Norwegian Lundehund: The Puffin-Hunting Marvel of Norway


Norwegian Lundehund: The Puffin-Hunting Marvel of Norway


The Norwegian Lundehund, also known as the Norsk Lundehund, is a unique and ancient breed of dog originating from Norway.

Known for its distinctive physical characteristics and historical role as a puffin hunter, the Norwegian Lundehund is a fascinating and rare breed with a lot to offer.

Here’s a detailed overview along with five commonly asked questions about this breed.

The Norwegian Lundehund is a dog that is known for its high level of energy, intelligence, and loyalty. Because they have an extra toe on each foot, these uncommon puppies make fantastic hiking partners because they adore being outside.

The Norwegian Lundehund is a breed that is extremely uncommon and unique. It possesses characteristics that are similar to those of a superhero.

Ancient Arctic dogs were once working dogs that went on puffin-hunting expeditions, scrambling up vertical and craggy cliff walls and wiggling their way into the tight crevices where the seabirds kept their nests.

They had extra toes and pliable legs, so they could get into the tight spaces where the seabirds nested.

As soon as puffins were designated as a protected species, the Lundehunds lost their employment as hunters and were on the verge of extinction before they were domesticated as companion animals.

“Their additional toes, flexible neck, and movable ears all worked to their advantage when it came to their job,” explains Linda Simon, MVB, MRCVS, consulting veterinarian at FiveBarks.

“Their additional toes, flexible neck, and adjustable ears all worked in their favor.” This breed is popular as a family pet in modern times and is known for having a good nature and getting along well with other people.

These toy-sized canines have double coats that are resilient, simple to care for, and moderately shedding. Their combined weight is less than 30 pounds.

The majority of Norwegian Lundehund dogs will demand an hour or more of daily exercise and play, and they adore being outside. Thanks to their ancestors in the Arctic, these dogs can withstand both cold weather and rainy situations.

The Norwegian Lundehund is a dog that is known for being sensitive, playful, and full of energy. This makes him a good candidate for active families.

It should come as no surprise that the climbing ability of Norwegian Lundehunds makes them excellent hiking companions; furthermore, they are a breed that is always eager for an adventure.


The striking and regal appearance of the Norwegian Lundehund is only one of her strikingly distinctive characteristics that have been passed down from her ancestors who lived throughout the ice period.

norwegian lundehund

This breed possesses some of the more typical characteristics of the spitz, including triangular ears resembling those of a fox, heads in the shape of wedges, and a tail that gracefully curls over the back.

On the other hand, Norwegian Lundehunds are distinguished from virtually every other breed of dog on the planet by several remarkable characteristics.

According to the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America, these canines have a minimum of six toes on each foot in addition to additional pads (NLAA).

They also have a stretchy neck that is so astonishingly flexible that the female’s head can crane backward and touch her spine. This is a characteristic that evolved as a result of the puffin bird’s need to hunt in tight caves.

The Norwegian Lundehund can perform her next trick by extending her front legs so that they lie flat to the side. This ability is made possible by her extra-flexible shoulders, which assisted her ancestors in hugging and climbing rocky cliffs so they could find puffins.

Additionally, these dogs’ ears can close like trap doors, so protecting them from being pecked by puffin beaks or being injured by hard and rocky terrain.

According to the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America (NLAA), the Norwegian Lundehund is a breed that ranges in size from miniature to medium, with males measuring 13–15 inches and females averaging slightly less at 12–14 inches.

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The Norwegian Lundehund Association of America (NLAA) describes the gait of Norwegian Lundehund dogs as “light and elastic.” These dogs have agile, rectangular bodies and weigh between 20–30 pounds.

The Norwegian Lundehund has a weatherproof double coat that consists of a coarse outer coat and a dense undercoat that is softer than the outer coat.

“The thick coat of the Norwegian Lundehund is great for cold weather and keeps them comfortable and toasty,” adds Simon. “The thick coat of the Norwegian Lundehund is perfect for cold weather.”

According to the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America (NLAA), the coat of a Norwegian Lundehund is shorter on the dog’s head and the front of her legs, but it gets thicker around the dog’s neck and on the rear of her thighs.

