Norwegian Lundehund


Norwegian Lundehund
Norwegian Lundehund Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)13-15in (33-38cm)
Weight12-15lbs (5.5-7kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan12-14 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size2-3
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingLow
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftLow

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small Spitz-type dog. The body is rectangular with a deep chest, strong back, and a high-set tail carried in a ring or slightly rolled over onto the back. These dogs unusually have six toes per foot rather than the usual four. The slightly rounded head is wedge shaped with a medium length muzzle, slightly sloping eyes and erect and broad ears. These dogs display a great range of motion in their joints, and are able to bend their heads backwards along their spines and turn their forelegs to the side perpendicular to their bodies, much like we can with our arms. The outercoat is dense and rough with a soft undercoat, and the colouring tends to include black, grey, white, brown and sable.


Norwegian Lundehunds are playful and affectionate dogs with plenty of charm and energy. Often described as a cat and dog in one bundle, they can be as independent as cats and love to climb. They need extensive and early socialisation to prevent tendencies towards shyness and stress in unfamilar situations, but they also love interaction and to play with their owners and will often initiate gameplay. These inquisitive dogs are intelligent and need plenty of mental stimulation, but they are also very stubborn and independant and training can be challenging. In addition they are very difficult and often impossible to housebreak, like to hide their food around the house, and are also keen on barking. For these reasons they are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training rather than novices. Norwegian Lundehunds are often good with older, more considerate children when properly socialised with them, but are not suitable for smaller kids as they will not tolerate rough treatment. They can get along with other cats and dogs, but due to their inbred prey-drives they are not suitable to keep around smaller household pets. With their dexterous extra toes they have even been known to open hamster cages and devour the contents. These dogs tend to be reserved around strangers and make effective watch dogs.

History & Skills

Norwegian Lundehunds originate from Norway and have a history stretching back to the 1600s where they were used for hunting Puffins and their eggs along the Norwegian coast. Their name is comprised of Lunde, from the Norwegian lundefugl meaning puffin, and then hund, meaning dog. Their extra toes and flexibility made them idea for hunting these birds in some pretty inaccessible nesting locations on cliffs and in caves. They almost faced extinction after the Second World War and in the 1960s due to distemper, before careful breeding re-established their numbers, but are still relatively rare today.

Breed Specific Ailments

Norwegian Lundehunds tend to live between 12-14 years, and the main health problem noted in this breed is Lundehund syndrome. This is digestive disorder that can lead to an overgrowth of digestive bacteria, intestinal cancer, and an inability to absorb nutrients from food. There is no cure but the disaese can be managed. Avoid giving them high fat foods.


Norwegian Lundehunds are heavy shedders that shed seasonally and so are not suitable for those suffering from allergies. Their grooming requirements are not high though, and their double coat will simply need brushing once a week, stepping up to daily during the periods of heavier shedding. Their nails should be kept trimmed, especially as these dogs tend to have six toes per foot! Bathe only when necessary.

Exercise & Environment

Norwegian Lundehunds tend to live indoors but are not suited to small homes such as apartments as they like to bark. They will need a daily walk and an outside area in which to play. Walks should be leashed and outside areas need to be secure, as these dogs like to chase smaller animals.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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