breed with unique characteristics not found in any other breed. Originating on remote islands of arctic Norway, the dog was used to wrestle and retrieve live puffin birds from the crevices of steep vertical cliffs. 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: 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 temperament is alert but not expected to be outgoing toward strangers.

HEAD

The head is wedge-shaped, of medium width and clean. Eyes – almond-shaped, yellow-brown to brown with a brown ring around the pupil. Light eyes are preferred. Eye rims are dark and complete. Ears – medium-size, triangular, broad at the base, carried erect and very mobile. The ear leather can be folded and turned up, backward or at right angles so that the ear openings are clamped shut.

BODY

Level back, short loin and slightly sloping croup, slight tuck up. Ribs are carried well back, well-sprung but not barrel-shaped.

COAT

Double coat with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat. The coat is short on the head and front of the legs, longer and thicker around the neck and back of thighs. It is dense on the tail with little feathering. The male typically has a thicker ruff around the neck. The Lundehund is presented naturally with no trimming.

LEGS

Moderate angulation with very elastic shoulders so that the front legs can extend out to the side. The legs are straight with slightly outward-turned feet. The feet are oval with at least six fully developed toes, five of which should reach the ground. Eight pads on each foot. The additional toes consist of one three jointed toe, like a thumb, and one two-jointed toe along with corresponding tendons and muscles that give the foot a strong appearance.

HINDQUARTERS

Moderate angulation in balance with the forequarters. Strong muscular upper and lower thighs. Feet: Oval, slightly outward turned with a minimum of six toes, of which four support the dog’s weight. There are seven pads with the center pad elongated. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are close but parallel.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Gray Check Mark For Standard Color 100
Reddish Brown Check Mark For Standard Color 159
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
Yellow Check Mark For Standard Color 232
Sable & White 165

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 002
Black Tips Check Mark For Standard Mark 053
Gray Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 028
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
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