This adorable little dog is called the Norwegian Lundehund. It's name, meaning "Puffin Dog," highlights the occupation it once performed with great skill and enthusiasm. The tiny canine hunted the colorful puffin. The Lundehund is not a large dog, reaching 13-15 inches in height, and tipping the scales at 20-30 pounds. What's unique about this little creature is its remarkable physical characteristics not found in other breeds. Do you notice anything unusual about the dog's feet in the picture above? Does it seen to have extra toes?
Well, you're right. The Lundehund has at least six toes on each foot, instead of the usual four other dogs sport. The added toes helped it grip securely to slippery rocks where its puffin quarry lived and nested. This six toed trait is called polydactyl.
The Lundehund can purposely close its ear canals so water and dirt cannot enter and harm them. Since puffins were water birds, this was a very useful ability to have.
This awkward photo shows a Lundehund demonstrating its remarkably flexable shoulder joints. Being flexable helped rescue it from tight places while hunting. Please don't try this with your Labrador Retriever at home. It would hurt.
The Lundehund's neck joints are so flexable it can touch its back with its forehead. Once again, don't try this at home.
This rare breed nearly became extinct during the World War II era. At its lowest point, only six Lundehunds where left alive. Fortunately, fanciers started a breeding program, so this wonderful companion and watch dog still delights its fans. There are now between 1500 -2000 Lundehunds in the world, including about 1100 in Norway, and roughly 350 in the United States.
It should be noted the Lundehund is prone a digestive disorder leaving it unable to absorb nutrients and proteins from food. Though all carry genes for this condition, not all Lundehunds display symptoms. This disorder is incurable, but can be controlled.
On a more cheerful note, the Lindehund will start competing in the AKC's Non-Sporting Group in January 1, 2011. Maybe someday you'll see them at the Westminster Dog Show.
The Lundehund is an excellent family pet, watchdog, outdoor companion, and is adaptable to city or country life. They would do best in a cooler climate. Their average life span is about twelve years.
This breed is so rare, I have never met one. Maybe someday I will.
For much more information you can visit The Norwegian Lundehund Club of America, Inc..