The ruff that sits around the neck of males is often more substantial. Their coats can be a variety of colors, ranging from reddish brown to tan, and white markings are most frequently found on the tops of their heads.

In addition, they frequently have markings of white, gray, black, and red on their bodies. The tip of their nose and lips are black, and their eyes have a yellowish-brown to brown color range.


In a nutshell, the Norwegian Lundehund is known for its boundless vitality and steadfast devotion.

norwegian lundehund

According to Sarah Wooten, DVM, a veterinary specialist with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, “this dog is sensitive, incredibly intelligent, a wonderful problem-solver, affectionate, and loves to have fun.”

The Norwegian Lundehund Association of America (NLAA) reports that Norwegian Lundehunds can be rather suspicious of new people.

But Wooten believes that Norwegian Lundehund puppies, when properly socialized and trained, may make for wonderful companion animals and can be a good choice for first-time pet parents. This is provided that the dogs get at least thirty to sixty minutes of energetic walking or playing each day.

According to Wooten, these canines are happiest in homes where they can spend time with their owners. “They are gregarious and to some degree pleasant with strangers, youngsters, and other pets,” the author writes.

Living Needs

According to Corinne Wigfall, DVM, BVS, BVM, consulting veterinarian with SpiritDog Training, the Norwegian Lundehund is not only a loving and loyal companion, but she can also be a great hiking and camping partner thanks to her inquisitive spirit, agile and athletic body, and those distinctive physical traits that make her so great at exploring rough terrain.

norwegian lundehund

She argues that the anatomy of the Lundehund makes it possible for them to grip, climb, descend, and fit into narrow gaps. This is because Lundehund’s original job was to climb cliffs while hunting for puffins.

According to Wigfall, the energy levels of these dogs are on the higher end of the spectrum; therefore, they need to engage in daily physical exercise and profit from participating in tasks.

Bring on the mentally challenging food puzzles, and be sure to schedule some time for quick but effective workouts.

Wigfall argues that Lundehunds benefit from activities such as chasing balls or Frisbees, hiking, or jogging through the neighborhood in addition to the daily minimum requirement of a thirty-minute walk for them.

No matter what kind of physical activity you do with your Norwegian Lundehund, they are happiest in homes where they can spend time with their human families.

According to Wooten, “as long as they receive adequate exercise, this dog would do just as well living in the suburbs as they would in an apartment.”

According to Simon, Norwegian Lundehunds are a breed that, as long as they are socialized from a young age, can coexist peacefully with other animals in the home. When your Lundehund is around youngsters, just like with other types of dogs, you need to keep an eye on them.

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The Norwegian Lundehund is a low-maintenance breed when it comes to its grooming requirements.

According to Wooten, because these dogs have a harsh outer coat and a soft undercoat, they need to be brushed at least once a week to remove loose hairs and dirt from their coats.

In addition, she suggests that pet parents trim their dog’s nails once every week to prevent them from overgrowing and brush their dog’s teeth once every day (or every other day).

The most important aspect of caring for your new puppy is making sure all those extra toes get plenty of exercise, as Norwegian Lundehunds are always eager to go for a walk, regardless of the temperature or the precipitation.

According to Simon, “They can deal well with wind, rain, and cold, and are at their happiest when walking somewhere purposefully.” Even if they prefer being indoors just as much, they require at least one hour of daily activity that takes place outside.

Because they are intelligent and gregarious, Norwegian Lundehunds make excellent candidates for training, particularly when the positive reinforcement sessions are combined with elements of play.

These dogs are sensitive and intelligent, and they will appreciate spending one-on-one time with you if you come prepared with some tasty goodies and are liberal with your praise and pats on the head.


The average lifespan of a Norwegian Lundehund is between 12 and 15 years, making them typically healthy dogs that are capable of living long and happy lives.

However, owners of this rare dog breed should be aware of some particular health difficulties that the breed is prone to, including problems with their dog’s digestive system.

According to Simon, intestinal lymphangiectasia is a health condition that affects this breed more frequently than other similar breeds. The symptoms, which typically begin to appear in middle-aged dogs, can include persistent vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of weight.

