Norwegian Lundehund

What makes the Norwegian Lundehund interesting?

Well, they’re not just outdoorsy and active. Lundehunds are one of the rarest dog breeds in the world. 

They’re even believed to be descendants of an ancient dog breed back from the Ice Age.

What’s more, this Norwegian dog breed has an unusual number of toes, too! 

While these are some fascinating facts about this furry friend, you might ask:

“Are Norwegian Lundehunds good pets?”

Don’t worry. If you want to keep Norwegian Lundehund puppies at home, then this article is for you.

Today, we’ll cover the vital information (and lots of cool facts!) you need to know about this cheerful doggo.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Norwegian Puffin Dog

The Norwegian Lundehund Dog Breed Profile

This dog breed is native to the Nordic race and traditionally a part of their everyday hustle and bustle.

With their hunting instincts, Norwegian Lundehunds are extremely adventurous and curious dogs. But they’re affectionate and loyal, too!

Here’s a quick overview of this Norwegian dog breed and what makes them so rare.

Physical Traits of the Norwegian Lundehund Dog

General Appearance

The Norwegian Lundehund is a medium-sized dog breed with a rectangular body proportion.

It has pointy, triangular-shaped ears and tails curving at its back when at rest.

Moreover, Lundehunds have brown, fairly deep-set eyes and small, wedge-shaped heads.

At a glance, they may look average. But, Norwegian Lundehunds are muscled and lean, which matches their active lifestyle.

Height and Weight

The male Norwegian Lundehund dog typically stands 13-15 inches upon maturity, while females stand between 12-14 inches.

Meanwhile, a Lundehund weighs around 20-30 pounds, given that proper diet and exercise are supervised.

Coat and Color

Lundehunds have durable, dense, and short outer coats, while their undercoats are softer and smoother.

With regards to color, the Norwegian Lundehund has a tan to reddish-brown accent with black and white markings on their coat.

Trivia: Lundehunds develop more black hair as they grow older.

Relevant Read: Grooming Different Types of Dog Coats

Living Conditions

Norwegian Lundehunds make great home companions and camping buddies, too.

Thanks to their hunting instincts, Lundehunds are awesome adventure pals that can withstand strenuous and agile activities, such as mountain climbing.

That said, this active dog breed needs ample space at home to roam and play. 

Lundehunds can live in apartments but should be pet-proofed due to their hunting instincts and prey drive.

Just a heads up, Norwegian Lundehunds can be a little too vocal and bark at what they find new or suspicious.

So, allowing them into your home requires your patience, understanding, and maybe… a little disclaimer for your neighbors.

The Norwegian Lundehund Dog Personality

Norwegian Lundehunds are intelligent yet independent dog breeds. Training them could be extra difficult, especially housebreaking.

Despite their wild instincts, Lundehunds are friendly and lovely dogs, too. 

They adore outdoor activities and are extremely curious.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Lundehunds make perfect watchdogs. They are cautious around strangers, and they have barking tendencies at new things around them. 

Are Norwegian Lundehund Good Pets for Kids?

Norwegian Lundehunds are good pets for kids due to their small to medium size and friendly nature, especially if they’ve been raised with children at a young age.

However, it’s best to supervise and teach kids the proper ways of handling dogs at all times.

This is to avoid any untoward incidents at home between your pets and family members.

The Norwegian Lundehund Health and Care

Lundehunds are generally active and healthy dogs. But without proper care and nourishment, they’re also prone to illnesses and health problems.

Here are some of the vital things to consider in caring for a Norwegian Lundehund dog:


Norwegian Lundehunds have short coats, but they do shed a lot. 

That said, you might need a good-quality de-shedding brush to remove loose hair effectively.

Shedding in Lundehunds can be triggered by drastic temperature changes, especially in the summer and winter seasons.

Moreover, this active doggo only needs bathing for at least 3-4 months. But it depends on their lifestyle at home, too.

Other grooming essentials like nail clipping, teeth cleaning, and ear cleaning must be done regularly.


The Norwegian Lundehund's major health concern is the so-called Lundehund Syndrome.

This is simply the common gastrointestinal problem that most dogs have. 

But, the stomach issue that Lundehunds suffer from is genetic rather than just indigestion alone.

While this problem can be cured and prevented, some Lundehunds can die from it.

Unfortunately, this syndrome is often a result of bad breeding practices. 

So, it’s recommended to look for a reputable breeder when planning to adopt a Norwegian Lundehund.

The Lundehund Life Span

The Norwegian Lundehund’s life expectancy ranges between 12 to 14 years, given that proper care is provided, such as:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Living condition
  • Socialization and training

Why are Norwegian Lundehund so rare?

The Norwegian Lundehund became one of the rarest dog breeds in the world when puffins almost went extinct in Norway in the 1900s.

In context, Lundehunds are used for hunting puffins for various uses in Norway back in the day. 

However, new techniques and methods of puffin hunting were introduced at the time, rendering Lundehunds to little use.

Plus, it’s not uncommon that many Lundehunds die from hunting birds due to the difficulty of their roles.

Brief History of the Norwegian Lundehund Dog

Despite its unclear origins, the Norwegian Lundehund dog is believed to be a canine breed from the Ice Age ancestry.

The primitive roots of the Lundehunds are traced in the unique culture of Norway — hunting puffins!

Norwegian Lundehunds are closely knitted in the Nordic tradition and their economy as hunter-dogs.

However, the decline in the puffin population in the 1900s signaled the same for this hardworking dog breed.

Unfortunately, the world war followed, and the economy went downhill, resulting in having dogs of any breed quite costly.

This eventually made them so rare.

