Norwegian Lundehund Overview: A Devoted & Spirited Breed

Published March 12, 2021
Typical Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund means "Puffin Hound" and is one of the most interesting small breeds. This breed is almost unheard of in the U.S. and uncommon except in his native Norway. Some researchers believe this breed isn't a dog at all and belongs to a wild-dog species.

Norwegian Lundehund Breed Overview

The Norwegian Puffin dog is known as agile and tilts his head back over his shoulder, which dogs cannot normally do. The Norwegian Lundehund or Norsk Lundehund also splays his forelegs out sideways! The breed's original use was to hunt puffins, a bird known as a sea parrot. The Lundehund's unique traits allow this dog to reach the bird's nests.

Origin and History

The Lundehund originated on the Lofoten Islands of Norway during the sixteenth century. The dog's actual ancestors are unknown, but he is similar to the northern spitz-type canines due to the breed's conformation.

  • By the 1930s, the only purebred Lundehunds were living in the fishing village of Mastad on the island of Vaeroy.
  • Vaeroy is mainly secluded, and the Lundehund may have become extinct before a few key people became interested in the breed.
  • The purebreds survived only because the islands were so isolated from the rest of the world.
  • An English Setter dog breeder named Eleanor Christie decided to breed the Lundehunds.

Norwegian Lundehund Temperament

The hound is playful, clever, and loves the outdoors! This breed needs to stay busy and becomes bored quickly. The Lundehund may be stubborn, and training requires consistency and patience.


This breed is known for his six toes and a double dewclaw on each foot.

  • Coat colors: This dog may be white, gray, or black. The black and gray coats may have white markings, and the white coat has dark markings.
  • Height: The Norwegian Lundehund is between 13 and 15 inches tall.
  • Weight: This breed weighs between 13 and 15 pounds.
Norwegian lundehund dog


This dog needs a lot of exercise and training. The Lundehund benefits from at least two daily walks each day and some time in the backyard to play a game of fetch.

Health Concerns

The Lundehund is prone to varying medical conditions.

  • Forms of gastrointestinal problems
  • Protein-losing enteropathy
  • Intestinal lymphangiectasia
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Intestinal bowel disease

The Norwegian Lundehund Excels at Climbing

The Lundehund was bred and created to climb the Island's cliff faces and retrieve puffin birds. The Puffins' soft feathers were used in pillows and comforters. The bird's meat was also considered a delicacy in Norway.

Two Norwegian Lundehund dogs

Caring for Your Senior Norwegian Lundehund

The breed's lifespan is 12 years. All pet parents need to visit the vet at least twice a year with a small senior breed. Seniors may need lab work, supplements, or pain medications prescribed by your vet.

About Spitz-Type Dogs

The spitz-type dogs seen today originated many centuries ago in Arctic regions. Breeds, including the Siberian husky, were used for sled-hauling by explorers of the 20th century. Hunters and fur trappers also used spitz-type sled dogs. Today the breeds in this group are popular for sled-racing sports. The Norwegian Lundehund is a nonworking spitz dog.

Lundehund Dogs Are an Ancient Breed

This breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as there are so few living in the U.S. The Lundehund is considered a primitive breed by the American Rare Breed Association. By the twentieth century, the breed almost became extinct.

The Lundehund Is the "Puffin Hound"

This breed is clever, playful, and loves the outdoors. People bred this hound to catch puffin birds and climb steep mountains. The Lundehund is an uncommon breed in the U.S. and throughout much of the world. Pet parents interested in the rare puppies may reach out to the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America.

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Norwegian Lundehund Overview: A Devoted & Spirited Breed