Norwegian Lundehund

Norwegian Lundehund looking forward

Quick Facts


15 to 18 pounds (male)

12 to 15 pounds (female)


13 to 15 inches (male)

12 to 14 inches (female)

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

Friendly, athletic companions.


The Norwegian Lundehund: A Marvel of the Canine World

There’s an undeniable charm and wonder about the Norwegian Lundehund that captures the heart of anyone who meets one. 


This remarkable breed, originating from the remote islands of arctic Norway, is known for its unique physical adaptations and its historical significance in hunting puffins. An enchanting blend of history, distinctive appearance, and cheerful disposition, the Norwegian Lundehund has endeared itself to dog enthusiasts and families worldwide. 


While not as universally recognized as some breeds, those who’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted with a Lundehund can attest to its singular charm.

History and Origin

The Puffin Dog’s Intriguing Past

The story of the Norwegian Lundehund begins on the remote and rocky coastlines of Norway’s Lofoten Islands. It’s here that these agile dogs were bred and honed for a very specific purpose: puffin hunting. Their name ‘Lundehund’ translates to ‘puffin dog’ in Norwegian. Before the 1600s, puffins were a significant source of meat and feathers for the islanders, and the Lundehund’s role was pivotal.


Adapting over centuries to navigate the narrow crevices and cliffs where puffins nested, the Lundehund developed some extraordinary characteristics. For instance, they possess six toes on each foot, instead of the usual four found in most breeds. This extra digit provided better grip on treacherous terrains.


But as the demand for puffin declined, primarily due to the protection of the bird species and shifts in human reliance, so did the Lundehund’s numbers. By the 20th century, the breed nearly faced extinction. However, thanks to dedicated breeders and enthusiasts, the Lundehund saw a revival, transitioning from a working dog to a cherished companion.


While not a household name like some other breeds, Norwegian Lundehunds have made appearances in global dog shows and have slowly but steadily built a devoted following.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

A Distinct Look with Special Features

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small and agile dog, designed by nature to navigate rocky terrains. Typically weighing between 13 to 15 pounds and standing about 12 to 15 inches at the shoulder, they’re compact but sturdy.


One of the most distinctive features, as previously mentioned, is their polydactyly: they have six fully functional toes on each foot. But their uniqueness doesn’t stop there. Lundehunds also have flexible necks that allow them to tilt their heads backward, almost touching the spine. This elasticity extends to their shoulders, enabling them to stretch their front legs out straight to the side, both adaptations suited for hunting in narrow puffin burrows.


Their coat is double-layered, protecting them from the harsh Norwegian climate. The outer layer is dense and rough, while the inner layer is soft and woolly. While they can come in various colors, the most common shades include reddish-brown to fallow, often accompanied by white markings and a white-tipped tail.


Their ears are another highlight. Lundehunds can control them like no other breed, folding them forward, backward, or closed to protect against debris.

Personality and Temperament

Joyful Companions with a Dash of Independence

Norwegian Lundehunds are as joyful and endearing as they are unique. They are known for their playful and affectionate nature, often forming strong bonds with their families. They exude warmth, and their cheerful disposition makes them a delightful addition to any household.


Despite their playful demeanor, Lundehunds are also known for their independence and can be a bit stubborn at times. They are intelligent and curious, traits that served them well in their puffin hunting days, but this can also mean they like to explore and may not always listen to commands. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial to help them develop into well-behaved companions.


This breed is generally good-natured and gets along well with other dogs, but their hunting instincts can kick in around smaller pets. It’s always best to monitor their interactions with other animals, especially those of the feathered kind!

Health and Lifespan

A Hardy Breed with Specific Needs

The Norwegian Lundehund, adapted to the challenging environment of Norway’s cliffs, is a generally robust breed with a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years. However, they do have some specific health considerations prospective owners should be aware of.


