Norwegian Lundehund

The Norwegian Lundehund (Norsk Lundehund) is a small breeds of dog of Spitz type, originating in Norway. Lunde is half of the Norwegian word for puffin (lundefugl) and hund means dog; the dogs were originally used for hunting puffins and finding puffin eggs.

The Norwegian Lundehund is a small, rectangular Spitz type dog. The Lundehund has a great range of motion in its joints, allowing it to fit into narrow passages. The head can be bent backwards along the dog's own spine, and the forelegs can turn to the side at a 90-degree angle to its body, much like human arms. Its pricked, upright ears can be sealed nearly shut by folding them forward or backward. The Norwegian Lundehund is polydactyl: instead of the normal four toes per foot, the Lundehund normally has six toes, all fully formed, jointed and muscled. Some dogs have more or less than six toes per foot; although having less than six toes is frowned upon by the Norwegian Lundehund Association and will lose the dog points in a showring. The outercoat is dense and rough with a soft undercoat. The Lundehund is adapted to climb narrow cliff paths in Røst where it natively would have hunted puffins.

The dog breeds has a long history. As far back as 1600 it was used for hunting puffins along the Norwegian coast. Its flexibility and extra toes were ideal for hunting the birds in their inaccessible nesting locations on cliffs and in caves. Interest for the dog breeds declined when new methods for hunting puffins were invented and a dog tax was created. Around 1900, they were only found in the isolated village of Mostad (spelled Måstad in Norwegian), Lofoten. The breed was nearly extinct around World War II when canine distemper struck Værøy and the surrounding islands. In 1963, the population was further decimated by distemper again. This time, only 6 dogs survived (1 on Værøy & 5 in southern Norway Hamar (these 5 were from the same mother)), creating a population bottleneck. Due to careful breeding with strict guidelines, there are now an estimated 1500-2000 dogs in the world, with around 1100 of the population in Norway and ~350 in the United States. Height:13-15 inches Weight: 20-30 pounds

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