Norwegian Lundehund

Uniquely bestowed with jointed toes and flexible joints, the Norwegian Lundehund is a purebred small dog breed with amazing acrobatic talent. Also known as the puffin dog, the Lundehund is an ancient breed that is best suited for experienced dog parents. 


The Norwegian Lundehund is a Spitz type dog that comes from a remote island in Norway. Deemed a primitive breed, he was used for climbing and accessing puffin bird nests that were inaccessible on cliffs and caves. 

The name Lundehund is Norwegian for Lunde meaning puffin and hund meaning dog. He was a valuable working dog to the Norwegians for more than four centuries as they relied on him to put food on their tables. 

When new methods were adapted to hunt for puffins and a dog tax was enforced, this breed almost became extinct and could only be found in an isolated village called Mostad.

With careful breeding under strict guidelines, there were 1,400 Norwegian Lundehunds registered in 2010. 

Physical Characteristics

The Lundehund is a small rectangular dog with six toes on each foot and two large declaws. All the toes are fully formed, jointed and muscled. He has triangular ears and a curving tail. 

He has an amazing range of motion. He can easily bend his head backwards, spread his forelegs to the side at a 90-degree horizontal angle and fold his ears shut forward or backward. 

The double coat has a dense rough outer coat and a soft undercoat. Colors include:

  • reddish-brown to fawn with black hair tips
  • black/gray with white markings
  • white with dark markings


When fully grown this Norwegian dog stands 11 to 13 inches (30 to 40cm) at the shoulder and weighs 13 to 16

pounds (6 to 7kg). 

Character & abilities

The Norwegian Lundehund is a cheerful dog that is curious and mischievous. Generally outgoing with his family members, this breed is alert and wary of strangers, making him an excellent watchdog. 

He loves to dig and collect shiny objects. Don’t be surprised to find hidden treasures and food within and around the home. The food he stashes away is usually for snacking on later. 

He needs early socialization to keep him from becoming shy and get him accustomed to various types of situations and sounds. The Lundehund is good with children, especially those old enough to be taught not to pull the ears or tail.

Trainability & Intelligence

The Lundehund is stubborn and independent. Positive reinforcement techniques are ideal for training using play, praise and dog treats. He responds well to a consistent tone of firm vocal correction.

To keep him interested, training sessions should be short and fun. 

It is tough to housebreak this small dog breed. Despite this challenge, he is intelligent and is currently being trained to work with airlines to solve airplane bird strikes and find bird eggs around the airport. 

Exercise Needs & Nutrition

This energetic contortionist is athletic and agile. He requires regular long walks and active play sessions. Dog sports like agility and flyball will be enjoyable activities for him. With consistent physical exertion, this dog is less likely to get into mischief.

Keeping the Lundehund from excessive weight gain is important for his quality of life. Some dog owners believe this breed is best on a natural raw food diet because he is a primitive breed. 

Mealtimes and portions depend on the Lundehund’s life stage, activity level and metabolism. Table food should be limited as it can cause nutrient imbalances, finicky appetite, bone and teeth problems. 


The Lundehund sheds heavily. Regular brushing is required using a firm bristle brush to remove dirt and loose hair. 

Overly grown nails cause discomfort especially when the dog is walking and running. The dog’s nails should be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks. The tufts of hair between the toes can be clipped. 

Oral care involves regular brushing of the teeth with vet-approved toothpaste. This will help prevent the build-up of plaque, freshen the breath and maintain healthy gums.

Cotton balls and dog ear cleaning solutions can be used weekly while checking for ear infections. Any visible redness, inflammation or bad odor should be addressed immediately.   

Living Conditions & Adaptability

This dog’s unique physical features allow him to climb anywhere in the home and yard. He can fit easily through narrow passages. He needs close supervision to keep him from getting into trouble. 

The Lundehund loves to bark, making him unsuitable for apartment living. 

When raised together, this breed gets along well with other dogs and cats. He is not ideal for homes with small furry pets, caged or pet birds. As a fierce hunter, the cage will not deter him from reaching his prey. 

Even though he loves the outdoors, the Lundehund should not be kept in a kennel or left to sleep outside. He needs to live in the home to foster a healthy relationship with his owners. With little or no human companionship, he will be unhappy.


The Norwegian Lundehund suffers from a high level of inbreeding which leads to low fertility, short life expectancy and high puppy mortality. 

Gastroenteropathy is a digestive disorder that is common with this breed, as well as the inability to absorb nutrients. Even though the dog might be eating well, he may starve because of this condition. 

Not every Lundehund has this severe affliction and some live completely symptom free. Management of this condition might include keeping the dog on a low fat and high protein diet. 

It is important to keep up regular check-ups with the vet. 

A healthy Lundehund has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. 


This breed is only for experienced dog parents who can put in the work because he is a primitive dog that needs lots of supervision and training. He is a friendly companion that will thrive in a family of active and athletic loving people. 

Our team at All The Small Dog Breeds understands how important it is to find the right dog companion and provides detailed small dog breed descriptions to help in the search. Whether planning to adopt from a local animal shelter, reputable breeder or pet store, be sure to consider all options to find the perfect puppy for your home. 


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Energy Level

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Good with kids

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