Usually I don’t like talking about dog breeds as I don’t want any role in popularizing or highlighting them in any way. Popular breeds tend to be overbred (demand & supply), without regards to their temperament and health, much to the detriment of the breed and its qualities that make the breed popular in the first place.
But from time to time I come across such interesting dogs that I love to share! And this time is…
…the Norwegian Lundehund, believed to be an ancient breed and now a newly recognized breed at the Westminster Kennel Club this year (2012). Also called the Puffin Dog, this breed finds its home far up north, in the Arctic Circle. They are called the Puffin Dog because they hunted the Puffin bird (and their eggs) for centuries. (The Puffin is today protected). Because they provided food to the locals, “most households had anywhere from two to 12 Lundehunds, which were individually considered more valuable than a cow”, according to the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America.
Like so many breeds, the Norwegian Lundehund was “rescued” from the brink of extinction. Or apparently 6 purebreds in the 1960s in Norway.
So what’s so cool about this breed?
Well, the Puffins nest on top of near vertical cliffs that this dog must climb to retrieve.
They do what?
They have a flexible skeletal structure to get out of tight spots or to spread out to hang on and not fall.
Their neck is so elastic that the head can bend backwards to touch the spine! This is how they can turn around in narrow puffin caves. Their shoulders so flexible that the front legs can extend flat, to hug the cliffs. That’s 90°, like our arms. And 6 toes on each foot!
Pretty nifty eh? I think so.
Lundehund Gastroenteropathy, as some people have termed as the Lundehund Syndrome, is carried by all Lundehunds. It is a GI issue where nutrients are not absorbed.
Please remember these dogs originated in Norway, in the Arctic Circle and not suited to be in the hot humid unforgiving weather of Singapore. They have a double coat which means they will SHED. Because they were bred to hunt, they need exercise and play. And unless socialized, they are weary of strangers. And can be difficult to train. Otherwise people do love them!