Other names: Norwegian Puffin Dog, Norsk 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.
Key facts about the Norwegian Lundehund
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.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Norwegian Lundehund
Female : Between 13 and 14 in
Male : Between 14 and 15 in
Female : Between 11 and 15 lb
Male : Between 13 and 18 lb
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.
Small, square shaped body. Thick neck. Small head with elongated muzzle. Long, thin legs. Thick bushy tail that stands upwards.
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.
Incredibly affectionate little dog. Loves snuggling up to its owners at the end of a long, hard day. A really rewarding family pet.
Very playful and active. Especially enjoys playing fun games with young children.
An excitable breed with lots of energy to burn. Can become a bit overwhelming if not socialised from a young age.
A naturally intelligent animal. Understands basic voice commands. Smart enough to perform in agility and obedience trials.
Bred to hunt. They’re quick, agile, and very brave. Specialises in tracking Puffin birds.
Fearful / wary of strangers
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.
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
This dog should never be left alone for long periods of time.
Easy to train / obedience
Responds really well to training based around positive reinforcement. Needs lots of rewards and praise. Naturally obedient. Quick learner.
Generally very quiet. Is unlikely to start barking for no reason. Very quiet during the evenings.