Norwegian Lundehund

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Is the Norwegian Lundehund right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Norsk Lundehund; Lundehund; Norwegian Puffin Dog

The basics:
The Norwegian Lundehund is a small Spitz-type dog developed at least as early as the 16th century to hunt and retrieve island-nesting Puffins, a meat and feather bird with a stout bill and strong claws they could use in defense of their stony nestholes. Once the Puffin became a protected species, this dog fell out of favor and it almost become extinct during World War II. The modern Norwegian Lundehund is descended from a mere five dogs found on the remote island of Mastad, but it has rebounded so well that it was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2011.

As you might expect of a dog trained to pull living birds from their rocky retreats on desolate islands, the Norwegian Lundehund is tough, agile, and fearless. With at least six toes on each foot, it's well-adapted to a surprisingly specialized job. They like to climb and jump, and they may enjoy springing on their food or toys. They think for themselves, as they would have had to do as Puffin hunters, and sometimes they can be stubborn about accepting your guidance. Some owners throw their hands up in their air over the question of housebreaking, saying that they simply had to give up and install a doggy door to the outside. Be an experienced and consistent dog psychologist, or you could become frustrated with this challenging breed.

Appearance / health:
The Lundehund is a small Spitz-type dog. The wedge-shaped head is of medium width. The stop is pronounced. The Lundehund has 38 teeth while other dogs have 42 teeth. They can fold their triangular "prick" ears, forward or backward, at will, possibly helping to keep water and dirt out. They have six toes on each foot. The footpad also reflects this difference in its shape and contour. They have different or more control over the muscles in their ears. They have a flexible neck and can turn its head 180 degrees over its back. Only two mammals in the world possess this unique characteristic, which are the Lundehund and reindeer. Their shoulder joints are moveable, enabling them to spread their legs out wide. This feature is necessary to retain balance near difficult terrain. The tail is well covered with hair.

The Norwegian Lundehund does not require much grooming, as they do not shed much. An occasional brushing is sufficient to keep their coats in good condition. Bathing is done only when required.

Lundehunds require regular exercise in the form of daily walks. They enjoy being off leash in wide, open spaces.

All owners may need to be aware of the Lundehund syndrome, which is a collective term for all gastrointestinal disorders that include bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. In this disorder, the dog may stop eating or show lethargy. Sometimes the symptoms are more subtle.

Behavior / temperament:
Lundehunds are adorable dogs that love to spend time with their owners, preferably in their laps. Without the company of their masters, they are likely to be unhappy. They tend to display few primitive characteristics such as hoarding food. Housebreaking is difficult with these dogs.

They like to mark their territories. They have good hunting instincts and enjoy chasing other animals and birds. They are sensitive to every sound in their atmosphere, which can lead to excessive barking. Digging is common in most Lundehunds. They are highly inquisitive by nature, and may not respond to the owner's calls easily. Some dogs love to carry toys in their mouths.

The Lundehund responds better to positive reinforcement methods than harsh training methods. Early socialization and obedience training is needed for them. Crate training is helpful and the dog may be crated when left unsupervised.

They respond to anything unusual in their environment. Some of them may bark excessively. Proper socialization and sufficient exercise may help to prevent this tendency.

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