A primary health concern for Lundehunds is Lundehund Syndrome, a set of gastrointestinal disorders that can affect their ability to digest food properly. It’s vital for owners to be vigilant about their diet and promptly address any digestive issues. Regular veterinary check-ups and a well-balanced, consistent diet are key to managing this condition and ensuring a Lundehund’s well-being.


Other common health considerations include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye issues. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary care can help mitigate these risks and contribute to a happy, healthy life for this unique breed.

Care and Maintenance

Norwegian Lundehund grooming

Caring for a Norwegian Lundehund can be a rewarding experience, bringing joy and a sense of companionship. Due to their history of navigating rocky terrains and hunting, they have moderate exercise needs. Regular walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation through games and puzzles can keep them happy and healthy.


Grooming is relatively straightforward, with their double coat requiring regular brushing to remove loose hairs and reduce shedding. They don’t need frequent baths unless they get particularly dirty. Pay attention to their unique feet; regular nail trims are essential to keep them comfortable and prevent overgrowth.


Diet is a vital aspect of a Lundehund’s care, especially considering their susceptibility to Lundehund Syndrome. A consistent, balanced, and high-quality diet, along with regular veterinary check-ups, can help monitor and manage their digestive health.


In summary, while the Lundehund does have specific needs, the joy and companionship they bring make the care and maintenance a rewarding endeavor for any pet lover.

Training and Behavior

Smart but Stubborn: A Delightful Challenge

Training a Norwegian Lundehund can be a delightful yet challenging endeavor. These dogs are intelligent and quick learners, but their independent nature and occasional stubbornness can make training an interesting task! Positive reinforcement, consistency, and patience are key when training a Lundehund.


Early socialization is crucial for this breed, helping them develop well-rounded personalities and reducing the likelihood of timidity or aggression. Obedience training should start young, focusing on basic commands and gradually introducing more complex tasks.


While Lundehunds are generally well-behaved, their hunting instincts and curiosity can lead to exploratory behaviors. Providing them with a secure environment and engaging play can help manage these traits and prevent unwanted behaviors.

Norwegian Lundehund and Families

Norwegian Lundehund with people

Adorable Companions for the Right Family

Norwegian Lundehunds make charming family pets, bringing joy and lively energy to the household. They form strong bonds with their families and are typically good with children, particularly when socialized early. However, their independent nature means they might not always tolerate rough handling, so it’s important to teach children how to interact respectfully with them.


As for other pets, Lundehunds generally get along well with dogs but can be wary of smaller animals due to their hunting instincts. Proper introductions and supervision are essential when integrating a Lundehund into a multi-pet household.

Adopting a Norwegian Lundehund

Bringing Home a Unique Friend

Adopting a Norwegian Lundehund can be a joyous and fulfilling experience, but it’s important for potential owners to be well-informed and prepared for the breed’s specific needs. Consider adopting from reputable breeders or rescue organizations that prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs.


Before bringing home a Lundehund, ensure your lifestyle aligns with their needs for exercise, training, and healthcare. Be prepared for their independent nature and invest time in training and socialization.


With the right preparation and commitment, adopting a Norwegian Lundehund can be a rewarding journey, filled with love, joy, and the companionship of a truly unique canine friend!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is unique about the Norwegian Lundehund?

The Norwegian Lundehund has several unique physical characteristics, including six toes on each foot, flexible joints, and the ability to tip their head backward to touch their back, adaptations for hunting puffins in narrow crevices.

How much grooming does a Norwegian Lundehund require?

Their coat is relatively easy to care for, requiring regular brushing to remove loose fur and occasional baths to keep them clean.

Are Norwegian Lundehunds good family pets?

Yes, they are known for their friendly and playful nature. They do well in families and can adapt to living with children and other pets if properly socialized.

What health issues can affect Norwegian Lundehunds?

They are prone to a unique set of gastrointestinal disorders, known as Lundehund syndrome, which can affect their ability to absorb nutrients. Careful monitoring of their diet and health is essential.

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