In a positive light, the Norwegian Kennel Club recognized the Norwegian Lundehund breed as its own in 1932.

And 30 years later, when the Norwegian Lundehund Club was established, Lundehunds were bred once again across Europe.

In 2011, this dog breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as one of the rarest in the world.

Norwegian Dog Breed Personality

7 Interesting Facts About The Norwegian Lundehund Dog

This rare dog breed definitely offers more than what meets the eye.

So, here’s a list of some of the most interesting facts about Norwegian Lundehunds.

1. They Were Bred To Hunt Puffins

Also known as the Norwegian Puffin dog, Lundehunds are famous for their puffin hunting abilities.

Back in the day, the Norwegian population relied on Lundehunds to scour the northern mountains and islands for food.

Puffins are a staple in Norway. 

Apart from nutrition, other uses of this bird include stuffing its feathers into pillows and mattresses.

What’s more, the Norwegian Lundehunds are so skilled that they often collect up to 50 puffins after each hunting session with or without their owners.

Aside from puffins, this Norwegian dog breed also hunts for fish and other birds.

Trivia: The name Lundehund is derived from a Norwegian compound noun — lunde or lundfugl (puffin) and hund (dog).

2. They Have 6 Cute Toes

And extra pads on their feet, too!

Despite lacking 2 more jaw teeth, unlike most breeds, Norwegian Puffin dogs have 1 extra toe bean instead.

This condition is officially referred to as polydactylism

With all toes fully developed, Lundehunds can conveniently grip steep obstacles hunting puffins and digging burrows for nests. 

Trivia: Four of the Lundehund toes point forwards while the other 2 point inwardly. 

Interestingly, there are other dog breeds with extra toes, such as the following:

However, most of these dog breeds have extra toes that aren’t attached to the paw, with no bones at all.

They’re either attached to the skin or muscles.

3. They Can Wiggle Their Ears

Of course, what else can’t a Norwegian Lundehund do?

As hunter-dogs, this mighty breed wiggles its ears to easily decode sounds and locate puffins efficiently.

What’s even more interesting, Lundehunds can open and close their ears, too!

This helps them protect their ear canals from dirt and water when they’re digging underground or lurking in dark caves for other prey.

4. They Almost Went Extinct

After taxes were levied on Lundehund owners by the Norwegian government, this dog breed, unfortunately, reached its bottleneck.

This was followed by the decline of the puffin population due to the rise in popularity of hunting using nets by locals.

But in the early part of the 20th century, Norwegian Puffin dogs were found in a small fishing village on the island of Vaeroy.

While this saved their number, the Norwegian Lundehund’s escape from extinction is mainly credited to a dog breeder named Eleanor Christie.

Later on, Christie acquired Lundehunds from the fishing village in Mastad and started breeding them again. 

Trivia: According to a study, there are approximately 1,500 Norwegian Lundehund dogs in the world. 

Interestingly, this number came from only 2 purebred Lundehunds.

5. They Are Believed To Be Descendants of Varanger Dogs

Although Lundehunds are native to Northern Norway, experts believe they are of Varanger descent.

Varanger dogs are found in Russia. They’re now extinct but lived around 5,000-7,000 years ago.

When Varanger fossils were discovered in Lapland, Russia, it was found that they share uncanny similarities with the Lundehunds, such as the following:

  • Extra toes
  • Double-jointed neck
  • 2 teeth lacking in the jaws
  • Ability to close and open the ears

While this finding hasn’t been confirmed yet, it’s safe to say that they could be long-lost relatives!

6. They Are of A Spitz Type

Despite the debates in the doggy-verse, the Norwegian Lundehunds are said to have a genetic resemblance with the Spitz breed.

In Germany, the term Spitz means pointed. They’re also attributed to as breeds with the following traits:

  • Curly tail
  • Thick coat
  • Pointed ears
  • Short, pointed muzzles
  • Small to medium in size

Moreover, similar dog breeds, like the Finnish and Nordic Spitz, are known to be skilled hunter-dogs.

They can also thrive in cold climates due to their origins in the Arctic and Siberian regions.

This temperature tolerance allows them to scour the cold mountains for food on a regular basis.

7. They Are Flexible Dogs 

And by that, we mean the physical aspect.

Due to their small nature, Norwegian Lundehunds are agile enough to hunt for puffins even on cliffs.

This physical ability can also be attributed to their double-jointed shoulders. 

That said, the Norwegian Puffin dog can bend its head backward, with its back or spine touching the forehead.

What’s even more jaw-dropping is that this dog breed can spread its front legs sidewards, particularly at a 90-degree angle.

They can do splits without discomfort at all, which aided their roles as hunters.

And now, we pretty much understand why puffins almost went extinct, too!

Relevant Read: 13 Best Hunting Dogs You Should Know About

Norwegian Hunter Dogs

The Norwegian Lundehund Dog Breed: In A Nutshell

Despite its size, the Norwegian Lundehund is definitely a force to be reckoned with, not to mention their amazing hunting skills.

And due to this instinct, Lundehunds are known for having independent personalities that set them apart from other dog breeds.

This puffin dog likes to take matters into their own hands.

And while their agility and stamina are admirable, this Norwegian dog breed can be extra difficult to train.

However, this concern is still manageable when proper training and socialization are given regularly or at an early age.

So, are you thinking of letting a Norwegian Lundehund puppy have a spot at home?

Fret not. This puffin dog is great around kids, too. Just remember to give parental supervision at all times to avoid accidents.

Finally, learning about the Norwegian Lundehund is also realizing a one great redemption story.

After years of near extinction, Lundehunds have been given an opportunity to share their skills, love, and loyalty with us as pet owners of the 21st century.

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Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.