The Breed History
The name Lundehund is a combination of the Norwegian words "lunde," the Puffin bird, and "hund," meaning dog. Originally, they were bred to hunt and retrieve the Puffin, a meat and feather crop for the Norwegian farmer of past centuries living along the fjords and on the islands off the west coast. Written references to the breed date back to the fifteenth century. When the Puffin bird became a protected species in the 1800's, the dogs were no longer useful to the farmers and breed numbers were allowed to dwindle. The breed was saved from near extinction after World War II through the friendship of two concerned Norwegians, but even today there are a thousand dogs worldwide. AKC recognition occurred in 2011.
Breeding for Function
Their unique foot structure (at least six toes on each foot and elongated rear foot pads) and unusual flexibility enabled them to climb the steep, rocky cliffs and navigate the small burrows and crevices where Puffins nest. They have an elastic neck that allows the head to bend backward to touch the spine, letting the dog turn around in narrow puffin bird caves; and shoulders flexible enough to allow the front legs to extend flat to the side in order to hug the cliffs. This shoulder structure produces a peculiar rotary movement. Finally, the ears close and fold forward or backward to protect from debris.
Height at withers: Males 13-15 inches (33-38 cm); Females 12-14 inches (30.5-35.5 cm).
Weight: 13-20 pounds (6-9 kg)
Coat: Double coat with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat. The coat is short on the head and front of the legs, longer and thicker around the neck and back of thighs. It is dense on the tail with little feathering. Color is fallow to reddish brown to tan with black hair tips and white markings or white with red or dark markings. More black hair tips with maturity.
Longevity: Around 12 years.
Points of Conformation: The Lundehund should be athletic and agile. The head is wedge-shaped, tapering gradually to the end of the muzzle. Nose and lips are black. Scissors bite is preferred, but level and reverse scissors bite are permitted. Missing premolars on both sides of the upper and lower jaws are common and allowed. Eyes are almond-shaped, light yellow-brown to brown with a brown ring around the pupil. Eye rims are dark and complete. Ears are medium-size, triangular, and carried erect. Level back, short loin and slightly sloping croup. The tail is high-set. When moving, the tail may be carried trailing or in a graceful arch over the back. When at rest, the tail hangs with a slight curve. Moderate angulation with very elastic shoulders so that the front legs can extend out to the side. The legs are straight with slightly outward-turned feet. The forefeet are oval with at least six fully developed toes, five of which should reach the ground. Eight pads on each foot. The additional toes consist of one three jointed toe, like a thumb, and one two-jointed toe along with corresponding tendons and muscles that give the foot a strong appearance. Strong muscular upper and lower thighs. Hind feet are oval, slightly outward turned with a minimum of six toes, of which four support the dog's weight. There are seven pads with the center pad elongated. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are close but parallel. An elastic gait with a unique rotary front movement.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
A Lundehund is alert, very energetic, loyal and protective. He can be wary of strangers but never aggressive toward people. He is playful, curious, and intelligent. May be difficult to house train. Has a tendancy to barking. Can be stubborn.
Normal Physiologic Variations
At least six toes on each foot and elongated rear foot pads.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Reported 7.7% affected, however too few Norwegian Lundehunds have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. Too few Norwegian Lundehunds have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Norwegian Lundehunds have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Gastroenteropathy (Lundehund Syndrome): The collective term for a group of gastrointestinal disorders that include chronic atrophic gastritis, intestinal lymphangiectasia, and lymphoplasmacytic enteritis. Secondary disease includes bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, and protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) which causes abnormal protein loss in the intestines. Clinical signs are intermittent diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, ascites, and subcutaneous edema of the hind legs. Laboratory changes include hypoalbuminemia (with or without hypoglobulinemia), hypocalcemia, a decrease in the serum cobalamin concentration, and an increase or decrease in the serum folate concentration; reflecting microbial synthesis or malabsorption respectively. Pathology includes chronic atrophic gastritis, segmental distention of lymphatics, atrophy, fusion and balloon-like swelling of villi with occasional rupture of lacteals. Undetermined mode of inheritance. Studies suggest that the majority of the breed is affected to some extent. Treatment is symptomatic.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. Not enough samples have been submitted for thyroid auto-antibodies to Michigan State University to determine an accurate frequency. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Inherited Ocular Disorders: Too few Norwegian Lundehunds have been CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists to determine an accurate frequency of inherited ocular disorders.
Gastric Carcinoma: Norwegian Lundehunds with chronic atrophic gastritis and hypergastrinemia are predisposed to the development of gastric carcinoma.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: None
Tests of Phenotype: Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: CERF eye examination (after 24 months of age), patella evaluation, and a blood donation to the CHIC DNA repository. (See CHIC website; www.caninehealthinfo.org). Recommend hip and elbow radiographs, thyroid profile including autoantibodies, and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: Lundehund, Norwegian Puffin Dog, Norsk Lundehund, Lundies
- Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC, FCI, NKC (National Kennel Club)
- AKC rank (none): AKC recognized in January, 2011. Entire stud book entered.
- Internet resources: Norwegian Lundehund Association of America: www.nlaainc.com
Norwegian Lundehund Club Of America: www.lundehund.com
American Norwegian Lundehund Club: www.americannorwegianlundehundclub.com
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