Norwegian Lundehund

Other names: Norwegian Puffin Dog, Norsk Lundehund

Norwegian Lundehund
Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small spitz breed. It gets its name from a combination of two Norwegian words which mean puffin (Lunde) and dog (Hund). In other words, it’s the puffin dog. It earned this name after being used to hunt Puffin birds and their eggs. They would often navigate narrow cliff paths in search of their prey. This would be very risky for most dogs, but the Lundehund actually has six toes, giving them extra grip and balance when traversing narrow cliff paths and rugged terrain. 

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Key facts about the Norwegian Lundehund

  • Life expectancy : Between 11 and 13 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful, Intelligent
  • Size : Small
  • Type of coat : Long
  • Price : Between £1600 and £1800

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types

Section

Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Norwegian Lundehund

Adult size

Female dog Between 13 and 14 in
Male dog Between 14 and 15 in

Weight

Female dog Between 11 and 15 lb
Male dog Between 13 and 18 lb

Coat colour

Reddish-brown to fawn with black hair tips; black or gray with white markings; white with dark markings.

Type of coat

Medium-length, dense, rough topcoat. Thick, soft undercoat.

Eye colour

Brown.

Description

Small, square shaped body. Thick neck. Small head with elongated muzzle. Long, thin legs. Thick bushy tail that stands upwards. 

Temperament

Affectionate

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Incredibly affectionate little dog. Loves snuggling up to its owners at the end of a long, hard day. A really rewarding family pet.

Playful

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Very playful and active. Especially enjoys playing fun games with young children. 

Calm

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An excitable breed with lots of energy to burn. Can become a bit overwhelming if not socialised from a young age.

Intelligent

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A naturally intelligent animal. Understands basic voice commands. Smart enough to perform in agility and obedience trials.

Hunter

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Bred to hunt. They’re quick, agile, and very brave. Specialises in tracking Puffin birds.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Very friendly and social around strangers and new people. Will make friends with anyone. Has a gentle nature that is perfect for people who may feel nervous around dogs.

Independent

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A naturally obedient dog that thrives under the guidance of an affectionate owner. Needs lots of contact with its "master." Requires lots of praise and positive reinforcement

Behaviour of the Norwegian Lundehund

Tolerates solitude

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This dog should never be left alone for long periods of time. 

Easy to train / obedience

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Responds really well to training based around positive reinforcement. Needs lots of rewards and praise. Naturally obedient. Quick learner.

Barking

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Generally very quiet. Is unlikely to start barking for no reason. Very quiet during the evenings.

Tendency to run away

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These adventurous dogs do have a tendency to go “exploring.” Make sure all outdoor spaces are properly secured.

Destructive

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These dogs are very prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviour. 

Greedy / Gluttony

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Quite a greedy little dog. They can also turn on those puppy dog eyes at will. Stay strong and limit those doggy treats!

Guard dog

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A first rate watchdog. Alert. Lively. Very protective and territorial.

First dog

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A really good starter dog. Naturally obedient and very easy to train. These small dogs are also easy to handle. Unlikely to display any aggressive or stubborn behaviours.

Lifestyle

Norwegian Lundehund in a flat

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As long as they’re getting enough exercise, these dogs can live quite happily in flats.  

Need for exercise / Sporty

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60 mins a day will keep them happy. They also need plenty of time off the leash to run free and explore. A short morning walk followed by a longer walk in the early evening is ideal.

Travelling / easy to transport

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Small enough to travel with the commercial airlines that allow dogs onto their planes. Comfortable on short car and train journeys.

Compatibility

Norwegian Lundehund and cats

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Despite being a hunting breed, these dogs can live alongside cats quite happily. They show little interest in chasing felines.

Norwegian Lundehund and dogs

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Very friendly and sociable around other dogs. Loves to play with other canines.

Norwegian Lundehund and children

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The perfect family dog. Playful. Affectionate. Really enjoys being around children of all ages. 

Norwegian Lundehund and the elderly

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A great companion for active elderly people. A soft-natured animal that is fairly easy to handle. 

Price

The cost of buying a Norwegian Lundehund puppy will be between £1600 to £1800. Monthly costs will be between £50 to £60.

Grooming

Its thick, coarse outer coat needs brushing two/three times a week. Regular visits to the doggy salon are also required. 

Shedding

Sheds heavily during spring and autumn.

Nutrition of the Norwegian Lundehund

2 to 3 cups of high-quality dog food split over two daily meals.

Health of the Norwegian Lundehund

Life expectancy

Does suffer with certain digestive disorders and lacks genetic diversity. Its average life expectancy is between 11 and 13 years.

Strong / robust

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A small but strong little dog. Robust enough to thrive in harsh rugged terrain.
 

Withstand heat

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Even after shedding, these dogs will struggle in the heat. Their double coats are designed to keep heat in. Keep them in the cool during the hottest parts of the day. 

Withstand cold

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No problems dealing with the cold. Their coats are double layered and provide excellent insulation against the cold, the wind, and the rain.

Tendency to put on weight

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A greedy dog that will just keep on eating. Restricting their food intake is really important in preventing obesity

Common illnesses

  • Gastroenteropathy
  • Fertility issues
  • Short lifespans
  • High rates of puppy mortality

Good to know

A very expensive breed. People in the UK should expect to pay up to £2,000 for a purebred pup. 

Due to inbreeding, there is a high rate of puppy mortality. Only purchase from a well-established and reputable breeder. Any pups being sold “cheaply” should be avoided. 

Origins and history

The Norwegian Lundehund has been a valuable working dog for hundreds of years. It’s been helping Scandinavian hunters ever since the Viking Ages and became especially popular during the 16th and 17th century. Its flexible body and extra toes were ideal for navigating the cliff side regions of Norway, the natural habitat of the puffin bird. However, as new commercial hunting methods were adopted in the 20th century, the Lundehund’s numbers began to decline. This was exasperated by the introduction of a dog tax in Norway to deter hunters who were still using the traditional methods. The breed was decimated around the 1950s after an outbreak of a viral disease called canine distemper. It's thought that at one point there were less than six surviving Lundehunds. Today's numbers are much more healthy. There are an estimated 14,000 Lundehunds around the world, and a team of specialist breeders are working on raising that number even further. 

Names

Dag, Erik, Mia, Tinka

Find out more dog name ideas here

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