Norwegian Lundehund Breed Magazine - Showsight

Norwegian Lundehund Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


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Official Standard of the Norwegian Lundehund General Appearance: The Norwegian Lundehund is a small rectangular and agile Spitz breed with unique characteristics not found in any other breed. Originating on remote islands of arctic Norway, the dog was used to wrestle and retrieve live puffin birds from the crevices of steep vertical cliffs. To enable the dog to climb, descend, and brake on these cliffs, unique structural characteristics have evolved and must be present as they define this breed: a minimum of six toes on each foot and elongated rear foot pads; an elastic neck that allows the head to bend backward to touch the spine, letting the dog turn around in narrow puffin bird caves; and shoulders flexible enough to allow the front legs to extend flat to the side in order to hug the cliffs. This shoulder structure produces a peculiar rotary movement. Finally, the ears close and fold forward or backward to protect from debris. The temperament is alert but not expected to be outgoing toward strangers. Size, Proportion, Substance: Size - The desired height for adult males is between 13 to 15 inches and 12 to 14 inches for adult females. Size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. Proportion - length of body is slightly longer than height at the withers. Depth of chest is approximately one half the height. Substance - The Lundehund should be athletic and agile, never coarse or heavy. Bitches are distinctly feminine but without weakness. Head: The head is wedge-shaped, of medium width and clean. The skull is slightly rounded with prominent brows. There is a pronounced but not deep stop, and the bridge of the nose has a slight arch. The muzzle is of medium length and width, tapering gradually to the end of the muzzle. Length of the muzzle is approximately two-thirds the length of the skull. Nose and lips are black. Teeth - Scissors bite is preferred, but level and reverse scissors bite are permitted. Missing premolars on both sides of the upper and lower jaws are common and allowed. Eyes - almond-shaped, yellow-brown to brown with a brown ring around the pupil. Light eyes are preferred. Eye rims are dark and complete. Ears - medium-size, triangular, broad at the base, carried erect and very mobile. The ear leather can be folded and turned up, backward or at right angles so that the ear openings are clamped shut. Neck: The neck is clean, of medium length and strong without being thick. Note : The judge should never ask the handler to demonstrate the characteristic flexibility in the ring, as the dog cannot relax sufficiently at a dog show. Body: Level back, short loin and slightly sloping croup, slight tuck up. Ribs are carried well back, well-sprung but not barrel-shaped. Tail: High-set, medium length with a dense coat. When the dog is moving, the tail may be carried trailing or in a graceful arch over the back with the tip touching the back. A tightly curled tail or one that falls too far to either side is undesirable. When at rest, the tail hangs with a slight curve. Forequarters: Moderate angulation with very elastic shoulders so that the front legs can extend out to the side. The legs are straight with slightly outward-turned feet. The feet are oval with at least six fully developed toes, five of which should reach the ground. Eight pads on each foot. The additional toes consist of one three jointed toe, like a thumb, and one two-jointed toe along with corresponding tendons and muscles that give the foot a strong appearance. Hindquarters: Moderate angulation in balance with the forequarters. Strong muscular upper and lower thighs. Feet: Oval, slightly outward turned with a minimum of six toes, of which four

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support the dog's weight. There are seven pads with the center pad elongated. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are close but parallel. Coat: Double coat with a harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat. The coat is short on the head and front of the legs, longer and thicker around the neck and back of thighs. It is dense on the tail with little feathering. The male typically has a thicker ruff around the neck. The Lundehund is presented naturally with no trimming. Color: Fallow to reddish brown to tan with black hair tips and white markings or white with red or dark markings. More black hair tips with maturity. Dogs with a completely white head or with 50 percent of the head white should have complete dark eye rims and lashes. Gait: Light and elastic. As the Lundehund is designed to climb steep cliffs and work into narrow crevices, the front assembly must be flexible and wide. This produces an elastic gait with a unique rotary front movement. He moves close but parallel in the rear. Temperament: A Lundehund is alert, very energetic, loyal and protective. He can be wary of strangers but never aggressive toward people.

