The NORWEGIAN LUNDEHUNDOther names:
Norwegian Puffin Dog, Norsk Lundehund, LundieOrigin:
puffin hunting (now illegal), companionRecognition:
FCI, CKC, NKC, ACR, DRA, AKC, NAPR HISTORY:
This small Spitz breed naturally evolved over time (hundreds of years) in Norway`s coastal regions, farmers using them for hunting puffins as well as for searching for puffin nests and retrieving their eggs from steep rocky cliffs. According to their specific purpose, Lundies needed to be small, agile, eager to please and, last but not least, flexible (so they could fit between the rocks and catch the puffins before they got away).
Despite being a native breed to Norway, after puffin hunting was declared illegal in the 1800s, the number of Lundies dwindled dramatically, as farmers were, mainly, keeping them for puffin hunting, and not for companionship. At this point, the breed would have certainly gone extinct if the two people - to whom we have to thank for being able today to still see (and even own) one of these dogs - had not realized the breed`s proximity to extinction: Sigurd Skuan and Eleanor Christie (who became a breeder after buying several dogs from mr. Skuan). Basically, all present-day Lundies can be traced back to mr. Skuan`s original stock. Luckly enough, by the time the great distemper epidemic (1942 - the distemper vaccine being unobtainable because of WWII) hit Norway, ms. Christie had already established a small breeding stock. Although the epidemic killed the majority of dogs from both breeders, it did not hit them both at the same time, so with under a quarter of the dogs originally owned, the two breeders continued to struggle and rebuild the lines. It was only well into the 1960's before the number of Lundehunds passed the double digits.
Today, the Lundehund is still among the world`s rarest breeds of dogs, only around 1000 specimens existing worldwide.CHARACTERISTICS:
Although not imposing in away way, these small-sized dogs are VERY UNIQUE! Apart from being very sociable, loving, playful and calm, they possess some ABSOLUTELY AMAZING PHYSICAL FEATURES
1. They are POLYDACTYL
, meaning multi-toed. Yes, that is right, Lundies have not 5, but 6 toes! This special characteristic developed over time due to the breed`s specialization in puffin hunting. Of course, other breeds are polydactyl also, but in the for of having dew-claws (claws they cannot actually move or control), whereas the Lundie`s are ALL functional and were actively used for gripping the slippery rocky cliffs where puffins built their nests.
2. The Lundehund has GREAT JOINT FLEXIBILITY
, so you could might as well call this breed the contorsionists of the dog world! This trait also evolved as a necessity when hunting puffind, as the dogs had to crawl under the rocks, through small openings in order to reach the nests and then, of course, crawl back with the prey/egg. These "caves" were usually so small that the dogs did not have room to turn around when retrieving. Just to get an idea of how flexible the Lundehund is, please note that it can bend its forelegs outwards far enough for the dog to lay flat on its chest, with the legs in an approximation of the human arm position. This type of flexibility is basically unparalleled in the animal-world, the only four-footed animal able to match it being the reindeer. Also, the dog's neck and spine are so flexible that it can lay its head back along its own spine, this manuvre not harming or stressing the animal in any way!
3. Lundies also have a UNIQUE EAR STRUCTURE
. These dogs, normally, have pricked, upright ears (like many other breeds). The distinctiveness comes from the fact that Lundies can actually control their ears: they can virtually seal them by folding them either backward or forward. What`s more is that they can also prick separately the tip of the ear, allowing the dog to use its ears effectively, while still only exposing a tiny, mostly covered space. This ability saves the dog from getting rock dust and water into its ears as it wedges itself through the caves.
4. Another special feature of this breed is the fact that it has a JAW STRUCTURE
identical to the one found on the Varranger dog - a 5000 year old fossilized dog found in northern Lapland - with two fewer teeth than other modern dogs.
Being such an old breed, and being inbred over the generations, means that this dog can suffer from a breed-specific illness: the Lundehund Syndrome (a set of digestive disorders that can lead to an overgrowth of digestive bacteria, intestinal cancer, and a loss of ability to absorb nutrients from food; in extreme cases the dog can starve simply because it's unable to get the nutrients and protein it needs no matter how much it eats). The disease is still under research. No cure has yet been found, but the condition (if it occurs) can be managed through feeding.
As for it`s temperament, the Lundie is as sweet, loving dog, that always likes to cuddle with it`s owner. They are great with children and, usually, with other dogs and pets. However, keep in mind that the breed has a vast history of hunting so the prey-drive is still clearly present! Introduce new pets carefully and have patience. Also, best better not mix a Lundie and a bird (or fish!) in the same living space, unless the dog is accustomed to these types of pets from an early age... as tragic accidents might happen!
When it comes to exercise, the Lundehund enjoys long sessions of play-time! As far as walking is concerned, the breed does not require any special exercise other than that of any other breed. The ideal living conditions for a dog of this breed is a house with a fenced-in yard (even a small one!). If you plan use a dog-crate indoors, you must train the puppy to accept it from a very early age, otherwise the dog will consider it as punishment and will become depressed.
As most hunting breeds, Lundies are somewhat free-spirited. This is the reason why they do not particularly enjoy being crated (unless they are used to it through positive reinforcement!). Also, a puppy can be (and usually is) very mischievous, so the crate can be a really good idea (when you cannot keep an eye on the little one). Oh, and remember that many Lundehund owners have had difficulty with housebreaking this breed! COAT:
- short, rough, stand-off coat
- color: reddish-brown to fallow with more or less black hair tips, or black, or grey, all with white markings, or white with dark markings;EYES:
- brown and deep-setSIZE:
- Height: 12-15.5 in (31-39 cm)
- Weight: 13 - 20 lbs (6-9 kg)
depicting a Lundie barking and playing with an insect: >link<
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