Norwegian Lundehund Dog Breed History and Origins


The Norwegian Lundehund dog breed is a unique and fascinating breed with a rich history and intriguing origins. In this article, we will explore the captivating journey of the Norwegian Lundehund, from its ancient beginnings to its present-day status as a beloved companion and show dog. Get ready to dive into the extraordinary world of this remarkable canine!

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The Ancient Beginnings

The history of the Norwegian Lundehund can be traced back over a thousand years to the remote and rugged islands of Norway. These islands, with their treacherous cliffs and seabird colonies, provided the perfect habitat for the Lundehund’s ancestors.

Origins of the Lundehund Name

The name “Lundehund” can be broken down into two parts: “Lunde,” which means puffin, and “hund,” which means dog. This unique name reflects the breed’s original purpose – to hunt puffins in the steep cliffs and dense vegetation of the Norwegian coast.

Hunting Puffins

The Norwegian Lundehund was specifically bred for the challenging task of hunting puffins, a seabird known for its remarkable ability to evade capture. With their agile bodies, six toes on each foot, and extraordinary flexibility, Lundehunds were able to navigate the treacherous cliffs and capture puffins in their nests.

Distinctive Physical Characteristics

One of the most remarkable features of the Norwegian Lundehund is its unique and distinctive physical characteristics. These dogs have an unusually high number of toes – six on each foot, compared to the typical five on most dogs. This extra digit, known as a polydactyl, gives Lundehunds an incredible advantage when climbing and navigating steep terrain.

Near Extinction and Resurgence

In the early 20th century, the Norwegian Lundehund faced a severe threat of extinction. The decline in puffin population, changes in hunting methods, and the destruction of their natural habitat all contributed to the decline of the breed. Fortunately, a dedicated group of breed enthusiasts worked tirelessly to save the Lundehund from disappearing forever.

Recognition and Preservation

Thanks to the efforts of these dedicated individuals, the Norwegian Lundehund was officially recognized by the Norwegian Kennel Club in the 1930s. This recognition brought much-needed attention to the breed’s unique qualities and helped to preserve and promote its continued existence.

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Modern-Day Roles

While the days of puffin hunting are long gone, the Norwegian Lundehund has found a new purpose in the modern world. Today, these exceptional dogs excel in various roles, including search and rescue, therapy work, and competitive dog sports such as agility and obedience.

Characteristics and Temperament

Norwegian Lundehunds are known for their friendly and playful nature. They are intelligent, alert, and highly trainable, making them fantastic companions for active individuals or families. Due to their ancient origins, they may display some primitive behaviors, such as resource guarding and a strong prey drive, but with proper training and socialization, these traits can be managed effectively.

Building a Relationship with a Lundehund

Developing a strong bond with a Norwegian Lundehund requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. They thrive on mental and physical stimulation, so engaging them in regular exercise and interactive games is essential. Providing a stimulating and enriching environment will help keep their curious minds engaged and prevent boredom-related behaviors.

Health Considerations

Like all dog breeds, the Norwegian Lundehund is prone to certain health conditions. One of the most significant health challenges faced by this breed is Lundehund Syndrome, a digestive disorder that affects their ability to absorb nutrients. Regular health check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper veterinary care are crucial in maintaining their overall well-being.


The Norwegian Lundehund dog breed is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of canine evolution. From its ancient hunting days to its present-day role as a cherished companion, the Lundehund’s journey is one filled with mystery, determination, and a strong will to survive. If you are looking for a unique and fascinating canine companion, the Norwegian Lundehund may just be the perfect addition to your family.


1. What is the Norwegian Lundehund’s origin?

  • The Norwegian Lundehund is an ancient breed originating from the remote islands of Norway. They were primarily found on the Lofoten Islands and Værøy Islands.

2. What was the original purpose of the Norwegian Lundehund?

  • The Lundehund was originally bred to hunt puffins and their eggs in the steep cliffs and caves of the Norwegian coast. They were well-suited for this task due to their unique physical characteristics.

3. How did the Norwegian Lundehund adapt to its hunting role?

  • Lundehunds developed distinctive physical traits, such as extra toes, a flexible neck, and an ability to close their ears to prevent dirt and water from entering, to help them navigate the treacherous cliffs during hunts.

4. When did the Norwegian Lundehund gain recognition as a distinct breed?

  • The Norwegian Lundehund was recognized as a distinct breed in the 1930s by the Norwegian Kennel Club and the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) in 1943.

5. How did World War II impact the Lundehund breed?

  • During World War II, the Lundehund population declined significantly as many dogs were killed or taken by German soldiers. The breed almost faced extinction.

6. What efforts were made to preserve the Norwegian Lundehund breed?

  • After the war, dedicated breed enthusiasts worked to rebuild the Lundehund population. They focused on breeding and preserving this unique breed’s characteristics.

7. Are there any specific health concerns associated with the Norwegian Lundehund?

  • Lundehunds are prone to certain health issues, including gastrointestinal problems and hip dysplasia. Responsible breeding and regular vet check-ups are essential for their well-being.

8. How is the Norwegian Lundehund’s temperament and personality?

  • Lundehunds are known for their independent and stubborn nature. They are often described as alert, playful, and friendly, but they may also be reserved with strangers.

9. Is the Norwegian Lundehund a good choice for families or individuals?

  • The Lundehund can be a great companion for active individuals and families, provided they receive proper socialization and training from an early age.

10. Can the Norwegian Lundehund adapt to different living environments?

  • While they can adapt to different living environments, they thrive in homes with access to outdoor space where they can exercise and explore. They are not typically suited for apartment living.


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