Effective July 1, 2008

MEET THE NORWEGIAN LUNDEHUND By Sharon Pederson M eet the Norwegian Lundehund, AKC’s latest entry into the Non-Sporting Group (January 1, 2011). With a large

fashion) so that it acts as a brake when the Lundehund is going down the cli ff s. Th ere are two ways in which to inspect the feet and toes. One may do so by picking up the individual feet for inspection or ask the handler to show them the dog’s feet. In the first scenario, the judge inspects each foot while going around the dog, taking care to life each foot o ff the ground making the pads visible. Under the second scenario, the handler would pick the dog up so that the judge can easily approach the dog and quickly go over the feet. Being well- versed on the Lundehund’s feet is critical for any judge and particularly at Specialties where they include a Special Attraction of BEST FEET. Special consideration/reverence is given to the recipient of this award because of the importance of the feet in the breed. Th e height range for a Lundehund is 12"-14" for bitches and 13"-15" for dogs though it should be noted that these are guidelines; there are no disqualifications in the AKC standard of the Norwegian Lun- dehund. Weight should be in proportion to the dog’s height, bearing in mind that what is being sought is an agile dog that is capable of squeezing itself into the entries of pu ffi n caves and be able to turn itself around in order to exit with at least one pu ffi n in its mouth. If you can imagine what it would be like to watch Lundehunds climbing and digging to get to the pu ffi ns you should have no problem imagining them doing the same thing in your kitchen cupboard, but this time looking for a hidden treasure (in this case I allowed one of mine to enter a corner cabinet where she promptly depos- ited her bone then came back to claim it a

day later). Living with a Lundehund is a wonderful and charming experience given you approach life with a sense of humor and forgiveness. Lundehunds are terribly clever and class A problem solvers. It is extremely di ffi cult to outwit a Lundehund so it’s sug- gested that you try only when absolutely necessary lest the Lundie begin to lose their trust in you. Trust is a big issue and di ffi cult to regain if lost. Th e most impor- tant thing to a Lundehund, after food, is closeness with its people, both literally and figuratively. Food is mentioned because of the strong drive for survival and the role food plays. In the frozen north of Norway, the Lundehund would eat whatever pre- sented itself. Today a high protein and low fat diet is what is recommended, preferably grain-free, then the dog will follow that with whatever presents itself (dessert?). It is not uncommon to find your Lundehund grazing on blackberries straight o ff the vine or taking the leaves from something in a flower bed and enjoying a nice “salad” or scrambling to get the accidentally dropped piece of cheese. In addition to the high protein/low fat diet, veterinarians recommend testing the albumen and total protein levels with some frequency, perhaps quarterly. Th ere is a pre- disposition to su ff er from a protein-losing enteropathy which may be more responsive to treatment if you catch it early on in its development. Th ere is some belief that all Lundehunds are susceptible to the protein losing enteropathy because just fifty years ago the world’s population was a mere six dogs. Found in the Lofoten Islands, five of these original six were siblings, making for a very tight gene pool.

number of unique physical anomolies that developed due to the extreme environment in which they lived and worked, it can be a challenge to understand this breed. Th e heading in so many breed books, “Form Follows Function”, is no better illustrated than in the Lundehund. When observing a Lundehund coming toward you, their rotary gait tends to sur- prise the observer. It only makes sense if you clearly understand the breed is built for ver- tical travel, not horizontal. Th e homeland for the Lundehund is an archipelago north of the Arctic Circle, the Lofotens. Th e flex- ibility required to navigate the steep cli ff s results in an elastic shoulder, allowing the dog to spread its legs to keep its balance while crossing the treacherous scree and up the cli ff in search of pu ffi ns, a small marine bird that provided food for the native farm- ers and the comfort and warmth of down for the rest of Europe. Th e Lundehund has many unique attri- butes but the one singular trait that sets the breed apart from all other dogs, is the fact that Lundehunds have six toes on each foot. Add too, that the fifth digit on the front foot acts as an opposable thumb and should be appropriately long so that it can provide support when the dog stands. Judges should inspect each foot individually to confirm the number of toes and note the correspond- ing pads. Th e central pad on the back foot has elongated over time (in an evolutionary

“...the one singular trait that sets the breed apart from all other dogs, is the fact that LUNDEHUNDS HAVE SIX TOES ON EACH FOOT.”

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