The Norwegian Lundehund


The Norwegian Lundehund is a small dog breed of the Spitz type originating on the islands of Norway and referenced as far back as the 1500s. Nicknamed the “puffin dog,” they were used to wrestle and retrieve live puffins from the crevices of steep cliffs. However, when the puffin became a protected species, the dogs were no longer needed by farmers. The breed rapidly decreased in number and nearly went extinct during World War II when canine distemper struck the islands. In 1963 another outbreak of distemper hit, but this time only 6 dogs survived. By way of a careful breeding program and strict guidelines there are now an estimated 1,500 to 2000 Norwegian Lundehunds in the world.

The Norwegian Lundehund was recognized in 2011 by the American Kennel Club.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 13 to 15 lbs.
  • Height: 12 to 15 inches
  • Coat: Double coat with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat.
  • Color: Reddish brown and tan with black hair tips and white markings or white with red or dark markings.
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

What’s the Norwegian Lundehund like?

The Norwegian Lundehund is very energetic, protective and alert. He’ll likely warn you if there’s a stranger at the door. He’s an excellent hiking companion and would enjoy camping.

The Lundehund makes for a very loyal companion. He loves to play and especially to climb. He’s very easy to live with and will get along well the kids; although he can be standoffish towards strangers he should never be aggressive.

Fun Fact -- The Norwegian Lundehund has six toes on each foot!


The Norwegian Lundehund is prone to a set of digestive disorders called Lundehund gastroenteropathy that can lead to an overgrowth of digestive bacteria and a loss of ability to absorb nutrients from food. Unfortunately there is no cure, but the disease can be managed. This breed is also susceptible to intestinal lymphangiectasia and intestinal bowel disease.

Takeaway Points

  • The Norwegian Lundehund is very active and loves to go on hikes.
  • The Norwegian Lundehund is very loyal and would make a great family dog.
  • The Norwegian Lundehund loves to explore so always keep an eye on him.
  • The Norwegian Lundehund might be hesitant to approach strangers.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.