According to her, this illness can be controlled over the long term with a diet that is very low in fat. According to Simon, other gastrointestinal problems that are common in Lundehunds include:

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which can make it difficult for dogs to absorb nutrients and lead to diarrhea.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, which can cause chronic or recurrent vomiting.
  • Diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease, which can cause chronic or recurrent vomiting and diarrhea.
  • In addition, Norwegian Lundehunds should be checked for eye and knee problems such as luxating patellas.


The history of the Norwegian Lundehund is shrouded in a certain amount of conjecture and speculation.

However, the NLAA claims that these canines were discovered on the Lofoten Islands, which are located north of the Arctic Circle in an archipelago.

These working dogs have been known to accompany hunters as far back as the time of the Vikings, and they were able to scramble up steep and rugged cliffs to retrieve puffins from their nests.

In the northern coastal regions of Norway, where puffins were an important source of food and down feathers, Norwegian Lundehunds were an essential component of the local economy.

According to the NLAA, the majority of households owned up to a dozen hunting Lundehunds, and the value of these dogs far exceeded that of cows.

However, taxes were placed on the dogs by the government, and when other methods of puffin hunting, such as using nets, became more cost-effective, the population of Norwegian Lundehunds started to decrease.

In the 1800s, when puffins were recognized as an endangered species, Norwegian Lundehunds were no longer able to find work.

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The dog breed was spared from the brink of extinction during World War II by Norwegians who admired the pups, but even now, they are still considered to be a rare breed.

Fun Facts

  • The Norwegian Lundehund is distinguished by several distinct physical characteristics that aided it in its hunting of puffins. These characteristics include an elastic neck, six toes with additional pads, and the ability to fold her ears closed.
  • “puffin” is what the word “Lunde” means in Norwegian.
  • The American Kennel Club did not recognize the Norwegian Lundehund as a breed until 2011, despite the fact that the breed has a long history.

An Overview Of The Norwegian Lundehund

  • 12–15 inches
  • 20–30 pounds
  • 12–15 years
  • small (0-25 lbs.)
  • families
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • friendly
  • playful
  • high
  • normal
  • high
  • active
  • when necessary
  • low
  • non-sporting
  • short
  • red
  • brown / chocolate / liver
  • cream
  • white
  • bicolor
  • tricolor
  • saddle / blanket
  • easy to train
  • apartment-friendly
  • cold weather tolerant
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good hiking companion



Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)



What are the physical characteristics of the Norwegian Lundehund?

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small to medium-sized breed, characterized by its flexible body and six-toed feet. These extra toes, known as polydactylism, allow them to climb steep cliffs in their pursuit of puffins. They have a wedge-shaped head, erect ears that can rotate 180 degrees, and a curled tail.


What is the breed’s history and original purpose?

The Lundehund has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Its primary purpose was to hunt puffins and their eggs on the rugged cliffs of Norway’s coastal islands. The breed’s unique physical traits, such as its flexibility and extra toes, made it an ideal choice for this perilous task.


What is the temperament of the Norwegian Lundehund?

Lundehunds are known for their independence and strong-willed nature. They can be reserved but are generally loyal and affectionate with their families. They are intelligent dogs but can be stubborn, making training a bit challenging. Early socialization is crucial to ensure they get along with other pets and children.


Is the Norwegian Lundehund a healthy breed?

While the Lundehund is generally a hardy breed, it does have some health concerns. They are prone to gastrointestinal issues, including a condition known as Lundehund Syndrome, which affects their ability to digest certain foods. Potential owners should be aware of these health issues and work closely with veterinarians to manage them.


How active are Norwegian Lundehunds, and what are their exercise needs?

Lundehunds are an active breed that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation. Due to their history as puffin hunters, they have high energy levels and enjoy activities like hiking and agility training. Owners should provide them with ample opportunities to explore and play to keep them happy and healthy.

In summary, the Norwegian Lundehund is a unique and historically significant breed known for its flexibility, polydactylism, and role as a puffin hunter in Norway. While they have certain health concerns and a stubborn streak, they can make loving and loyal companions for those willing to invest in their care and training.

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