The Norwegian Lundehund is an athletic, agile, playful, loving, loyal and friendly dog. He is easygoing and gentle, a happy dog who gets along with just about everyone and who will snuggle with his human and dog companions alike. He's fun-loving and wants to play with you as much as possible, and loves fetching his toys and carrying them in his mouth. He's curious and very intent on exploring. He will find and bring you "gifts" from the house or yard. Because he is unusually agile he can climb just about anywhere, and nothing is out of his reach! He needs only moderate exercise, but he does require mental stimulation and lots of play to keep him happy and busy. He needs a daily leashed walk as well as chances to run off-leash and go exploring in a safe area. Be aware that when he's outdoors, he may chase after birds and small animals. He may not come immediately when you call; he is more likely to stop and explore on his way back to you. He is a trainable dog but somewhat challenging. He easily understands what you want, but doesn't necessarily decide to do it. He can be obedient but also willful and stubborn, and he needs a great deal of patience, lots of treats and rewards, and short, repetitive, positive training sessions. He is extremely difficult to housebreak. He is good with children as long as he is raised with them, but he is not very tolerant of rough handling. He is completely unaggressive toward other dogs and can also live with cats. He may not be good with birds or fish. He is a moderately good watchdog. He is deeply loyal and protective as well as alert and observant, and reacts nosily to changes in his surroundings. He may bark at almost anything and everything. He can bark too much, and must be trained not to do this. He loves his family but is cautious with strangers, though never aggressive to them. He needs chances to meet visitors while still a puppy so that he can get used to them and learn his manners. He loves to dig and to hide and bury food all over the house. He is prone to serious digestive diseases, must have his health regularly monitored, and may require expensive medical care. He is a medium shedder, and so may not be a good pet if you are concerned about finding some dog-hair in the home.
The Norwegian Lundehund is 12 to 15 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 13 to 20 pounds. He has a double coat consisting of a short, thick outer coat and a soft undercoat.
His coat color can be black, gray, reddish-brown, white, yellow or sable.
He only needs an occasional brushing. Some owners who dislike hair in the home will brush him more often to minimize shedding (what you brush out doesn't end up on your carpet).
The Norwegian Lundehund can be traced back to the coasts of 16th-century Norway, where he was used to hunt Puffins--"lunde" means "puffin" in Norwegian. He was bred with extra toes and a highly flexible neck and shoulders so that he could climb cliffs to reach these birds. In the 1800's such hunting was outlawed and the breed began to decline, almost becoming extinct in the 20th century. In 1963 there were only six "Puffin Dogs" left, but the breed was gradually rebuilt, although he is still very rare. He was admitted to the AKC in 2007.