Friday, July 1, 2011

Unusual Breed: Lundehund

The Lundehund
The Lundehund is a Norwegian breed also known as the "puffin dog," with descriptions dating back as far as the 1500s. They were used by poor farmers to collect the bright-beaked birds which provided them with vital meat, especially in years when crops failed. They can be termed unusual in many ways: both due to their obscurity and their unique features. They are known for having extra toes on their feet: six or more total per paw. This was to help them grip while they went collecting puffins on rocky cliffs. They are also unusually flexible and their ears can close to protect them from dripping water.

Six toes on each paw: four + double dewclaws
When the puffin became a protected species, the breed's popularity dropped. It became nearly extinct before some concerned Norwegians saved it after World War II. Only five dogs remained. Today, it is a companion and is loved by its native Norway, though numbers still remain rather low.

They are accepted by the FCI, UKC, and recently the AKC. According to the AKC, the Lundehund is characterized as follows:

Size: 12-15 inches
Color: red sable and white or white and red sable, the red varying in shade
Temperament: protective, loyal, alert, energetic. Wary of strangers but not aggressive

Images are from on a Creative Commons license: one, two


  1. It's a shame these dogs have been bottlenecked after the War. Five of six of the Lundehunds which survived all came from the same mother.

    I wonder what a good outcross would be to cleanse the breed of gastroenteropathy. They don't have a stellar quality of life, basically sufferring a prolonged starvation for years on end.

  2. I agree. The Norbottenspets would probably be the best option. However, you could probably use just about any of the smaller Spitz breeds. For some reason the first thing that popped into my head was the Alaskan Klee Kai. I have no idea why. Anyway, it really just depends on how much back-crossing the breeders would be willing to do.